The No.7 ranked University of Alberta Pandas soccer team starts their post-season run as a gracious host of the conference play-in game, before facing the winner in the quarter-final on Sunday.
Friday features a play-in game between the 4-6-4 Mount Royal Cougars, finishing fifth in the Prairie division in the regular season, and the 8-5-1 MacEwan Griffins, finishing fourth in the Pacific division, game time starting at 2:00 p.m. at Foote Field.
The Pandas, winner of the regular season Prairie division title with a 10-2-2 record, will face off against the winner of that game in Sunday’s quarter-final action at 2:00 p.m. Both games will also be available live on Canada West TV.
Cougars: October Struggles
The Cougars have had a rough calendar month so far, going winless in seven games (0-4-3) and getting outscored 18-5. In their final weekend of the regular season, they were outscored 5-0 against opponents from the same province (Calgary and Lethbridge), so they’ll need to turn things around to at least make it to Sunday’s game.
Griffins: October Success
The Griffins have only lost once in their last six matches, all within October, going 4-1-1 to make it into the post-season.
Better yet, the squad is getting scoring from everywhere, six different players getting in on the scoring during that run. The timeliness of the goals helps overwhelm the low scoring of MacEwan (only those six goals in the six-game period), as does the work of third-year netminder Emily Burns. The Sherwood Park, Alta. native allowed only two goals over the span, earning four clean sheets to improve her season total to seven, good for fourth in Canada West.
Pandas: Shots & Goals Aplenty
Alberta comes into the post-season as the conference leader in shots, firing at a rate of 19.0 shots per game, though they only rank fourth in terms of goals with a rate of 2.0 per game. Nevertheless, five different players have scored at least five points this season, fourth-year forward Sydney Daines leading the team with six goals, 10 points, and a trio of game-winners. The hottest player on the team right now is third-year midfielder Aly Parth, netting four goals in her last five games.
MacEwan and Mount Royal met only once during the regular season, the Griffins taking a 1-0 decision on an early goal by third-year forward Meghan Oram. MacEwan also claimed a 1-0 win in pre-season play.
One of two Alberta losses this season came at the hands of MacEwan, the game decided by a goal in injury time. The Pandas fared better against the Cougars, outscoring them 9-1 in a home-and-home series sweep.
Stat of the Weekend:
Alberta has more goals (16) in October than Mount Royal and MacEwan combined (11).