For the third straight season the UNBC Timberwolves women's soccer team is playoff-bound.
In a rematch of last year's U Sports Canada West Conference playoffs the T-wolves will face the Manitoba Bisons Friday afternoon in a preliminary-round playoff game in Calgary.
"It's good for the team, good for the program and good for the girls, they've worked hard and put a lot of effort into it," said T-wolves head coach Neil Sedgwick. "There's been a real focus on the execution of gameplans and staying consistent with that and understanding the pieces of those gameplans and putting them into practice. They just stick together and they work hard together."
UNBC ended the season with a pair of road losses. They fell 1-0 in Victoria on Friday and 2-1 Saturday to the T-birds at UBC. Sofia Jones scored the T-wolves' goal in Saturday's game.
"They were fantastic throughout that game," said Sedgwick. "UBC scored two world-class goals early in the game and after that we just played and they just did it together. They appreciate how working together gets them success.
"The goal was a great challenge at midfield by Hannah Emmond and then it ended up on Kiana Swift's foot and she played a pass between the two centrebacks into Sofia and she's exceptional round the goal when she gets into those situations."
Last year in Vancouver the T-wolves beat the Bisons in the preliminary round - UNBC soccer's first-ever U Sports playoff victory. The T-wolves went on to lose to UBC in the quarterfinal round.
"Last year was so exciting for the team and Manitoba is a good team to play in the playoffs," said Sedgwick. "I believe they're much stronger than they were a year ago, so it's going to be a tough game. Hopefully the weather's good in Calgary."
Sedgwick says his team is healthy going into the game, scheduled to be played on the natural-grass surface at Dino Field. If there is significant snowfall, there's a contingency plan to either move the game to the field turf at McMahon Stadium or a full-sized indoor field in Calgary.
The winner will advance to the quarterfinal round against the host Calgary Dinos.
"That would be a dream, if we're able to get past Manitoba and play Calgary at home," said Sedgwick.
The T-wolves finished sixth in the Pacific Division with a 3-7-4 record, while Manitoba (8-5-1) ended up third in the Prairie Division. The Dinos (10-1-3) placed second in the Pacific, behind the Canada West-leading Trinity Western Spartans (11-1-1).
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