Big season for UPEI begins

Jason Malloy
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Men’s team hosting Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship in November

The UPEI Panthers men’s soccer team knows it will be playing for a national championship in November.

The squad will be hosting the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championship, but is only concentrating on the present, said veteran coach Lewis Page.

“Our conversations every year are all about the process rather than the outcome,” he said Thursday. “Our goal doesn’t change whether we’re hosting or we’re not hosting. Our goal every year is to win a national championship.”

The Panthers begin the quest for their first Atlantic University Sport (AUS) championship since 2002 tonight in Wolfville, N.S. Game time at Acadia University is 7:15 p.m.

The Panthers are coming off a 4-6-3 season in 2013 when they missed the playoffs. Three key players sat out the year in order to keep their final year of eligibility for 2014. Back in the mix are Jared Murphy, Dillon Wight and Logan Dawson.

Not having those players last year meant more time for younger Panthers.

“The amount of playing time and the experience they gained last year makes us stronger as a squad,” Page said. “That experience for us is going to pay real dividends.”

Wight injured his hamstring during Mulligan Cup action against Moncton. The extent of the injury was not known on Thursday.

The Panthers have also added James Mallard, who played at Acadia before setting out last season.

The 28-player roster has been finalized, but the team is only able to dress 18 per game. It means there will be lots of competition to dress and start.

Deciding “those last three or four guys (to dress) . . . is always the most agonizing part of the job,” Page said.

The strategy of a game can change throughout the 90 minutes and Page said the team members have always been good at accepting new roles.

“They are all going towards the same goal,” he said.

Page is entering his 15th season as the Panthers head coach after having served as an assistant from 1995 to 2000. He likes the balance in ages and the makeup of his squad.

“I think we have a very quick, strong team,” he said. “Our physical ability will be a big asset for us this year.”

The team also has plenty of familiarity with a dozen players, and some of the coaching staff, wearing the SoccerStop P.E.I. F.C. colours this summer during the McCain New Brunswick Premier Soccer League. The Island squad won the league with a 13-2-1 record.

Page said the familiarity made the transition in training camp easier.

The AUS defending champs from UNB return many of their players from last season while two of the conference’s traditional powerhouses (Saint Mary’s and Cape Breton) have new coaches this season.

UPEI plays its home opener on Sunday at 3:15 p.m. when Moncton comes to town.

The team is playing more Friday-Sunday games this year compared to the Friday-Saturday schedule.

 

 

 

A look at the roster of the UPEI Panthers men’s soccer team.

Mark Ashley

Liam Carpenter

Logan Dawson

Eric DaSilva

Matt Dunlop

Kieran Dutton

Kyle Dutton

Nathan Ford

Brett Hogan

Lucas Holmes

Adam Lowther*

Ben Keefe

Blake Kelly

Brett MacDonald

Stefan McDonald

Dylan Mckenzie

Cole McMillan*

James Mallard

Jeff Moore

Kieran Moore

Cullen Mullaly

Jared Murphy

Eberechi Okwuwolu

Chizi Okwuwolu

Harminder Singh

Trevor White

Dillon Wight

Racine Diop

* Captains

 

A look at the 2013 AUS men’s soccer standings

                       W    L    T

UNB                8    2    3

Saint Mary’s    6    3    4

Dalhousie       6    3    4

St. F.X.            6    3    4

Cape Breton    5    4    4

Acadia             5    4    4

Moncton          4    5    4

UPEI                4    6    3

Mount Allison    2    8    3

Memorial          2    10    1

 

Past champs

A look at the past 10 AUS men’s soccer champs

2013    UNB

2012    Cape Breton

2011    Saint Mary’s

2010    Saint Mary’s

2009    Cape Breton

2008    Dalhousie

2007    Cape Breton

2006    UNB

2005    Saint Mary’s

2004    Saint Mary’s

 CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST GOING BACK TO 1948.

Organizations: Atlantic University Sport, Acadia University, McCain New Brunswick Premier Soccer League

Geographic location: Moncton, Wolfville, Saint Mary Cape Breton

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