Men’s soccer hosts Mount Royal, Winnipeg

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October 9, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – With just six games remaining on its schedule, the Trinity Western men’s soccer team will look to make a playoff push as the Spartans stretch drive starts this weekend with a home games against Mount Royal Friday and Winnipeg Saturday at Rogers Field.

Both games are at 7 p.m. and can be seen live at twu.canadawest.tv.

Neither MRU nor Winnipeg has ever played at Rogers Field as this is just the second year playing at the CIS level for both teams. Last year, playing both games on the road, TWU beat MRU 2-0 and tied Winnipeg 2-2.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (1-6-1)

  • CIS ranking: NR
  • Canada West Standings: 5th (Pacific)
  • Last weekend: Alberta T, 0-0; Saskatchewan L, 3-1
  • CW Form: L-L-L-T-L
  • 2012 Canada West record: 9-1-4 (2nd, Pacific)
  • 2012 Canada West tournament: 1-2, 4th
  • 2012 CIS tournament: N/A

Following a week off, the Trinity Western men’s soccer team will begin the stretch drive of its Canada West campaign with one goal in mind: scrap and battle to earn a playoff spot.

With a 1-6-1 record through its first eight games and a conference-low four points, statistically speaking the Spartans seem a far cry from a playoff contender. And considering the plethora of injuries they’ve sustained, to an outsider, the prospects of a TWU playoff appearance look bleak.

However, inside the Spartans fortress, there’s hope. While TWU will likely have to run the table over its final six games, or at least something close to it, the Spartans schedule is certainly favourable and, with that, they have a chance. After playing six of their first eight games against teams that have been in the CIS Top 10 this year, the Spartans will play five of their final six games against teams currently with sub-.500 records.

The Spartans next four games will tell the true tale of this team and its ability to overcome injuries. With four straight games at home against the likes of Mount Royal, Winnipeg and then twice against UNBC, the Spartans essentially need all 12 points. If that happens, the Spartans will enter their final weekend on the road against Calgary and Lethbridge with serious hopes of a playoff berth.

However, if TWU is to get things going in the right direction, the Spartans will have to start by snapping a seven-game winless skid; one that goes back to their season-opening win over Fraser Valley five weeks ago.

Through eight matches this year, the Spartans lone multi-goal scorer is Carlos Del Aguila (Langley), who has two goals on eight shots. Jarvis Ambaka (Maragoli, Kenya), Kalem Scott (Comox, B.C.), Jerome Lou (Surrey, B.C.), Dominic Reinold (Wesseling, Germany) and Andrew Phillips (Lake Errock, B.C.) each have contributed one goal.

In net, third-year veteran Evan Lowther (Surrey, B.C.) started four of the Spartans first five games, but since succumbing to the injury bug, it’s been second-year Andrew Hicks (Surrey) carrying the load. Hicks has yet to earn a win this year, but he does have his team’s only shutout, which he earned in a 0-0 draw with then No. 4 Alberta.

As a team, the Spartans have averaged a 0.88 goals for per game (9th in Canada West) and 8.50 shots per game (11th in CW) while allowing 3.38 goals against per game (11th in CW). They are averaging 4.88 saves per game (5th in CW).

MOUNT ROYAL COUGARS (3-5-1)

  • CIS ranking: NR
  • Canada West Standings: 5th (Prairie)
  • Last weekend: Calgary L, 2-1; L, 1-0
  • CW Form: W-L-W-L-L
  • 2012 Canada West record: 4-10-1 (5th, Prairie)
  • 2012 Canada West tournament: N/A
  • 2012 CIS tournament: N/A

For a team that is only in its second year playing at the CIS level, the stakes this weekend are about as high as they get.

After missing the playoffs by a full eight points last year, with six games left on schedule, this year’s Cougars side is in a position to make a run at a post-season berth. With Alberta stumbling of late, MRU is just four points behind the Golden Bears for the third and final playoff position.

A successful road swing to the West Coast – one that will see MRU take on No. 1 UBC Saturday – would not only boost the Cougars playoff chances but would also prove that they are truly one of the up and coming clubs in Canada West.

The Cougars are coming off back-to-back one-goal losses against Calgary – 2-1 and 1-0 – and desperately need to return to the win column if they are to make a late-season playoff push.

The Cougars have averaged exactly one goal per game in their nine outings (8th in Canada West) so far and have only been shut out twice; a 2-0 loss against Fraser Valley and last Sunday’s 1-0 setback against the Dinos.

So far this year, it’s been the MRU defence that has held the Cougars in most games. In nine matches, they are averaging 1.33 goals against per game, which is good for fifth in the conference. The Cougars have earned three clean sheets, which is tied for the third most in Canada West.

Cody Cook leads the team offensively with five goals (6th in CW), including two game-winners. In four games, goalie Kamil Zielinsky has put together a 1.00 goals against average while fellow netminder David Thelheimer has a 1.60 GAA in five outings. Zielinsky leads the conference in shutouts per game with two in his four contests.

The Cougars are 0-1 all-time against TWU after losing 2-0 at home in their first ever meeting last year.

WINNIPEG WESMEN (3-4-3)

  • CIS ranking: NR
  • Canada West Standings: 4th (Prairie)
  • Last weekend: Lethbridge 1-1, T; 2-0 W
  • CW Form: L-W-T-T-W
  • 2012 Canada West record: 2-10-3 (6th, Prairie)
  • 2012 Canada West tournament: N/A
  • 2012 CIS tournament: N/A

In just their second season playing at the CIS level, the Wesmen men’s soccer team is making some serious noise. And they can string together a few wins down the stretch, a playoff position is a realistic goal.

With a 2-0-2 record over their last four contests, including wins over Calgary and Lethbridge, Winnipeg is on a roll unlike they have ever recorded before in Canada West league play. After winning just two games last year – Winnipeg’s first at the CIS level – the Wesmen had previously never gone more than two contests without a loss.

Entering the weekend, Winnipeg is just two points behind third place Alberta, who hold down the final playoff position in the Prairie Division. With two games still against the Golden Bears, theoretically, the Wesmen still control their own playoff destiny.

The difficulty will be earning points against both No. 1 UBC Friday and, then against TWU Saturday at Rogers Field, where historically visitors have struggled to earn wins.

This year the Wesmen, similar to the Spartans, have used a variety of players and relied heavily on their depth. Including goalies Tyson Farago and Joshua Partaker, Winnipeg has had 20 different starters this year.

Offensively, the Wesmen have four different multi-goal scorers, including Adam Bromley, who has a team-high four goals, Kenny Sacramento, who has three, and Scott Ansell and Ross Pinhammer, who each have two. Miguel Fictoria is the only other Wesmen to hit the scoreboard as he has a single tally.

In net, the duo of Farago and Partaker has combined for a 1.30 goals against average and an .849 save percentage. Farago leads Canada West with a .872 save percentage while Partaker is second at .821. The tandem is first and second in saves per game with Farago collecting 6.83 and Partaker stopping 6.40.

As a team, Winnipeg is averaging 1.20 goals for per game (7th in Canada West) and 1.30 goals against per game (4th in CW).

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