The UBC Okanagan men’s soccer team suffered two tight losses and earned a draw in a three-game exhibition trip to the Pacific Northwest last week.
The first game of the road trip saw the UBCO men’s soccer team fall 2-1 to the University of Puget Sound when the team’s played to a 1-1 tie.
A goal just 42 seconds into the match by the host Puget Sound Loggers was answered when forward Austin Jones (5th year, Vernon). After Puget Sound went ahead 2-1, UBCO maintained the majority of possession for the game they were unable to get the tying and the winning goal in the second half.
Head coach Dante Zanatta thought his team defended well and that they were unfortunate to not get a better result.
“It was a very good competitive game against a good squad, as far as our preparation goes the staff was very happy with the quality of game,” he said. “We were a little disappointed the way we came out and played,” continued Zanatta, “it could have been the two days off and the travel down, but you have to give respect to our opponent Puget Sound, the have very good program.”
A late goal and a number of missed opportunities saw the UBCO Heat to fall to the Pacific Lutheran Lutes 1-0 in their second of three games in Washington state.
The only goal of the game came in the 64th minute on a long play that turned into a shamble and Jordan Downing was able to convert from close range for the Lutes when he played the ball off a UBCO defender.
UBCO spent most of the game on the attack outshooting the Lutes 12-7, yet with all of the offensive pressure mustered the Heat could not get the ball across the goal line, including a missed penalty kick early in the first half.
“We just weren’t very good around the net,” said Zanatta of his team, “offensively is always the hardest thing to be good at, you can get organized defensively and get better at things [on the defensive side] quickly but offensively it’s a mindset to become very good.”
Defensively coach Zanatta was happy noting that the Lutes didn’t create a whole lot of chances and overall he thought that for a preseason match “it was a good game and it tested the guys, which is very good. Some guys stepped up and played well I thought, overall it’s a very good learning experience and hopefully we will build on it.”
Facing a tough NCAA Division II school in the Saint Martin Saints the UBCO Heat came away with a 0-0 draw as the final of three games for the Heat in Washington state came to a close.
Goals continued to be hard to come by for UBCO on this trip, scoring just once in the three games, yet coach Zanatta was very pleased by his team’s performance on Wednesday against a very strong foe.
“A 0-0 tie against a division II school was a very good result for our team. We played extremely well and I thought we were unfortunate not to win. We had more possession, we out shot them, and their keeper made a brilliant save late in the last minute off Austin Jones to deny us a win. Defensively we were better today and offensively we created more chances.”
The Heat also just missed netting the winner when fourth year Jorden Leib, a forward from Bellingham, WA, playing close to home, had a partial breakaway and couldn’t finish, a couple of other times UBCO had the ball in the box only to not get a shot or call that was needed to notch a goal.
In spite of the sputtering offense the team responded well, especially with it being the second road game in two days. “It was a good performance against a very good St. Martin’s school,” said Zanatta.
“Overall we played against three schools in different positions and this was perfect for our preseason, of course you always want to win the games, but it was a very good step forward. And other than a few niggling injuries, the trip, and the camp [August training camp in which the team practiced twice a day for most of the month] were extremely successful. We are looking forward to Prince George in a couple of weeks. We will have to get a little bit better in the next 10-14 days but otherwise it was good.”
The Canada West season will get under way on the road in Prince George for a pair of games against the UNBC Timberwolves on Saturday and Sunday (Sep 6-7).
The first Canada West action at the Nonis Sports Field on the UBCO campus will be Friday Sept. 12 when the Zanatta and his Heat team play host to the Fraser Valley Cascades. Action begins at 7 p.m. for the men.