This past weekend was the biggest challenge for the Pandas yet this season, entering the weekend with an undefeated record of 4-0-2 that would be challenged by UBC and Trinity Western University, two of the top teams in the country. But once their Sunday game had wrapped up, the Pandas were still undefeated.
On Saturday afternoon, the eighth-ranked Pandas drew the 10th-ranked UBC Thunderbirds 0-0 at Foote Field. Physical play and a strong defensive game on both sides prevented either team from scoring despite a number of close chances on both sides of the field. U of A keeper Keltie Biggs had an impressive game with nine saves for her fourth shutout of the season. UBC keeper Alyssa Williamson’s one save, meanwhile, was enough to tie CanWest’s shutout lead with five this season.
The Pandas’ highlight of the weekend came the next day, however, as the U of A shutout the second-ranked Trinity Western University Spartans 2-0. This ended a 21-game undefeated streak for TWU that stretches back to last season, dropping their record to 8-1-0 in 2012. Biggs made a number of critical saves for her second shutout of the weekend and fifth of the season.
Despite the Spartans controlling the play in the first half, the Pandas responded with a pair of goals from Kayla Michaels within the first 20 minutes of the second half, putting her in third place in the CanWest in goals and points. Despite their 5-0-3 record making them the only undefeated team remaining in the CanWest conference, the Pandas still sit in fifth place without a playoff spot. They’ll try to earn one when they travel to Saskatchewan next weekend for a pair of games against the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina.
The University of Alberta women’s hockey team got their season off to a strong start with a pair of wins on the road against the University of Manitoba Bisons.
In the U of A’s Friday night season opener, the Pandas barely edged out the Bisons for a 2-1 win despite being outshot 33-21 by Manitoba. The Pandas were led to victory by goaltender Michala Jeffries, who backstopped the struggling Pandas, only making one mistake within the first 10 minutes of the game and staying perfect for the remainder of the contest.
Fifth-year forwards Sara Hilworth and Karla Bourke provided Alberta’s goal scoring. Bourke scored after being set up by Hannah Mousek on the powerplay midway through the second period, which would be enough for the win. The Bisons, despite controlling the play for much of the game, couldn’t put a shot past Jefferies.
In the rematch between the two teams on Saturday night, the Pandas were outshot again, this time by a margin of 31-23. But thanks to their penalty kill unit that stopped five Manitoba powerplays, including a 5-on-3 halfway through the third period, and once again due to Jefferies’ play, the Pandas came out on top.
Manitoba opened scoring in the first with a 1-0 lead, but a balanced scoring attack that saw goals from Montanna Noyes, Katie Stewart and Karla Bourke led the U of A to the win. The Pandas will travel to Calgary next weekend to play a pair of games against the newest addition to their conference, the Mount Royal University Cougars.
Golden Bears Soccer:
The Golden Bears soccer squad also had an important weekend, going up against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, who were tied for first place in the CanWest’s Prairie Division with the Bears with identical 5-1-1 records to start the weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, the Bears scored two goals in less than two minutes late in the second half to nab a 2-1 win over the Huskies. Midfielder Zenon Markevych opened scoring and was followed one minute and 24 seconds later by a Scott Gilroy penalty kick that found its way to the back of the net. Saskatchewan sophomore striker Brett Levis cut the lead in half with 10 minutes remaining in the game, but the Bears were able to hang on to the win.
A 1-1 draw between the two teams the following day meant that Alberta held on to top spot in the division with a record of 6-1-2 opposed to the Huskies’ 5-2-2. With both schools having identical schedules for the rest of the year, these games could prove to be the difference when it comes to playoff standings. First-year defender Niko Saler netted a penalty kick to take a 1-0 Alberta lead, but Levis struck again in the 73rd minute for his second goal of the weekend to force a draw.
After claiming top spot in their division, the Bears will host the Pacific division leading and undefeated UBC Thunderbirds next Saturday, as well as the TWU Spartans the following day, both at Foote Field.
U of A Golf:
Both the men’s and women’s U of A golf teams secured spots at nationals this past weekend at the Prairie Championships. The Pandas team finished in first place for the third tournament in a row, with a score of 478 from their four golfers, almost 20 strokes ahead of the second-place University of Calgary with a score of 495. Meanwhile, the Golden Bears finished third in a close race that saw the team end the game three strokes behind the first-place University of Manitoba Bisons. This comes after the Bears won two tournaments to start the season. The U of A will compete in the University of Victoria shoot-out on Oct. 20.
U of A Cross Country:
The 2012 University of Saskatchewan Open took place on Saturday and saw the U of A’s men’s and women’s teams both finish third. The top spot was taken by the University of Calgary Dinos on both sides. The top individual runners on the day were both University of Regina Cougars: Karissa LePage who finished first with a time of 15:40, nine seconds ahead of U of C Dino Grace Kary, and top individual male Kelly Wiebe at a time of 21:48, a full minute ahead of second place Manitoba Bison Sam Vincent. The Bears and Pandas will travel to Calgary for the Stewart Cup on Oct. 27.
The remnants of chivalry still linger today, especially in the dating world.