The University of Calgary's soccer teams proved again last weekend that the Dinos are a force to be reckoned with. The men and women each held on to their first-place ranks in the Canada West conference with a successful set of games against the visiting University of Lethbridge Pronghorns. The women destroyed Lethbridge 5-0 while the men fought out an impressive 2-2 tie against the visitors.
In the women's game, Calgary played confidently against the basement-dwelling Lethbridge. After a slow start, Dinos' Hema Chengkalath notched Calgary's first and only goal of the first half. In the second half Calgary exploded with four goals and a solid defensive effort that saw Lethbridge shut out and confused. Chengkalath scored another goal, and Jessie Norrie, Leanne Pelosi and Burdine Camilar all found the back of the net for the Dinos to send the Pronghorns home with a bitter taste in their mouths. Dinos defence and goaltending proved once again to be the backbone of the team as the women added to their streak, now three games without allowing a single goal.
The Dinos women had revenge on their minds when preparing for Lethbridge.
"We were confident," said Dinos goal-scorer Leanne Pelosi. "We knew that they had lost 6-0 and 7-0. We had something to prove to them. Last time we played them we lost 1-0 and we got knocked out of the Canada West playoffs, so there was a little bit of revenge involved."
As for the Dinos amazing defensive streak the players give credit to their goalkeeper.
"Taryn [Swiatek] is just amazing right now," remarked Pelosi.
The men had more trouble with the Pronghorns as they lost Colin Smith early to a red card and had to play most of the game with 10 men. The Dinos came out flat in the first half and Lethbridge quickly gained the upper hand. However, the short-handed Dinos dug in their heels and replied with two scores of their own. Unfortunately, the Pronghorns got a goal with five minutes to go and any Dinos' hopes of victory were erased. However, the men have nothing to be disappointed about as they managed to hold off a tough Lethbridge side even down a man almost the whole game.
"It was kind of a mixed emotion game with that result but we're happy to get the point," said assistant coach Lothar Schmidt. "It's not a bad result but we would have liked to get the three points. We came out flat but we improved our play to the point that we carried most of the play. But after the unfortunate red card, we pushed passed them 2-1. It was unfortunate to let the last goal in with only five minutes left."
Next up for Calgary soccer is a tough trip to the West Coast where both the men and the women will pay a visit to the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria. This trip will show how the Dinos fare against what are traditionally the strongest teams in Canada West.
The women are looking forward to the challenge.
"We have two tough teams ahead of us right now. The whole league is really close," said Pelosi. "We want to come out with six points. We all think we have the potential to be the best team in Canada West this year and go on to the playoffs. We're pumped, and I think we're going to kick ass."
The men are also eager to prove themselves against the tough competition on the coast.
"We're reservedly optimistic about the weekend," said Schmidt. "In years past this would have been a self-preservation trip, but this year we are looking to get points from every game."
Both Dinos teams are in first place right now but they will have to prove just how good they are this weekend in British Columbia. We will see if Calgary's championship hopes take on a new light after the weekend, or if the Dinos will fall to their mighty foes from the west.