Panthers prepare for tough weekend on the soccer pitch

Kevin McCarville & Fred Foster
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UPEI plays SMU Friday night in Halifax, host UNB Saturday

The UPEI men’s soccer team has a tough weekend ahead of them with games against two arch rivals.

The Panthers travel to Halifax Friday for a 6:15 p.m. game against the Saint Mary’s Huskies before hosting the University of New Brunswick (UNB) Varsity Reds Saturday at 7:15 p.m.

The Huskies, the defending Atlantic champions and national silver medalists in 2011, will again be considered one of the favourites in a tough league. Saint Mary’s is coming off a 2-0 win over the Dalhousie Tigers last weekend, while the Panthers had a 3-1 victory over Mount Allison and a 0-0 draw against Moncton.

“Any time you’re going in to play the defending champions, you have to be at the top of your game,” said head coach Lewis Page. “We’ve got a quick team, a good passing team and I think this will give us a good chance against Saint Mary’s.

“They have always been very good defensively, so we have to move the ball quick and move well off the ball. So that aspect of our game has to be very good if we are going to be able to break them down and that’s been the challenge the last few years.”

Any time you’re going in to play the defending champions, you have to be at the top of your game Lewis Page, UPEI men's soccer team's head coach

Fourth-year wingback Dillon Wight feels good about his squad this year.

“I think we’ve just got to continue what we are doing,” he said. “We’re playing hard and defending well and getting our chances. They’ve got some good wingers and they’re good in attacking but I think we can handle them.”

The Panthers are tied for second place with Acadia and UNB, two points behind Cape Breton who are off to a quick start with two wins over Memorial.

“UNB will be a different game as well,” Page said. “They are a very fast physical team and they like to get the ball forward quickly. We’ll have to adapt to that physical battle on Saturday. So it will be two different types of games and very competitive teams. Two great games to have at this point in the season.”

The women Panthers (1-0-1) play the Huskies (0-0-1) today at 4 p.m. and host the Varsity Reds (0-2-2) Saturday at 5 p.m.

The Huskies played to a scoreless draw with the defending champs from Dalhousie.

Organizations: University of New Brunswick, Panthers, Dalhousie Tigers

Geographic location: Saint Mary, Halifax, Moncton Cape Breton

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