The Thompson Rivers Wolfpack will be in town this weekend for the UNBC Timberwolves’ women’s soccer home opener on Friday.
That will be followed up with another match on Sunday when the UBC-Okanagan Heat will be in town.
“We are really ready for this weekend,” said UNBC’s Rhianne Ferdinandi. “TRU and UBCO will be evenly matched opponents for us. We have been working really hard this preseason, and I think everyone looks really good.”
The Timberwolves finished last season 16th in the Canada West standings with an 0-12-1 record. Obviously, they are looking to improve on that this year.
One of the players to watch will be Sidney Roy. After two years away from the program, Roy returns for her fourth season of eligibility with the Timberwolves. The program’s all-time leading scorer, Roy will look to ripple the mesh for UNBC, while providing leadership to the 11 freshmen on the TWolves roster.
The Wolfpack are equally as hungry for a better season, finishing 15th last year with a 1-12 record. One of the players to watch will be Sasha Sirianni. A second-year midfielder, Sirianni paced the Wolfpack in points in her freshman campaign. The Kamloops native will be leaned on to provide offence for the TRU attack.
Game time is at 3 p.m.
“Right now we are just focused on Thompson Rivers, and once that game is over, we will turn our focus to UBCO,” said Ferdinandi. “We try to just take it one game at a time.”
Sunday’s match against UBCO will likely be a tougher one as the Heat finished 13th in Canada West standings (4-9-1) last year.
One of the Timberwolves’ players to watch will be Mara McCleary. McCleary may have been the most impactful rookie in the Canada West in the 2016-2017 season. The Victoria product played every minute of every game, and provided a stability to the Timberwolves backend. UNBC coach Neil Sedgwick will look for more of the same from McCleary in her second season.
On the other side of the pitch, look to Maya Bandy to be an impact player. Despite starting just seven games in her freshman year, Bandy was able to score a pair of goals. That total is the highest of any returner to the Heat roster, so the Vernon native is sure to be a focal point of the UBCO game plan.
“We have been working a lot on our offence these last few weeks,” said UNBC’s Ferdinandi. “Hopefully we will create a lot more chances, we will get a lot more shots, and score some more goals.”