DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
It's down to the Final Four for the Winnipeg Wesmen in their push for their first post-season birth in four years.
With four games left on the schedule, the time is now for the Wesmen women's soccer team, which is looking for its first berth into the playoffs since 2014.
That urgency kicked in following a 1-0 loss to the Manitoba Bisons Saturday at Investors Group Field, giving the U of M an early leg up in the 2018-19 Duckworth Challenge.
"We have to keep going," Wesmen head coach Amy Anderson said. "I knew from the get-go we'd have a challenging season and we need to be resilient, we have to keep going. And we will. I'm not concerned about that. I think we're going to be better."
The Bisons broke through in the 68th minute when Bisons player of the game Hailey Lavarias was found borderline onside on the right, gathered the pass and chipped over a charging Madison Fordyce for the game's lone goal.
The Bisons generated a few threatening opportunities, throwing 12 shots at the Winnipeg goal, forcing Fordyce into five saves.
But the Wesmen were not without their chances, too, the best of which was a scramble ball on the Bisons goal-line in the second half that somehow stayed out of the net.
"I think today we did our school proud," Anderson said. "... At the end of the day, if you don't capitalize on opportunities, it doesn't go your way. And I think it's a hard lesson for us because we had some really good looks. We had some great deliveries, and if we're not capitalizing on opportunities, then that's what happens. This game would have been very different if we would have had the one or two (goals)."
Now the Wesmen turn their attention to a west-coast road trip with a Saturday match at Thompson Rivers and a Sunday clash at UBC-Okanagan, both of which are two-win teams in the Pacific Division. The Wesmen fell to 0-6-4 on the season and are now three points back of the final playoff spot in the Prairie Division.