Jordan Hall facing tough test in Timberwolves' net
This season on the soccer pitch, UNBC Timberwolves goalkeeper Jordan Hall has faced a barrage of shots unlike anything she’d seen previously.
The 18-year-old Prince George product been knocked down, kicked around, and has bruises to show for it. Following their latest game, a 3-0 loss to the Regina Cougars on Sunday at the North Cariboo Fields, she was holding an ice pack to her leg.
It’s the price to pay. No pain, no gain.
Hall and her teammates are closing the gap on the opposition. The Timberwolves, a first-year entry in Canada West, held the lead in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to the Saskatchewan Huskies. Rookie striker Sidney Roy recorded a first-half goal, the team’s first Canadian Interuniversity Sport marker.
With zero wins, five losses and one tie (0-5-1), outscored 34-1 in the process, it appears as though UNBC has suffered more pain than pleasure. You’d be short-sighted to look only at the overall numbers. Twenty-eight of those goals against were surrendered over three consecutive games: they followed an 11-0 defeat against the Manitoba Bisons in Winnipeg on Sept. 9 with two lopsided losses at home, 10-0 to the Victoria Vikes on Sept. 15 and 7-0 to the Fraser Valley Cascades on Sept. 16.
Hall has backstopped the Timberwolves the majority of the way, only sitting for a half hour or so during the second half of their contest at Manitoba.
Those numbers don’t do justice to Hall.
Consider these figures and you’ll appreciate what the 2011 College Heights Secondary graduate has done for UNBC. She’s played five full games over 16 days, only sitting for a half hour or so during the second half of their contest at Manitoba. She leads the 13-team league in saves, with 63, and already has a shutout to her name. Hall went the distance for the Timberwolves in their scoreless draw against the Winnipeg Wesmen in their opener on Sept. 8 in Winnipeg.
Then there’s the inexperience factor. Thirteen months ago, Hall was still preparing for her first college game. One season in the PacWest division of the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association behind her and she’s a starting goalie at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport level.
The jump has been an eye opener.
“We did play at a high level last year, and throughout my youth, we did play at a pretty high level,” she says. “But just everything is just so different, and just the teams. But I don’t really think about the goals for and against, just because I think about how well our team has been doing the last couple of games, and going into these games. These aren’t easy teams and I’m proud of the team that we kept them off for as long as we did.”
The Timberwolves managed to hold the Cougars (4-0-0) and Huskies (3-1-0) off the scoresheet in the first half. Their last two defeats were an improvement from the previous three, which Hall admits taught them a lesson on competing in the Canada West Universities Athletic Association.
“We knew going into this that it wasn’t going to be easy and that there were going to be big scores like that,” she says. “But we just kind of have to take it with a grain of salt and learn from it and not make excuses for ourselves, but realize that we are a young team, first year in this and I think there will be good things to come.”
Hall, a Biomedical Health Science student, is a second-year player on a team short on veteran leadership. Midfielder Rebecca Irving is the only fourth-year member of the team, with a pair of third-years on the 16-player roster, defenders Riley Flannagan and Georgia Lahti. The lineup is absent of fifth-year players and has six rookies.
With so much youth, there’s a lot of room to improve. Hall says she’s always challenging herself. She’s faced stronger, faster and more skilled players at the CIS level.
“No one holds up on the teams. Not that any teams did last year, but there’s no holding up and you have to be just as aggressive as them or more,” she says. “And that’s just one thing. You just got to be the first one to the ball.”
The Timberwolves, who completed a four-game homestand on Sunday, will be back on the road this weekend. They play in Calgary against the Mount Royal Cougars (0-4-1) on Saturday before travelling to Edmonton to meet the Alberta Pandas (3-0-2) on Sunday.
After this weekend, the Timberwolves will return to Prince George for their final home weekend of the season. They host the Calgary Dinos on Oct. 6 before a visit from the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Oct. 7.