The Pandas soccer squad saw their undefeated record finally come to an end this past weekend as a pair of losses left them still without a clinched playoff spot.
After going their first eight games of the season without a loss, the Pandas dropped two games on a Saskatchewan road trip, with a 3-1 loss to the University of Saskatchewan and a close 1-0 shutout defeat at the hands of the University of Regina.
The two losses left the team with a 5-2-3 record, putting them in seventh place in the Canada West conference.
With eight teams qualifying for the postseason, the team is still in possession of a playoff spot, but are still in danger of falling out of contention.
“We just need to take care of what’s first at hand. We need six points to secure berth in playoffs, number one. Number two, at this stage we’ve played all opponents, and wherever we land we’ll just prepare for that opponent,” Pandas head coach Liz Jepsen said.
“Unfortunately, not taking the six points on the weekend leaves us a bit in the hands of what everybody else does.”
This being the last weekend of their season, the Pandas need a strong performance to stay in the playoff race. While their final game of the season will be against the 1-8-1 University of Winnipeg Wesmen, on Saturday the team will play the University of Manitoba Bisons who sit one spot behind Alberta in the standings and could be prepped to vault past the Pandas with a strong weekend.
“It’s crucial that the Pandas understand the importance of this and bring their A-game with 100 per cent focus on defence and 100 per cent focus on attack,” Jepsen said.
Jepsen attributed the team’s two losses over the weekend to the Pandas’ trouble capitalizing on scoring chances. Against Regina, the Pandas had a 24-8 advantage in shot attempts, the team had trouble finding the back of the net.
“We hit a number of posts and missed good chances. If you want to be the best in this league, that’s just not going to be possible. It’s not good enough,” Jepsen said.
“I know the likes of Carleigh Miller has been scoring for us and Kayla Michaels has done that. We now actually have Amanda Black who is a fifth-year striker who’s been out since we played Calgary where she got injured. She’s back in the mix, so hopefully she’ll be able to add in her scoring prowess as well.”
Even one win this weekend will clinch a playoff spot for the Pandas, while two wins could put them as high as third place.
But if Manitoba and Calgary both win two games this weekend, coupled with two Alberta losses, the team will be on the outside looking in this postseason.
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