- BC Games
Connect with Us
Leaders of the Pack — TRU soccer squads finish first
The TRU WolfPack had a banner season on the soccer pitch.
Both the men’s and women’s footy squads are heading into the Pacific Western Athletic Association playoffs as regular-season champions after a successful weekend at Hillside Stadium.
TRU’s women cruised to a 3-0 win over the Langara College Falcons of Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 20, a day after blanking the Quest Kermodes of Squamish 1-0.
The WolfPack women became the first team in program history to have an unbeaten season, with 12 wins, two ties and no losses.
“That was one of my personal goals at the start of the season and it was for the girls, as well,” WolfPack head coach Tom McManus said.
“I am very proud of them. The chemistry of this team makes it so special. We had a lot of recruits and rookies come in and the veterans took them in and made them feel welcome. They even got into the habit of having a Friday night potluck dinner at someone’s house. They just bonded together.”
On the men’s side, TRU tied Langara 0-0 on Sunday in a game that decided first place. If the Falcons had won, they would have claimed the regular-season title, but the tie cinched top spot for the WolfPack, who thumped Quest 4-0 on Saturday, Oct. 19.
“We are really happy about finishing first,” WolfPack co-head coach John Antulov said.
“We had a great season. Everyone played really well and things worked out. We needed a little luck and we got that.”
The WolfPack men finished the campaign with a 10-2-2 record.
Alanna Bekkering (2), Jaydene Radu and Courtney Daly reached the scoresheet for the Pack women on the weekend, with Justin Wallace (2), Corey Wallis and Oriol Torres notching goals for TRU’s men.
Wallace and Bekkering led their respective leagues in scoring.
Travis Froehlich backstopped the WolfPack men and Emily Edmundson was between the pipes for TRU’s women.
Vancouver Island University of Nanaimo is hosting the the PacWest playoffs this weekend.
TRU’s women will play Langara in a semifinal tilt on Saturday, Oct. 26. Quest will play UBC Okanagan of Kelowna in the other semifinal.
The WolfPack men will square off with the host Mariners on Saturday. Langara and UBC Okanagan will meet in the other semifinal.
If TRU’s men advance to the PacWest final, they automatically claim a spot at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Championships, slated to be held in New Brunswick in November.
The WolfPack women must win the PacWest title to book a spot at nationals, scheduled to be held in Surrey in November.
TRU’s soccer squads are both making the jump to the Canadian Interuniversity Sports ranks next season.
The storybook ending for Seb Gardner’s last home game with the WolfPack was not to be, but an unfortunate miss in Sunday’s tilt won’t even put the tiniest of blemishes on the Vernon product’s career.
Gardner had a chance to give the WolfPack a 1-0 lead in the 81st minute of Sunday’s tie with Langara, but he could not make good on the short-range attempt.
“That one is going to haunt me,” he said with a laugh after the game. “I tried to go a little hard and it went off the post.”
The inspirational midfielder has twice came back from bouts with cancer, earning the respect of his teammates and cementing his place in WolfPack history.
“Seb is just one of those guys who is a character,” Antulov said.
“He is wonderful to be around. He is a good team guy and a great leader. We wish we could have him for another five years.”
Gardner attended church on Sunday morning and watched episodes of The Sopranos to take his mind off playing for the last time at Hillside.
“To come back from cancer — not once, but twice — and play two seasons back-to-back has been a personal accomplishment,” Gardner said.
“I hold that dear to me. I’m just happy to be out here. Just thankful. It was a beautiful day.”
Gardner is the Pack men’s lone fifth-year player, while TRU’s women will lose three to graduation — Bekkering, Vanessa Zilkie and Laura Smylie.
“Alanna has become more of a team player and very unselfish,” McManus said.
“I believe that is what has made her one of the best players I have ever coached.
“Laura has developed into being a leader which is expected of veteran athletes. She is a more rounded player now since she has played her last three years as a sweeper.
“Vanessa has been a solid player for us. She came to me as a wide midfielder but, when we had a rash of injuries a few years ago, I converted her to a fullback.
— with files from TRU sports