Last year the UNBC Timberwolves men's soccer program had its best team since joining the U Sports Canada West Conference in 2012.
But on the final weekend of the season the T-wolves gave up goals in injury time in consecutive games and dropped from third to fifth. Despite posting a winning 5-4-6 record, their first-ever finish above the .500 mark, they missed the playoffs.
The horror of that lost weekend has burned in the minds of the
T-wolves ever since.
They'll get their chance to erase that painful memory starting
Aug. 27 in Kelowna when they start the season with a weekend set against the UBC-Okanagan Heat.
Led by veterans Rob Goodey, Cody Gyspers, Jonah Smith, Owen Stewart, James Stephens and Joel Watson, the T-wolves will be a much younger squad than the veteran-laden group they were in 2018. Ten players from that team have moved on.
Now in his fifth season at the helm, head coach Steve Simonson is also putting his faith in his veterans and a group of promising second- and first-year players that includes Anthony Preston, Abou Cisse, Michael Henman, Mitch Linley, Graeme Lewis, Demian Dron, Daniel Zadravec and Hussein Behery.
Prince George audiences will get their first look at the T-wolves men at Masich Place Stadium when they play the Fraser Valley Cascades on Friday, Aug. 30. The two-month regular season wraps up Oct. 19-20 when the T-wolves host the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack.
The T-wolves women will be looking for a third-straight postseason berth when they start their 14-game soccer season at Masich with home games against TRU, on Sept. 5, and UBC-Okanagan, on Sept. 7.
UNBC won its last two games of the season to finish 3-8-3, sixth in the Pacific Division, and made the postseason. After establishing team highs for wins, points and goals, the T-wolves went into the playoffs against the Manitoba Bisons and beat them 2-1 for their first-ever playoff victory. Their season came to an end the following weekend with a 7-0 loss to UBC.
Fourth-year head coach Neil Sedgwick will have plenty of experienced players to work with this year, including Canada West all-star Paige Payne and speedy striker Sofia Jones, one of the top rookies in the conference last season. Fifth-year Julia Babicz and veteran defenders Ashley Volk and Mara McCleary are back for another Canada West season, surrounded by the likes of Kiana Swift, Sarah Zuccaro, Lydia Lavigne and rookies Claire Turner and Kalista Kirkness.
The T-wolves women will wrap up their eighth regular season
Oct. 18-19 in Victoria.
See the complete T-wolves schedules below.