Things looked promising early on for UNBC's women's soccer squad Sunday.
They were playing well, but then momentum changed against the visiting Thompson Rivers University WolfPack, the Timberwolves couldn't recover and wound up dropping a 3-0 decision to the team from Kamloops.
Danielle Fauteux scored twice in the first half to earn game MVP honours for the WolfPack, while UNBC co-captain Fiona Raymond earned the honour for the Timberwolves in a battle between the two West region rivals in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Canada West conference.
"We got off to a tremendous start and things looked to be in control and the players were relaxed and then the tide started to turn on us," said UNBC head coach Andy Cameron. "They got some confidence and then we had to play chase in the second half. Even though we pushed forward and pressured, we weren't rewarded and they countered with another goal. On the day, it was a disappointing result."
Storm clouds rolled in during the second half and both teams had to deal with soggy and wet conditions at the North Cariboo Senior Soccer League field.
Even though the Timberwolves continued to attack, it was the WolfPack who scored again when Taylor Miller took a through ball from Jaydene Radu and put the ball over goalkeeper Jordan Hall's head from about 25 yards out to secure the victory in the 84th minute.
UNBC's best chance in the match came late when fifth-year forward Sydney Hall took a direct kick after a WolfPack foul in the goal box. But WolfPack keeper Taylor Shantz stopped the ball right on the line.
"I picked my corner, she was cheating and she made a good save," said T-wolves captain Sydney Hall afterwards. "And good for her. I guess at that point it wouldn't have made much of a difference because it would've been 3-1, but it still stings a little bit.
Overall I thought we played well. We just have to minimize our mistakes because we let them capitalize on our mistakes. Today I don't think the score dictated how we played."
The WolfPack lead the West Region with a 2-1-1 record, while the T-wolves are 0-1-1. They had to settle for 1-1 draw Friday against UBC Okanagan Heat in their season-opener.
UNBC held a 1-0 advantage late in the game until the Heat scored off a free kick in the 88th minute.
Sydney Hall tallied UNBC's goal when she intercepted a UBCO clearing attempt, then broke in and fired a shot just out of reach of Heat keeper Joella Koeblische.
"We played against a team that played very direct and is a difficult type of team to play against," said Cameron. "But for a home-opener it was a very solid performance. We kept the lead for 50 minutes. We were well organized, we had a good effort and we'll take the point.
The positives are that we got a lot of younger players in so they now have a taste of it. We finished with a pretty strong half today so we'll look at that. But we'll also look at the issues. We've talked about forcing the play a little too much where we're not patient enough. It's all good but we have to fix it in a hurry.
UNBC will spend the week preparing for a tough road trip when they travel to Victoria on Friday to take on the University of Victoria Vikes, followed by a clash against the UBC Thunderbirds Saturday in Vancouver.
"Going into next weekend we just have to keep our heads up against U Vic and UBC because they're both really quality teams," said Sydney Hall. "We just have to move on from this and be ready for next weekend."
Raymond, a third-year defender who was named the MVP for the Timberwolves, is confident the team can move forward and continually improve, even with 10 freshmen in the lineup.
"This season, it's really exciting," said the biochemistry and molecular biology student. "We're working well as a team. Things didn't work as well as we wanted to. We had a really good showing in our first game and it was great to see many people out to support us. And it was nice to do so well in front of a big crowd. (It's) heartbreaking. Hopefully we're looking for more games like that and keep pushing forward.
"It's all about building a culture here so people are really excited to be on this team. You just tell them (the freshmen) to work hard. Coming out here in front of their hometown crowd, that's their moment. To go out there and give it their all."