The UNBC Timberwolves men's soccer squad didn't start on the right foot for the 2019-20 season, falling 2-1 to the UBC Okanagan Heat in their opener.
It was a dreadful first 10 minutes for the Wolves, which saw the men allow quick two goals to fall behind 2-0 with goals from the Heat's Tyler Dhillon and Sam McDonald.
UNBC had chances of their own in the next 35, with forward Kensho Ando having two excellent chances to put the ball in the net.
They would draw blood in the 45th minute when Prince George native Anthony Preston converted on a free kick inside 20 yards which cut the deficit to one heading into the half.
“A new season and it happened fast. They came at us strong, and they finished well, so credit to them,” Timberwolves veteran Jonah Smith said in a release. “We didn’t pack it in, though, and they didn’t get much in the way of chances after that. I thought we gave them a really good fight.”
The second half started out with UNBC dominating the first 25 minutes. Anthony Preston had a great chance with a header on goal but it remained 2-1.
It didn't go the Timberwolves way after that.
With 11 minutes left, forward Stu Rowlands was handed his second yellow of the match, which put UNBC down to 10 men.
“We knew what we had to do, but that was obviously unfortunate. Stu plays hard, and those were tough calls,” Smith said postgame. “We didn’t drop our heads and we actually had a couple really good chances after that. It was a promising sign that no matter the situation or score, this group isn’t going to go away.”
That was all she wrote as the Heat held on for a win in their home opener, despite being outshot by UNBC 17-11.
“We have to start better. We need to match their initial intensity and push,” Smith added. “Then, we earn the right to play. If we come with the right intensity and understanding of what this league is like, we will then be able to move the ball and play like we do.”
The two teams are back at it again tonight (Aug. 24) in Kelowna with kickoff scheduled for 5:30 p.m.