Despite another non-playoff season, the UNBC Timberwolves women's soccer team made several improvements in its sophomore season in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport.
First off, the women earned their first post-secondary soccer regular-season win in more than four years when they defeated the Winnipeg Wesmen 4-0 on Thanksgiving weekend, but more significant is the fact the T-wolves drastically cut down on their goals against from their rookie season in the Canada West division of the CIS. The T-wolves allowed 71 goals against in 2012 and cut the total to 25 this season, a difference of 46 goals over the 12-game season.
After losing games by scores of 11-0, 10-0, 13-0 and 7-0 last season, the worst losses the T-wolves suffered this season were back-to-back 4-0 scores against the playoff-bound Trinity Western Spartans (8-1-3) and UBC Thunderbirds (8-1-3). UNBC finished with a 1-9-2 record, good enough for 11th place out of 13 teams and a point improvement of three over 2012 when they had a record of 0-9-3 (teams earn three points for a win, one for a tie).
"We certainly moved the bar forward," said T-wolves head coach Andy Cameron. "It was a very productive year and we're certainly moving in the right direction."
Unlike the mostly lopsided scores in their inaugural season, the T-wolves were in most of this year's games right until the end as they lost by one goal three times. Last year the T-wolves closest defeat was a 3-1 setback against the Saskatchewan Huskies.
Cameron said the defensive improvements in the T-wolves' game are a credit to each woman on the roster.
"It was an overall team effort, and that includes all 23 players, with the day-to-day practicing and pushing the starters and with the starters it's them pushing each other to move the program forward," said Cameron."
As of now, the T-wolves don't have any players who are expected to leave the program and will return one-fifth year player, Georgia Lahti, to the 2014 squad, which will give the team a chance to work together during the off-season to continue building the program and improve on some of its weaknesses.
Cameron said after a couple weeks off, the T-wolves will return to training three or four times a week on the indoor field at the Northern Sport Centre, while also doing some work in the weight room. The coach added he's also looking to bring in a few new recruits from outside of Prince George - the majority of the T-wolves recruits last spring were from the local or northern B.C. area.
The T-wolves were led offensively in 2013 by former defender, turned forward, Sydney Hall with three goals and two assists in 10 games. Sidney Roy, moved from centre striker to right wing, had a goal and three helpers, while Sydney Wilson also tallied a goal and three assists.
Three rookies - Jessica Erikson, Fiona Raymond and Tianna Pius - made a smooth transition into the T-wolves' starting lineup, while Katie Blokker was successful in her move from centre-midfield to left fullback.
Cameron said one of the things the T-wolves will work on during the off season is improving the offensive output next season, focusing on making their attack in the offensive third a priority.
UNBC scored eight goals during the season tied with the Manitoba Bisons (1-7-4) for third fewest in the league.