The head coach of the UPEI women’s soccer Panthers calls it the biggest game of the season.
Graeme McDonald is talking about Sunday’s 1 p.m. home match against Dalhousie.
UPEI is in a three-way tie for third place with those Tigers and the Acadia Axewomen, with 13 points.
McDonald said to win Sunday would give the team the edge of getting into the playoffs.
“I’d say that’s where we’re at right now.’’
McDonald figures it’s going to take at least 16 points to make the post-season, maybe even 18.
“It depends on what UNB or Moncton does below us because if they go on a crazy run and win every game that they have left it could take 18 points.’’
A win Sunday could also vault UPEI into second spot, if Acadia ties or loses. Memorial has 15 points but doesn’t play this weekend.
The Panthers (4-3-1) are coming off a loss to Cape Breton, Oct. 1. McDonald said the team played reasonably well against CBU.
“The girls are feeling really confident right now and they all had a bounce in their step in training this week. It’s been really good to see that.’’
If anyone had told the UPEI coach his team would be 4-3-1 before the season started he would have gladly taken it.
“Oh, I’m delighted. I mean, we’re still a young team (with) first and second years, a couple of third years and a couple of fourth years. I was hoping to be right where we are right now at the start of the season.’’
What matters most, though, is the Panthers are in a position to control their own fate.
“More importantly this year, more than any other year that I’ve been here, is that we have (our fate) in our own hands. It’s in our own hands to get to playoffs.’’
The men’s soccer team hosts Dalhousie Sunday at 3:15 p.m. coming off three straight loses.
“It’s a huge game. Dalhousie is one of the teams we’re battling for a playoff spot with (and) they’re not that far ahead of us so it’s kind of a six-pointer,’’ said head coach Lewis Page. “You win against them and it’s three points we gain and three points they lose so we make up a little ground.’’
UPEI sits sixth in the conference with a 3-5-0 record while the Tigers come to town sporting a 4-1-2 mark, five points ahead of the Panthers.
Despite the three consecutive losses, Page said no one is panicking.
“I think the intensity level has been really good. We’ve had a lot of injuries . . . (but) we’ve been very good in attack and possession of the ball. We just need to (bury) some of the goal chances that we’re creating.’’
Cornwall’s Kieran Moore will play the Panthers for the first time on Sunday. The midfielder played four seasons at UPEI before graduating in the spring. He is studying medicine at Dalhousie and has one goal in seven games.