It wasn’t the start the UNBC Men’s Timberwolves Soccer Team were looking for this weekend.
To start their season, unlucky bounces put the T-Wolves behind in their home-opener against the Trinity Western Spartans. UNBC Actually got off to a great start with a goal from Cheona Edzerza just 14 minutes in, but it wasn’t enough as they fell 2-1.
In the rematch on Saturday night, UNBC ran into some more trouble all thanks to Spartans 3rd year player and Vancouver Whitecaps prospect, Elijah Adekugbe. He scored bar down on Timberwolves Keeper Mitch MacFarlane. Adekugbe would also add another penalty to put the game to bed in the second half.
A flicker of hope came late in the game as UNBC forward, Francesco Bartolillo had a chance at the spot, but his penalty shot was saved.
Despite the loss, Timberwolves Head Coach, Steve Simonson is staying optimistic. “Last year we were weren’t resilient and that was a big thing for us and we’d cave when there was a single goal scored on us,” he said. “This year we’re still pushing at the end, we have a penalty that the goalkeeper has saved and we’re 2-0 down and we’re still fighting. There’s a resilience in this team we didn’t have last year and it’s going to serve us really well moving forward.”
Simonson says his team is working well together and adjusting with fresh faces in the lineup this year. “Seven players in the games this weekend that weren’t playing started last season, so it’s a brand new team basically,” he said. “We have three kids straight out of highschool they’re starting and playing 90 minutes right now so that’s a huge testament to what we’re trying to do and the growth of where we’re going to be in two to three, four or five years.”
Last year’s Male Athlete Of The Year, Francesco Bartolillo is no exception to the list of talented UNBC players. He believes the club will bounce back. “I think there’s a lot we can take away from this weekend,” he said. “The boys battled extremely hard both games, it was down to the wire both games and up until the wire we didn’t stop and that’s a mentality that’s really going to pick you up some points further down the season when it really matters.”
UNBC now travels to Vancouver for a pair of games against the UBC Thunderbirds on Friday and Saturday.