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Panthers are playoff tested entering AUS post-season

<p>UPEI Panthers keeper Brett Strba makes a save during practice in the 2016 season.</p>
<p>UPEI Panthers keeper Brett Strba makes a save during practice in the 2016 season.</p>

UPEI went 6-1-1 down the stretch to qualify for playoffs

The UPEI Panthers are not intimidated by playing the St. FX X-Men.

The Panthers (6-5-1) enter the six-team Atlantic University Sport (AUS) men’s soccer championship as the team with the fewest points during the regular season. It means a matchup with the third-place X-Men (7-2-3) at 4:30 p.m. in Fredericton, N.B.

The X-Men defeated the Panthers 2-0 in the first game of the regular season, but the game was scoreless with 10 minutes remaining.

“We know we can beat them. We outplayed them,” keeper Brett Strba said before Tuesday’s practice.

“People are going to see us as underdogs, but we’re definitely not underdogs. In our team, we just think we’re a favourite.”

The Panthers started the season 0-4, but went 6-1-1 to close out the regular season.

“I always felt that we were playing well, we just weren’t taking our chances in front of goal,” head coach Lewis Page said. “The second half of our season we kind of put both parts of our game together.”

The Panthers didn’t defeat any of the playoff teams, but the X-Men’s lone win against teams still playing was with UPEI.

UPEI scored 13 goals while allowing nine. St. FX found the back of the net 28 times while only giving up six.

The Panthers are looking to build on the confidence it has gained during the second half of the season while playing low-scoring contests.

“Since we went 0-4 we were kind of playing playoff soccer for the whole season,” Page said. “We’re used to having that pressure.”

The Panthers have a lot of experience, including eight players from the 2014 team that won bronze at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship in Charlottetown.

Kieran Moore was an 18-year-old on the field surrounded by an experienced club with numerous guys five years older than him.

He learned about what it meant to be a Panther from those veterans and hopes he has helped instill those same qualities in the next generation.

Moore looks at the progression of rookies Mohsmmad Jaber and Cohen Reddick-Stevens and smiles.

“They’ve been phenomenal the last six games and their firepower is going to pay off in the playoffs,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of guys come through this program in my four years and those guys will have a fantastic five years in the AUS.”

The UPEI Panthers are not intimidated by playing the St. FX X-Men.

The Panthers (6-5-1) enter the six-team Atlantic University Sport (AUS) men’s soccer championship as the team with the fewest points during the regular season. It means a matchup with the third-place X-Men (7-2-3) at 4:30 p.m. in Fredericton, N.B.

The X-Men defeated the Panthers 2-0 in the first game of the regular season, but the game was scoreless with 10 minutes remaining.

“We know we can beat them. We outplayed them,” keeper Brett Strba said before Tuesday’s practice.

“People are going to see us as underdogs, but we’re definitely not underdogs. In our team, we just think we’re a favourite.”

The Panthers started the season 0-4, but went 6-1-1 to close out the regular season.

“I always felt that we were playing well, we just weren’t taking our chances in front of goal,” head coach Lewis Page said. “The second half of our season we kind of put both parts of our game together.”

The Panthers didn’t defeat any of the playoff teams, but the X-Men’s lone win against teams still playing was with UPEI.

UPEI scored 13 goals while allowing nine. St. FX found the back of the net 28 times while only giving up six.

The Panthers are looking to build on the confidence it has gained during the second half of the season while playing low-scoring contests.

“Since we went 0-4 we were kind of playing playoff soccer for the whole season,” Page said. “We’re used to having that pressure.”

The Panthers have a lot of experience, including eight players from the 2014 team that won bronze at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship in Charlottetown.

Kieran Moore was an 18-year-old on the field surrounded by an experienced club with numerous guys five years older than him.

He learned about what it meant to be a Panther from those veterans and hopes he has helped instill those same qualities in the next generation.

Moore looks at the progression of rookies Mohsmmad Jaber and Cohen Reddick-Stevens and smiles.

“They’ve been phenomenal the last six games and their firepower is going to pay off in the playoffs,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of guys come through this program in my four years and those guys will have a fantastic five years in the AUS.”

AUS championships

A look at the schedule for the Atlantic University Sport soccer championships. Seedings are in parenthesis.

Men’s

Fredericton, N.B.

Quarter-finals

Today

4:30 p.m. – UPEI (6) vs. St. FX (3)

7 p.m. – Dalhousie (5) vs. UNB (7)

Semifinals

Friday

4:30 p.m. – Lowest remaining seed vs. Acadia (1)

7 p.m. – Highest remaining seed vs. Cape Breton (2)

Final

Sunday

2 p.m. – Semifinal winners.

Women’s

Sydney, N.S.

Quarter-finals

Today

 

5 p.m. – Dalhousie (6) vs. Acadia (3)

7:30 p.m. – UNB (5) vs. St. FX (4)

Semifinals

Friday

 

5 p.m. – Lowest remaining seed vs. Cape Breton (1)

7:30 p.m. – Highest remaining seed vs. Memorial (2)

Final

Sunday

 

2 p.m. – Semifinal winners.

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