Women short on experience entering CIS
Considering how they fared at the college level, nobody can be blamed for expecting Canada West woes for the UNBC women’s soccer team.
Based on predictions around the Canada West Universities Athletic Association, people expect to see the Timberwolves battle at the bottom of the 13-team standings. In fact, voting results from a Canada West coaches’ poll had UNBC last in the league.
This isn’t a surprise. In their last two seasons in PacWest (formerly the B.C. Colleges Athletic Association), the Timberwolves had a 0-23-1 record. In last year’s 0-12 campaign, they recorded one goal.
Is there a silver lining? Other than that they have no pressure and nowhere to go but up, they open against another first-year Canada West team. The voters aren’t placing high expectations on the Winnipeg Wesmen either, as the squad ranked second lowest in the pre-season poll.
The Timberwolves will be the road team in the opener on Saturday. They’ll stay in Winnipeg to play the Manitoba Bisons on Sunday.
The women’s situation entering Canada West differs from their male counterparts at UNBC, not only because they had less success at the college level: no playoff appearances compared to two for the men, one which resulted in a silver medal, the 2010 provincials in Surrey.
The UNBC women’s squad also had a different pre-season schedule, with no road games and no contests against Canada West teams. But head coach Andy Cameron noted that with less travel, they were able to train more.
“I think our two weeks of training has been productive,” he said on Sunday, before their final week of training leading into this weekend. “I think the girls are looking forward to testing themselves against the Manitoba teams, and then we go from there.”
A UNBC roster released last week had 15 players in the active lineup. The young team is absent of fifth-year players, with midfielder Rebecca Irving the lone fourth-year member. Two third-year players, seven second-year players and five rookies round out the lineup.
Canada West is one of four Canadian Interuniversity Sport branches. For more on the conference, visit www.canadawest.org.