UNBC's men's soccer squad experienced a road trip like never before on the weekend.
When the Timberwolves arrived on the University of Victoria campus on Friday, they had to make their way through a tailgate party.
Then they had to keep the nerves in check as they took to the pitch against the U Vic Vikes in front of 2,000 fans in their season-opener.
It was all part of U Vic's Frosh Week festivities to kick off the school year.
In the end, the Vikes came away with a 3-0 victory Friday night and then bounced back from a two-goal deficit to edge the Timberwolves 5-3 Saturday night in Canadian Interuniversity Sport Canada West play.
"It was an amazing weekend in some ways," said Timberwolves head coach Steve Simonson. "It was an incredible environment to play in. U Vic came out flying Friday and scored three goals in the first half. The second half was a very level game but the damage had already been done."
Saturday night, UNBC bounced back early on despite giving up the first goal to fifth-year player Craig Gorman at the 10:37 mark.
In the 30th minute, they were rewarded for their pressure after a long ball into the box forced a penalty kick.
Second-year striker Francesco Bartolillo blasted a shot from the spot, beating goalkeeper Noah Pawlowski on the right side of the net.
Matt Jubinville gave the T-wolves the lead with a mid-air strike from in tight as a result of a free kick.
In the second half, Jubinville shook off his Vikes defender and curled a ball past Pawlowski in the 63rd minute for a two-goal cushion.
But the Vikes rebounded with four goals in the next four minutes with tallies from Sam Prette, Gareth Langdon, Keevan Webb and Dominic Colantonio.
UNBC goalkeeper Ty Venhola faced 25 shots, 12 on target and made seven saves.
"We just found our way into the game and we were up 2-1 and played really well for the next 20 minutes," said Simonson. "Then one thing (mistake) happened and they scored four goals in 14 minutes. And then it was game on for the last 12 minutes. U Vic is full of fire power and very confident. With Matt, he's been good all year and really hungry. He was a sub in the preseason, but he started Saturday and he had an exceptional game, not just scoring. He's been struggling with a groin injury so I had to take out after his second goal because we need to make sure we don't lose him (for the rest of the season)."
The Vikes are now 2-0-1 in Canada West, while the Timberwolves are now 0-2.
UNBC travels to UBC Okanagan in Kelowna for a pair of matches Friday and Saturday.
"It's hard to see on the surface that it was a positive experience, but the team faced an exceptional amount of adversity," said Simonson, himself a Vikes alumni. "That was one of the best teams we will see. It was loud and tough to communicate.
"Saturday showed that we could play and score goals and what we're capable of. The bad thing is if we don't keep our concentration, at all times, good teams will do that to you."
Simonson, who is from Victoria and was hired on an interim basis, is quickly settling in to his new role.
"I'm really enjoying the soccer team and representing the school," he said. "I take great pride in that. My alumni is UVic and I coached four of the five players on U Vic who scored. I grew up in Victoria but I'm 100 per cent loyal to the guys here that I'm coaching."