Heat find themselves in playoff matchup with No . 1 Thunderbirds
Men’s Soccer (Canada West Conference play)
UBC Okanagan (5-5-2) vs. Thompson Rivers (2-8-2) Goals by period 1 2 - Tot UBC Okanagan........ 0 1 - 1 Thompson Rivers..... 1 0 - 1
GOAL Time/Team Goal Scorer Assists Description
1. 22:14 – TR Jacob Kaay Colton Walker
2. 49:29 – UO Dylan Abbott unassisted
KELOWNA, B.C. – The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack brought the valley rivalry down to Kelowna to conclude the weekend series and the season Sunday afternoon in a men’s soccer match that would ultimately go undecided in a 1-1 draw.
The WolfPack were first on the board despite being shorthanded early on as Jacob Kaay found himself wide open less than twenty-yards out following a pass from Colton Walker to put the ball away for this second of the season twenty-two minutes into the match.
Down 0-1 heading into the half, the Heat would rebound barely five minutes into the second frame when Dylan Abbott (5th year, Salmon Arm, BC) put one away on a penalty kick following a hand ball to knot things up 1-1.
The goal was Abbot’s first of the year, and also his last in Kelowna as he will be graduating this June. Dylan’s university soccer career will last through UBC Okanagan’s playoff run.
Kaay, the goal scorer for TRU, notched the goal in his last game as the fifth year player like the rest of the WolfPack just missed the postseason.
Playing in their last match for UBC Okanagan in Kelowna and celebrated prior to the game with Abbott, was Austin Jones (Vernon, BC), Joe Gill (Abbotsford, BC) and Nick Kmet (Sherwood Park, AB). Kmet would earn player of the game for his squad.
The Heat attack could not break WolfPack keeper Travis Froehlich from then on as the netminder would go on to make ten saves on the match. For his efforts he earned himself the Player of the match for Thompson Rivers.
The tie was unideal for UBC Okanagan who, after securing a playoff spot with a victory in Kamloops last night, could have vaulted into the third seed. However, as Heat coach Dante Zanatta observed postgame, it’s really a “pick your poison” scenario for the CIS newcomer Okanagan squad who would have simply traded a date with the No. 1 Thunderbirds for a date with the No. 2 Vikes (Victoria also recently defeated the Thunderbirds).
UBC Okanagan wraps up their regular season with a 5-5-2 record with a punched ticket to the Canada West playoffs for at least one more match of football. The WolfPack wind up 2-8-2 to complete their first tour in the league.
The Heat will travel down to Vancouver to play against the UBC Thunderbirds in a win-or-go-home match Friday, October 24th at 7 p.m.
Watch all the action from home and stream live stats at canadwest.tv.
Four seniors play last games at UBC Okanagan
The home crowd bade farewell to four of their veteran players who will be leaving the program after the season’s end. Dylan Abbott (D, Salmon Arm, BC), Joe Gill (D, Abbotsford, BC), Austin Jones (F, Vernon, BC), and Nick Kmet (D, Sherwood Park, AB) will hang up the cleats once the Canada West playoffs are wrapped up.
Heat coach Dante Zanatta has credited each of these four gentlemen as being a “cornerstone” of the program that has made leaps and bounds in the past few years, ultimately making the jump to CIS.
“All the guys came in as young players with some talent,” Zanatta began explaining. “I think they’re the cornerstone [that has] built the program. To start where they did and develop from young footballers into men with a degree, be an integral part of the program that’s gone into CIS, and to make the playoffs, [they’ve] set the standard quite high.”
“They’ll be hard to replace, but each of them is a quality individual and they will be missed,” the coach concluded.
Careers in Review:
Dylan Abbott: From Salmon Arm, BC, the forward will graduate after four years with a degree in Environment and Sustainability. The name Abbott has been synonymous with soccer at UBC Okanagan since 2008. Dylan’s older sister Natalie played in 2008/09 and his younger brother Logan is currently a teammate of his.
Dylan leaves the program with now seven career goals under his belt following his make today, and was a bronze medalist with the Heat as a rookie. He was the team’s 2013 MVP, an award given to him at the end of year banquet.
Staying local for university was always in the cards for Abbott. “I’m from the Okanagan, so it worked out for me staying local, and I loved every minute of it,” he said.
Joe Gill: Gill joined the team the same year that Zanatta began at the helm of the squad. A transfer from Canada West team Fraser Valley, Gill was instantly impactful to the new coach’s back line.
A dedicated defender, Gill lacks the flashy tags of goals to his name, but he will be remembered for the relentless dedication to the honing of his craft as he was virtually never absent from any regular season matchup in Heat uniform.
“It’s a pleasure to see everyone in the program grow together rather than just as individuals, it’s all about the team,” said Gill of his journey with the squad, which he believes is going in the right direction. “Right when Dante came he set the standard, and we all met and exceeded that standard. Just seeing everyone grow and seeing the new talent that’s coming in gives hope for the program now. That’s exciting to see.”
Austin Jones: The fifth-year forward will receive his management degree in June. He, like Gill, was a transfer to the squad in 2011, helping lead the team to its bronze medal showing at the PACWEST provincial championships. Jones is a former provincial All-Star, Academic All-Canadian, and nominee for Heat Male Athlete-of-the-Year honours.
A consistent and streaky scorer while at UBC Okanagan, he put 2, 6, 5, and 2 balls into the back of the net in each respective season of his four-year tenure in blue and gold. His total tally of 15 puts him second all-time in the Heat record books behind former teammate Thomas Simkins (17).
For the Vernon product, the choice to stay close to home for post-secondary life was easy. “Trying to play out in front of the local people that have seen me play for the last ten years has always been good,” he said. “I try to give everything here out on the home pitch.”
Nick Kmet: A versatile toolkit made Kmet easily employable by Zanatta in multiple positions throughout his career, covering every inch of the field in every capacity except for keeper.Studying to receive his human kinetics degree this spring, the Alberta native was happy to come and play soccer in the Okanagan.
“I’m from Alberta and we don’t get fans like this out for games,” Kmet said. “Soccer is definitely not a ‘go-to’ sport out there so it’s been great coming here.”
Kmet’s passion for the game shone every day on the pitch, and in 2012 during his sophomore year he was given the coaches award for his efforts on the field. Knee injuries continually hampered Nick’s ability to consistently stay on the field, but he would not miss out on the final match of his career on Sunday.