Daniel Herrick

August 29, 2013, Saskatoon, SK (ISN) – For the second time in three seasons, the University of Saskatchewan Huskie men’s soccer team finished among the top three in the Canada West conference in 2012.

And now, the team wants nothing more than to return to the conference’s final six tournament and bring home their first-ever Canada West banner.

“I think everyone is really excited about the season,” said head coach Bryce Chapman, who will enter his ninth season at the helm of the team. “We were really proud of what we accomplished last season and we want to continue to be considered one of the top teams in our conference. This group now has playoff experience, is hard working and motivated to get us there.”

After finishing second in the Canada West prairie division with a 6-5-4 record, the Huskies found themselves with a bronze medal after defeating the Trinity Western University Spartans 2-1 in the third place match.

Saskatchewan will look to a core group of experienced players to lead the team back to the final six tournament.

Returning to the team will be 2012 CIS Second Team All-Canadian Brett Levis. Levis, who just returned to the Huskies after a 10-day tryout with the Vancouver Whitecaps of the MLS, finished second in the conference-scoring race with nine goals and six assists. He had an all-star season with the Victoria Highlanders in the PDL during the summer months.

Also joining Levis back in the Huskies’ starting 11 is 2009 Canada West all-star midfielder Eoin McFadden, who returns to the team after a year break, 2013 captain Brandon Holmes, second-year defenders Carson MacDonald and Mathew Gilliot and second-year midfielder Mitch Bauche. MacDonald, Gilliot and Bauche each missed starting in just one match in their rookie season.

The biggest change for the Huskies will be in net. With the departure of fifth-year keeper Mark Diakiw, third-year Engineering student Michal Bandula will assume starting role. Bandula has recorded 19 saves and allowing just three goals in three matches in his CIS career.

Saskatchewan opens the season at home Saturday against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. Match time is 2:15 p.m. on Field 7 in PotashCorp Park.