Youthful WolfPack seeks first win

A youthful women’s soccer team at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops is searching for its first exhibition victory as it prepares for Canada West season play.

Four graduates of the Upper Island Riptide program — Olivia Bates, Camryn Curts, Abbie Simms and Danielle Robertson — are vying for starting positions on the WolfPack.

The team had back-to-back setbacks last weekend in Edmonton, losing 4-0 to MacEwan University and 2-0 to the University of Northern British Columbia. Wednesday at home, they lost 2-1 to Douglas College, but won 3-0 in an extra ‘fun game.’

“I liked that they showed, as a group, a capacity to adjust, and take our meeting notes and plans on the field and put them to use,” coach Kelly Shantz said in a news release. “We were much better Sunday (against MacEwan) after a poor day on Saturday (against UNBC). This shows good soccer IQ and makes it easier to take the tempo up a notch.”

The WolfPack has 26 players in camp.

“I am OK with the numbers we have,” Shantz said. “It’s more about identifying our starters, key reserves and then who can rotate into the roster as needed or be a red-shirt candidate for next year.”

A key pre-season battle is happening between the pipes.

“As expected it’s been tight,” said Shantz, himself a former keeper. “Deanna Brady (Richmond) is the third-year and has worked hard on her game all summer. But Danielle Robertson is a polished technical keeper and Shelbie Clarke’s (Invermere) raw athleticism and size, as well as great hands, have them all in the mix for playing time. Much to sort out here.”

This weekend, the team is in Seattle for matches against the St. Martin’s University Saints and the Pacific Lutheran University Lutes. The teams compete in NCAA Div. II and III respectively.

Then it’s off to UNBC in Prince George and MacEwan in Edmonton to start the Canada West campaign Sept. 8 and 10. The home opener is Sept. 23.

WolfPack matches during the regular season will be shown an a pay-per-view basis on http://canadawesttv.ca

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