June 13, 2013, Edmonton, AB (ISN) – In a rare move, Canada West has one soccer game scheduled on the final day of August to open the 2013 campaign – a men’s game that sees Winnipeg at Saskatchewan – before a full schedule of contests takes place a week later.
After growing by three teams last season, the number of rosters remains unchanged this time around as the men will have 11 teams and the women 13. Manitoba and Regina continue to compete only on the women’s side.
There will be six schools lining up in the men’s Prairie Division and five in the Pacific Division, with three in each qualifying for the post-season. The women continue to play in all one division, where eight make the playoffs.
As in 2012, Prairie schools will play 15 matches apiece, Pacific schools 14.
After the lone opening-weekend match between the Wesmen and Huskies, all remaining teams take the pitch in Week #2, the September 6-8 weekend as Fraser Valley, UBC, Victoria, Winnipeg, Calgary, Lethbridge and UNBC all play their home-openers. Mount Royal and Trinity Western head home for Week #3, while Alberta does not entertain the home fans until Sept. 21.
UBC went undefeated during the 2012 season, eventually claiming both Canada West and CIS gold. It was Alberta, which lost only two of 15 regular season games, that provided the toughest test, placing second in the conference Final Four, and Trinity Western posted just a single loss before being upset in the semifinals.
UBC and Trinity Western play a home-and-home set, Sept. 13-14, while Alberta looks for a form of revenge in their lone meeting with the Thunderbirds on Sept. 28 in Vancouver.
The regular season concludes on October 27, followed by a rapid three rounds of playoffs in four days, hosted by the Pacific Division first-place finisher. Quarter-finals are Oct. 31, semifinals Nov. 1 or 2 and the championship on Nov. 3. UNB in Fredericton is the site of the 2013 CIS men’s soccer tournament, Nov. 7-10.
With 13 teams playing 12 games all in a single division, pressure to pick up as many points as possible starts early for Canada West soccer clubs.
Trinity Western and Victoria stormed out to an early lead last season and were never headed, placing one-two in the conference and Trinity taking gold at National, UVic the bronze. The two sides meet in Langley on Sept. 13 in what is sure to be an important game.
Last year’s big improvement came from Regina, going from six points in the 2011 standings to 25. Four straight games away from home – Oct. 5, 6, 11 and 12 – will be a tough test for the up-and-coming Cougars, who look to make further strides.
Playoffs open with quarter-finals on October 26, after which teams will be re-ranked for semifinals and medal matches on Nov. 2-3. University of Toronto hosts CIS Nationals, Nov. 7-10.
Complete canadawest.TV broadcast details will be made available prior to the season.