Two games into the U Sports women's soccer season, the UNBC Timberwolves are belying their youth.
Despite being one of the youngest teams in the league, the T-wolves offered up plenty of positive signs in their opening weekend that they won't be getting pushed around by their Canada West conference opponents.
In their first game they earned their first point and very easily could have left Kelowna with a win instead of a 2-2 tie - more than doubling the UBC Okanagan Heat in shots and scoring chances in their season-opener.
The T-wolves lost the second game of the weekend 3-1 to Thompson Rivers University Sunday in Kamloops but were never out it, showing they have bought into coach Neil Sedgwick's plan to keep the ball attached to their feet.
They'll be vying for their first win tonight (6 p.m.) when they host the University of Regina Cougars in their home-opener at Masich Place Stadium.
"I think we are feeling really confident," said T-wolves second-year defender Mikaela Cadorette.
"We came out of the weekend not with the two W's that we wanted, but knowing we succeeded in getting a lot of little things done - possession, winning balls in the air, and being there as a team for one another.
"We are sticking to what Neil is implementing in practice, and we are putting what we practice into play. We are keeping possession, we are trying to work the ball around and open up spaces, rather than a direct kick and run game. We are keeping the ball, playing through, getting platforms, and progressing through each stage of the field."
Third-year midfielder Paige Payne was a beast for the
T-wolves in the two games last weekend. The Kitimat native scored both her team's goals in Kelowna and had five shots on goal against TRU.
Regina (1-1-0) kicked off the season last weekend at home, losing 2-1 to Manitoba followed by a 2-1 triumph over Winnipeg.
On Sunday (11 a.m.), the T-wolves host the Saskatchewan Huskies (0-0-2), who tied Winnipeg 2-2, then played to a 1-1 draw with Manitoba on opening weekend.
The T-wolves will be playing at Masich for the first time this season, moving to the all-weather field after six seasons on natural grass at North Cariboo Field.
"We are really looking forward to playing at the stadium," Cadorette told UNBC sports information officer Rich Abney. "The men played there three times last week, and we haven't had that chance. We want to come out with a bang. We are hoping there are lots of fans out, rooting us on."
The UNBC men (0-1-2) are still seeking their first win of the season and they'll get just one chance this weekend to break that goose egg when they head to Saskatoon to play the Huskies (2-2-0) on Sunday starting at 10 a.m. PT.
"We have had leads in all our games, and we have let those leads slip," said T-wolves fourth-year midfielder and Prince George minor soccer product Liam Stewart. "We will learn from that, take the positives, and improve heading into this weekend. We are an adaptable team, so we match up well against everyone in the league."
The T-wolves tied Trinity Western 3-3 on Friday and lost the second game of the doubleheader Saturday at Masich Stadium 2-1. UNBC started with a 1-1 tie with Victoria.