The Pandas soccer team started their season this past weekend with two games against the MacEwan University Griffins. The Pandas lost the first game to MacEwan, but recovered two days later to beat the Griffins in their second match.
In the previous season, the Pandas missed the Canada West post-season with a regular season record of 4-8-0. The Pandas are led this season by Kristyn Shapka, head coach of the Pandas soccer team.
Canada West has returned to a standard schedule, allowing the Pandas to play a full 14 conference game season. In a preseason coaches poll, the Pandas ranked seventh while the Griffins, the defending national champions, ranked third.
On Friday August 26, the Pandas started their regular season at Clarke Stadium with 350 fans in attendance. The Pandas were defeated by the Griffins 3-1.
In the second half of the game, Griffin Erin Van Dolder scored twice to seal the final score of 3-1. Van Dolder made a free kick goal with an assist from Grace Schimpf, then made another goal from a penalty kick during the extended time period.
In total, the Griffins outshot the Pandas by 14 and eight shots on goal. The Pandas totaled 13 shots and five shots on goal.
On Sunday August 28, the Pandas recovered from their earlier loss by defeating MacEwan 5-2 at Foote Field.
The Pandas started off strong with the first goal of the game coming from Cara Lang. The Pandas then went on to score three more goals in the first half in close succession. All three goals assisted by Hope, were made by McKayla Brault, Adrienne Poulin, and Kelli Haffie.
In the second half, MacEwan replaced goalkeeper Breanna Truscott with Bianca Castillo. The Griffins went on to score twice, with goals from Van Dolder and Grace Mwasalla. The second goal coming off of an assist from Hannah Supina.
Shortly after, the Pandas made the final goal. Brooke Lang sealed the final score as a 5-2 win for Alberta.
The Pandas outperformed the Griffins in shots with 18 in total and 11 shots on goal. In comparison, the Griffins shot nine in total and four shots on goal.
The following weekend the Pandas played against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds and the University of Victoria Vikes.