Friday, 3 October 2014

Crunch time for Huskies soccer

Kelly Cerowniak in action for the Huskies.
             It is make or break time for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies soccer teams this weekend.
            Both squads did their part Friday at PotashCorp Park to ensure it is “make” time. The men’s soccer team downed the University of Alberta Golden Bears 4-1, and the women’s squad blanked the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns 3-0.
            While it is only early October, the regular season is nearing a close, and both teams are trying to roll off a final sprint. The Huskies men’s team wants to inch closer to first place in the Prairies Division of Canada West. The Huskies women’s team wants lock up a playoff berth.
            In the men’s game, Garrett Peters and Luigi Bekwayo staked the Huskies out to a 2-0 lead. Cj Gilroy scored for the Golden Bears early in the second half to cut the host’s lead to 2-1. The Huskies pulled away with singles from Bobbi Nicholat and Jordian Farahani.
            Michal Bandula picked up the win in goal for the Huskies, while Connor James suffered the loss for the Golden Bears.
            With the win, the Huskies improve to 6-0-1 to sit four points up on the 4-2-3 Golden Bears for first in the division. If the Huskies just post a tie in Sunday’s encounter with the Golden Bears (2:15 p.m. PotashCorp Park), they will be sitting pretty in the race for first.
            After Sunday’s match, the Huskies will have four games remaining on their schedule. They play the University of Winnipeg Wesmen (2-5-1) twice and the Mount Royal University Cougars (1-4-1) twice. As it stands right now, the Huskies would only need to win two of those final four encounters to capture top spot in the division.
            On the women’s side, the Huskies need wins to keep their playoff hopes alive in the tightly packed Prairies Division. They entered Friday’s game holding a slim one-point edge for fourth place and the division’s final playoff berth.
            In the shutout win of the Pronghorns, Kelly Cerkowniak scored twice in the first half to give the Huskies a 2-0 edge, and Prince Albert product Erica Parenteau rounded out the scoring with a single in the second half.
            Cara Santaga picked up the win in goal for the Huskies, while Myriah Marino took the loss in the Pronghorns net.
The victory helped end a four-game winless skid, as the Huskies improved to 4-2-3. The Pronghorns fell to 1-6-2.
            The two teams meet again on Sunday at 12 p.m. at PotashCorp Park. If the Huskies win, it will put them in a good position to play the waiting game.
            They close out the regular season by hosting the University of Regina Cougars (4-2-2) on Oct. 18 and 19. By that time, the picture of what the Huskies still need to do to get in the playoffs should become clearer. If the Huskies don’t earn a win over Lethbridge on Sunday, they could be forced into a position where they need to win both of their final two games to make the post-season.
            The best part for both soccer squads is they control their own respective destinies. At this point in the campaign, that is all the players on either team wants.
            If they can keep winning, there could be the odd home playoff game at PotashCorp Park.
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