The UNB Varsity Reds men’s soccer team enters the final week of the Atlantic University Sport regular season with an unbeaten record.
The Reds improved to 9-0-2 on the season following a 3-3 tie to the UPEI Panthers on Friday in Charlottetown and a 2-0 victory over the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus on home turf on Sunday.
“I liked today’s performance,” said head coach Miles Pinsent following UNB’s win on Sunday. “I thought we were in control the whole time. I don’t think they ever really [felt] threatened. I thought, especially in the second half, we owned possession and as a result really dictated play.
“On Friday against UPEI we played quite well. We were able to create opportunities — we scored three goals, which is a lot of goals in soccer — and we created a couple other really good chances. So that was all positive.”
Although disappointed his team allowed three goals on Friday, Pinsent said the positive part was that the goals allowed were due to some simple defensive mistakes that can be easily fixed.
“I think it might have been just a nice little reminder on Friday that we need to always look to play clean and tidy a few things up as we get ready to play for the important games in November, where it’s win or you’re done.”
The opening stages of Sunday’s first half were fairly even. UNB didn’t record their first shot on goal until the 27th minute when Shea Nordheim fired a shot from the top of box that was stopped.
The Varsity Reds got on the board in the 32nd minute when Oliver Jones scored.
Later on in the half, George Lawton blasted a shot but was denied by the Moncton goalkeeper. Shots were 3-2 UNB in the opening half.
In the second, UNB had a number of quality chances. Nordheim had a couple of good chances while Matt Mountney and Marcus Lees also had solid opportunities but couldn’t connect.
In the 78th minute, Nordheim scored from a sharp angle to make it 2-0 Reds. Shots were 5-0 in favour of the Varsity Reds in the second half.
On Friday in Charlottetown, Nordheim opened the scoring in the 18th minute but the Panthers tied it on a goal from Mark Ashlee in the 44th minute. Shots were 7-6 in favour of UPEI in the first half.
In the opening minute of the second half, Jones put UNB back in front. UPEI tied it again three minutes later as Ashlee netted his second of the match.
Kenneth Van Aarle scored in the 71st minute to give the Reds another lead. But once again, the Panthers would tie it up. With just over a minute left in regulation time, Jared Murphy scored to make it a 3-3 final. Shots in the second were 8-4 in favour of UPEI.
The Varsity Reds host the Mount Alison Mounties at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22. The team plays their final game of the regular season on Friday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at BMO Centre against the Saint Mary’s Huskies.
UNB, first in the AUS standings, have already clinched a playoff spot and a first round bye. The AUS post-season takes place Oct. 31 – Nov. 2 in St. John’s.