After a poor second-half performance in Kamloops Friday night, the UBC Okanagan Heat bounced back with a solid scoreless showing against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack Sunday afternoon at the Nonis Sports Field in Kelowna.
Quality scoring chances were hard to come by for either squad throughout the CIS Canada West men’s soccer match, with very few clear-cut opportunities.
With the draw, the Head add another point to their season tally as they sit with a 1-1-2 record through two weeks of conference play.
Freshman Owen Miller of Vernon, a 6-foot-4 fullback, is with the Heat, while fourth-year defender Finlay McPhie and freshman fullback Scott Kramer, both of Vernon, play for the WolfPack.
The best chance of the first half came 15 minutes in as Aaron Mulama forced a mistake from WolfPack goalkeeper Alex Ram and Corbin Beauchemin had a look at goal from 12 yards but it was cleared off the line.
The WolfPack’s best opportunity came near the end on the half when James Fraser made a run from the flank and cut the ball back to the six-yard box but no ‘Pack player was able to finish.
Heat midfielder Taylor Piche had the best chance of the second half as he made a deep run from behind the halfway line but fired his shot from inside the box just wide to the left.
The WolfPack enjoyed several opportunities of their own but failed to convert.
TRU had a couple of solid opportunities in the 70-minute range. Off a throw-in, the ball made it to the far post and Justin Donaldson was unable to bury the redirect, hitting the side of the net. In the 77th minute, Jason Stalger had a decent look but shot the ball over the bar.
UBCO keeper Nicholas Reitsma continued his strong start to the season with his second clean sheet of the conference season so far. The second-year keeper has allowed a goal or less in all but one match so far.
Fourth-year UBCO defender Hamish Walde noted that the team made some adjustments following the loss in Kamloops and it paid dividends in the draw.
“We knew the mistakes we made on Friday and corrected them going into today,” said Walde. “We’re one of the best passing teams around and we tried to do a little more of that today.”
The Heat captain also noted that one of the things that makes this year’s team special is the depth.
“We have a lot of guys who can step in and make a difference for us. Even the guys who don’t get to play all the time are quality players and we keep bringing quality players in year after year. We have had some injuries the last couple years and that’s when our depth comes in handy”.
This marked the first segment of the inter-university rivalry between the two Okanagan schools with volleyball and basketball being the other sports that are contested between the programs. The women’s soccer team will be up with the WolfPack during the first weekend of October.
The Heat will now hit the road for two matches against both the UBC Thunderbirds (1-0-1) and the University of Victoria Vikes (0-2-0). The WolfPack will also be playing against these two programs next weekend in both Victoria and Vancouver.