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Getting offensive

The UNBC Timberwolves are focusing on a major goal for the 2014 Canadian Interuniversity Sport Canada West women's soccer season: generating more offence.
The UNBC women's soccer team practise on Rotary field during the second day of their main training camp Tuesday.

The UNBC Timberwolves are focusing on a major goal for the 2014 Canadian Interuniversity Sport Canada West women's soccer season: generating more offence.

The women's side opened its main camp this week at Rotary Field with an eye on increasing its goal production.

"We're working on the attacking side of the game and we want to score some more goals," said UNBC head coach Andy Cameron after practice Tuesday morning. "Where we worked on defence last year, now it's time to score a few."

Having only lost one starter from last season, the T-wolves have 10 returning starters with a total of 21 players on the squad.

With a veteran core to work with, as well as sorting out their issues in the backfield last season where they improved their goal differential by 50, Cameron is expecting more out of his more senior starters, as well as an improvement on the team's 1-9-2 record from a year ago.

"We're looking for more leadership from our senior players in our third year of CIS," he said. "They include Sydney Roy [striker], Sydney Wilson [striker] and the Hall twins [goalkeeper Jordan and striker Sydney]. We'll play with the same system as we did last year."

In the off-season, Cameron recruited a first-year-class of newcomers, including a trio from Penticton - centre defender Mackenzie Ricard, right fullback Alena Carlile and centre defender Kylie Erb.

Maddy Emmond, a centre midfielder who helped her P.G. Youth Soccer Association under-18 girls side to a fourth-place finish at the provincial A Cup championship in July, is also suiting up for the Timberwolves.

Anna Greenbaum, a five-foot-two centre midfielder from Colorado Springs, Colo., rounds out the new Timberwolves pack.

"Technically they're all very good players," said Cameron. "Their level of training and intensity is here this year. Overall, things have been very positive but we're a work in progress. We're building on last year."

UNBC will get an idea of where it's at this weekend when it hosts Edmonton's Grant MacEwan University in a pair of friendlies at Rotary Field.

The Griffins, long-time competitors in the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference, enter Canada West as rookies this season after winning the Canadian Colleges Athletics Association title in 2013.

The Griffins and Timberwolves kick off at noon Saturday and at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

After realignment by Canada West this year, UNBC now has to tackle not only the top teams in the province, but perhaps the top teams in the country in the new B.C. division. The division includes the University of Victoria, UBC, Trinity Western (Langley) and UBC Okanagan (Kelowna).

Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, which won the bronze medal at the CCAA nationals in 2013, was also granted entry into the CIS this season.

"We have to play with the big girls in UVic, Trinity Western and UBC," said Cameron earlier this summer. "And Thompson Rivers is traditionally in the top-five in the college's [association]. Nearly all the top-10 schools in the country are in the B.C. division."

UNBC will be in Kamloops Aug. 30-31 for another pair of exhibition matches prior to launching its regular season at home against UBC Okanagan Sept. 6-7.