Playing two friendlies at home proved positive as UBC Okanagan defeat Douglas and Saskatchewan.
KELOWNA, BC - With the conference season just two weeks away the Heat men's soccer team enjoyed their home turf in a preseason tournament that netted the UBC Okanagan squad a pair of wins over the two nights.
The Heat dispelled Douglas College on Friday night 2-0, after receiving a pair of goals from Enzo Paal (Vernon, BC) that carried the host team to victory. Saturday night, facing a Saskatchewan Huskies team that competed in the 2014 CIS national championship for the first time ever, the Heat came away with a 3-2 hard-fought victory.
Thompson Rivers was the fourth team in the tournament and played at 5 p.m. both Friday and Saturday nights, both days playing to a scoreless draw. They went scoreless Friday against the Saskatchewan Huskies and on Saturday in their match versus the Douglas Royals.
For the Heat Friday proved to be some retribution, after playing Douglas to a 3-3 tie last weekend in Kamloops, Enzo was the beneficiary of some hard work by his UBC Okanagan teammates as he scored twice in the second half to send the Heat to victory. Enzo scored twice in the draw to Douglas last week , the win Friday night was the first over the Royals since 2013, they played to a draw last year in preseason. Douglas College still competes in the PACWEST conference of the CCAA.
Saturday night UBC Okanagan and the Saskatchewan Huskies played and entertaining and fast paced match, the Huskies got on the board first after connecting on a long free kick that sailed over UBC Okanagan keeper, Tait Cuthill's (Delta, BC) hands. Enzo Paal notched his fifth of the preseason after he converted his penalty kick seconds before the half expired.
Freshman for the Heat, Luke Warkentin (Surrey, BC), continues to show a nose for the goal as he scored his fourth of the preseason just minutes into the second half. The Huskies continued to pressure UBC Okanagan before finally slipping on past Cuthill to draw even at 2. Although U of S continued to mount a steady assault Cuthill in goal and defenders: Harrison Shrimpton, Shaun Pilcher, Brandon McCallum were up to the task holding the Huskies at bay long enough for the winning goal to be scored by the home team.
In the 85 minute UBC Okanagan took advantage of a corner kick, senior midfielder Manny Straith sent the corner sailing to a spot where Hamish Walde was able to knock a solid header toward the Saskatchewan goal, which was initially saved, only to have Jadan Wong finish the job.
Junior keeper Tait Cuthill was in net for the entirety of both games this past weekend and the Heat boast an undefeated preseason record with three wins and a single tie. They will close out their non-conference schedule with a couple of mixed training sessions and scrimmages versus Quest on the West Coast.
The Heat will seek their second straight spot in the Canada West post season when they open up their Canada West regular season at home on September 12th when they host the Fraser Valley Cascades at 2 p.m. on the Nonis Sports Field.