Monday, 6 October 2014

Huskies men’s soccer, a hidden gem

The Huskies celebrate a goal by Luigi Bekwayo's (#9).
            “That is the best Huskies team I have ever seen.”
            Those words were by an alumnus of the University of Saskatchewan men’s soccer team, while he watched his former squad down the University of Alberta Golden Bears 6-1 at PotashCorp Park on Sunday. That same alumnus also said during his years the team wasn’t that good.
            For a number of years, the Huskies men’s soccer team wasn’t a headline grabber and played with little fan attention. That changed last season when the program qualified for its first appearance at a Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship tournament with an 8-5-2 record. Club regular season records were set for wins (eight) and points in the standings (26) in the process.
            Sunday’s win was a treat. The Huskies and Golden Bears entered the day as the top two teams in the Prairies Division of the Canada West Conference. The hosts stormed out to a 3-0 just 17 minutes into the contest.
            The edge expanded to 4-0 by halftime and was 5-0 before Cj Gilroy scored for the Golden Bears on a penalty kick.
            David Brown, Tyler Redl and Luigi Bekwayo each scored twice for the Huskies. Most of the goals came with the team quickly heading up field in transition and with some smart strikes by the goal scorers. The effort didn’t let up at any point in the contest by the hosts, even with substitutes coming off the bench in droves in the second half.
            Michal Bandula picked up the win in goal for the Huskies, while Connor James suffered the loss for the Golden Bears, who fell to 4-3-3.
            On the day, the Huskies were a total treat to watch. They improved to 7-0-1 to sit first in the Prairies Division with the win and officially locked up a playoff berth.
            The stands at PotashCorp Park were also packed, and spectators also lined the sidelines to the sides of the stands. That was also a cool sight to see.
            The Huskies can wrap up first place in the division by winning two of their final four games. They return to action this coming Saturday and Sunday, when they host the University of Winnipeg Wesmen at PotashCorp Park at 2:15 p.m. each day.
            At the moment, the Huskies are no longer a blip on the radar screen.


Mission accomplished for women’s team

            The Huskies women’s soccer team did what they needed to do to keep control of their own playoff fate.
            On Sunday, the Huskies blanked the lowly University of Lethbridge Pronghorns 5-0 at PotashCorp Park. Erica Hindmarsh and Jenelle Zapski each scored twice for the Huskies, while Kelly Cerkowniak picked up a single. The hosts led 3-0 after 21 minutes and never looked back.
            Cara Santaga picked up the win in goal for the Huskies, while Micaela Stone suffered the loss in goal for the Pronghorns, who fell to 1-7-2.
            After two straight wins over the Pronghorns, the Huskies sit third in the Prairies Division of Canada West with a 5-2-3 record. The top four teams in the division make the playoffs.
            With two games left, the Huskies have to wait for a bye week to finish to see if they are still holding on to a playoff spot. The University of Alberta Pandas (4-1-3) and University of Regina Cougars (4-2-2) will make up their two games in hand on the Huskies and could potentially knock the Dogs to fifth place.
            The Huskies close their regular season schedule by hosting the Cougars on Oct. 18 and 19 at PotashCorp Park at 12 p.m. each day. With the way things sit now, those matches will likely be playoff type games. U of S will make the post-season by winning those two contests regardless of what else happens in the league.
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