TRU soccer trio returns
Peter Loncar, Kyle Fertile and Sebastian Gardner have excellent timing.
All three WolfPack veterans — each of whom took time away from the TRU soccer scene last year — are back in the fold this season, just in time to replace graduated players Brynden Swint, Conor Doherty and Adam Dodgson.
“It’s huge to get them back,” WolfPack co-head coach John Antulov said. “You don’t have to take two or three years to wait for them to develop.”
The WolfPack opened the 2012 campaign against the Douglas College Royals on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Hillside Stadium.
That game ended in a 2-2 draw.
Oriol Torres and Dion Gouldsborough were the Pack goal scorers.
TRU fell 2-1 to the Kwantlen Polytechnic Eagles at Hillside on Sunday, Sept. 9. Torres was the lone WolfPack talisman.
TRU finished with a record of 4-4-2 last season and missed the Pacific Western Athletic Association playoffs.
This year, Antulov likes his charges’ chances of returning to the post-season.
“We’re looking pretty solid right now,” he said.
“We’ve got a good mix of youth and experience and I think we’re going to do well.”
Key returnees include forwards Jacob Kaay, Falah Alquahtani and Torres, midfielders Brandon Mendez and Ashley Raynes, defender Corey Wallis and goalkeeper Travis Froehlich.
“We’ve got our 22 or 23 guys out there ready to play,” Antulov said.
“It’s up to them in training to see who’s going to get the most playing time. You have to earn it.”
Wallis and the three WolfPack returnees played together this summer with the under-21 Kamloops Heat of the Pacific Coast Soccer League.
“We lost three veterans last year,” Wallis said.
“This is kind of like replacing them — and having experience on the field is hugely important.”
Gardner back after cancer battle
Easily the most inspirational WolfPack story of the fall is the return of Gardner, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in December.
After six months of chemotherapy, the cancer was determined to be in remission in July.
The Vernon product, who played with the Heat this summer, is still finding his legs, but is thrilled to be back with the Pack.