They both finished first in the standings, they both picked up gold at provincials this weekend and now they'll both head to nationals in November.
The TRU WolfPack men's and women's soccer teams both brought home gold medals from the Pacific Western Athletic Association provincials in Nanaimo this weekend, with the women winning 1-0 over the Quest Kermodes in the championship final and the men picking up a 2-1 victory, in penalty kicks, against the Douglas Royals.
The men played a scoreless first half against Douglas in the championship game and about two minutes into the second half took the lead with a goal from Ashley Raynes. Raynes played a deflection behind the defender and beat him in a race for the ball, scoring in the process.
Shortly after the go-ahead goal, midfielder Brandon Mendez was shown a red card and ejected from the game. Mendez and a Douglas player became tangled and the official felt that Mendez stomped on his opponent when trying to free himself. TRU would play the rest of the match shorthanded.
In the 64th minute Douglas tied the match when a short corner kick was one-timed into the top corner of the net.
The game would remain tied through the rest of the match and two overtimes.
"The boys showed a lot resiliency by digging their heels in and withstanding the pressue they gave us with the one man advantage," said co-head coach Sean Wallace following the match.
"I guess what you would say is they bent but they didn't break."
In the penalty kicks the two teams traded chances: both scored on their first of five attempts, followed by saves from both keepers on the second attempts. Both teams scored on their third and fourth tries before WolfPack 'keeper Travis Froehlich stopped Douglas on its fifth kick. Raynes came in and played hero for the men, scoring on the team's fifth and final attempt to take the gold medal.
For the men, it's their first provincial gold medal since 2007, a match they also won on penalty kicks. Wallace coached that team as well and said the kicks mirrored those of this year, with 'keeper Allan Connor making two saves to lead TRU to victory just as Froehlich did this year. Connor is now Froehlich's 'keepers coach.
It will be the men's first nationals appearance since 2008, when they played host to the tournament and took the silver medal.
The news wasn't all good for TRU, however, as Justin Wallace and Corey Wallis went down with injuries in the tournament's first match against the host Vancouver Island University Mariners (a match TRU won 2-1).
Justin Wallace was injured when a VIU player made contact with him as he waited for an airborne ball to come down, the defender's knee hitting him in the ribs. Sean Wallace described it as a disrespectful challenge and said Justin is now resting in Victoria Jubilee hospital after undergoing a procedure on his spleen. Justin won't play again this season.
Wallis was able to make it through the semifinal with a groin injury but the coaches elected to rest him in the championship final.
"It was a little bittersweet, I guess," Sean Wallace said, with the knowledge that TRU would be heading to nationals without its leading scorer and the league's player of the year.
"The excitement probably won't start until we land in Saint John (N.B.), but it's exciting for the guys."
The men and women will head to different destinations for their respective tournaments. The women will go to Surrey for their championship, to which Kwantlen Polytechnic University will play host from Nov. 6-9.
The women picked up their third consecutive provincial title in a stalemate victory over the Quest Kermodes, 1-0.
Forward Katie Sparrow scored the only goal of the match, her second of the weekend, off a Kelsey Martin corner kick.
McManus said it's the first time he can remember that both the men's and the women's soccer teams were able to win their league titles, the provincinal titles and go to nationals in the same year. For the women, the two victories on the weekend continued their unbeaten streak (14-0-2), which they will hope to continue at nationals. McManus's team last lost on Nov. 10, 2012.
"I think it's phenomenal for the athletics department, I think it's phenomenal for Kamloops itself, actually," McManus said Sunday. "I think it's excellent."
TRU had beaten the Langara Falcons 5-1 in a Saturday semifinal.
NOTES: Laura Smylie was named playoff MVP for the women and Alanna Bekkering was named the top midfielder. . . . Braeden Burrows was named playoff MVP on the men's side of the tournament while Froehlich was named the top goaltender and 2012 rookie of the year Nolan Wallace was named the top defender. . . . Bekkering was held scoreless in the final but had a hat trick in Satuday's semifinal. . . . Jaydene Radu also scored two goals in the semifinal. . . . Kyle Logan, Joseph Rose and Oriol Torres all scored for the men on their penalty kicks. Dion Gouldsborough's attempt was stopped.