Coming off their most dominant offensive performance of the year-- a 4-0 drubbing of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns-- the University of Calgary Dinos men's soccer team looked to carry their momentum forward against two tough opponents last weekend.
First up for the Dinos was an afternoon match against the Trinity Western University Spartans, who entered play Saturday sporting a record of 4-2-1 in Canadian Interuniversity Sport Canada West competition.
The game started off with both sides fiercely attacking the ball. Unfortunately for the Dinos, the opening minutes would be their strongest, as TWU slowly began to take control of the match. By the 25th minute, the Spartans had essentially overpowered the Dinos end, with Calgary unable to alleviate their offensive pressure. Calgary goalkeeper J.P. Crescenzi fought valiantly to keep his team in the game, but the Dinos would find themselves down 1-0 after a goal by TWU forward Daniel Lowen in the 43rd minute.
The second half began much like the first half ended-- with the Dinos on their heels and an aggressive Spartan squad looking to add to their lead. Crescenzi was forced into making a strong save early off the foot of Cochrane product Patrick Kelly and was almost beat again moments later by Lowen, who put the ball off the side of the net. The Spartans would go up 2-0 in the 65th minute off a goal by Adrian Kekec, which appeared to have gone off a Dinos defender attempting to clear the goal line. The final pound of dirt would be tossed on the Dinos grave 13 minutes later, as Jordan Hart would provide the game's final tally. On a rainy day in Calgary, the Dinos playoff hopes all but vanished alongside their ability to produce offence.
"We come out strong, but we just don't seem to finish," said fifth-year Dino Lauren Ramos. "After we get goals scored on us, it's tough for us to come back. We are not a mature team. This was just a very frustrating loss."
Sunday's game against the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades provided a chance at redemption for the beleaguered hometown heroes. Calgary came out much stronger to open the game, peppering UFV goalkeeper Kristjan Johannson with several quality chances, including a fantastic try by rookie Dino Alex Hanne. Despite noticeably picking up the quality of their play from the day before, the Dinos still struggled to find the back of the net, although it was not for a lack of trying. Sophomore Dino Sean Makin booted three shots, while Jeremy Jenkyns attempted four. All told, the Dinos launched 17 shots -- 11 on net -- but were held scoreless by the fantastic goalkeeping of Johannson.
"We just don't generate enough chances," said Dino midfielder Brian Delaney. "Their goalie made a few good saves, but we aren't putting away our chances."
On the other end, Crescenzi played another strong game despite allowing two goals and absorbing the loss. The 2-0 setback dropped the Dinos to second last in the conference with a record of 1-7-2, while with the win UFV improves to 4-3-2 and inches closer to the final playoff spot.