UBC, Alberta purpose to point out how Canada West is gained, inch towards nationwide soccer ultimate

Saturday’s winner at Thunderbird Stadium hosts Atlantic champions the next week, and the winner of that recreation goes to the Vanier Cup in Kingston, Ont., on Nov. 25.

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Two wins shy of an look within the Vanier Cup nationwide soccer championship, UBC Thunderbirds coach Blake Nill says his squad is exhibiting it will probably pack a punch at crunch time.

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UBC gutted out a 29-21 win over the Manitoba Bisons final week within the Canada West Hardy Cup semifinals, taking the lead for the primary time with simply 7:47 remaining on a 15-yard landing run by quarterback Garrett Rooker that made it 26-21. 

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The T-Birds now host the Alberta Golden Bears on Saturday (1 p.m., Canada West TV) within the Hardy Cup finale, with a number spot within the Mitchell Bowl subsequent week on the road. The winner of the Mitchell — which pits the Canada West champion in opposition to the Atlantic College Sport titleholder — goes to the Vanier Cup in Kingston, Ont., on Nov. 25.

“The truth that we discovered a method to get it carried out in the long run (in opposition to Manitoba) bodes properly,” Nill stated. “That’s a realized talent. You must have had experiences to have the ability to do this.

“It’s one thing that’s been an issue for us. We’ve had our share of video games over the previous couple of years the place we in all probability might have gained if we had just a little resiliency. To see examples of that begin to populate on this tradition is a constructive for UBC soccer.”

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Nill has talked for 2 or three seasons about his group having talent however needing to learn to end large video games. A number of of his gamers talked about this yr as being particular, that they felt that they had unfinished enterprise coming off final yr’s 23-8 loss to the Saskatchewan Huskies in Saskatoon within the Hardy Cup ultimate. Saskatchewan went on to lose 30-24 to the Laval Rouge et Or within the Vanier Cup.

UBC final gained the Vanier Cup in 2015, led by quarterback Michael O’Connor. That was Nill’s rookie season with this system. He is without doubt one of the most embellished coaches in U Sport historical past, with eight journeys to the Vanier Cup between his time with UBC, the Calgary Dinos and St. Mary’s Huskies. He got here out on the profitable facet with St. Mary’s in 2001 and 2002.

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Nill believes that his present staff are inside attain of uncommon territory.

“They know. They’ve been speaking about this for a very long time. They know they’re a particular group. However it’s important to show it each week,” he stated. “They’ve proved it up to now. Now, it’s important to get it carried out once more on this recreation. There’s no best-of-seven. It’s do or die.”

Alberta superior because of a 40-17 win over the visiting Huskies final Saturday.

UBC (6-2) and Alberta (6-2) completed tied atop the common season standings within the six-team loop. UBC received the first-place nod and the home-field benefit that goes with it because of sweeping the two-game season sequence, profitable 54-37 at Thunderbird on Sept. 22 after which 23-10 in Edmonton to shut out league play on Oct. 28.

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“Historical past doesn’t matter in our sport,” Nill stated. “You study from historical past. They’re going to make adjustments, we’re going to make adjustments. It’s nonetheless going to return right down to who executes higher.

“The athletes know each other. The coaches know each other. It’s going to return right down to who could make a couple of large performs and who can decrease taking pictures themselves within the foot.”

Alberta working again Matthew Peterson was named the Canada West participant of the yr on Thursday. He led the convention in speeding with 1,128 yards. UBC guard Theo Benedet was named lineman of the yr. The winners undergo because the Canada West nominations for the U Sports activities nationwide honours. Benedet gained the J.P. Metras Award as U Sport lineman of the yr final season. He’s one of 4 gamers with the T-Birds who might have appeared into professional soccer however as an alternative opted to return again for one more season with UBC. 

UBC had 14 gamers picked to the Canada West all-star staff. Alberta and Saskatchewan have been each subsequent up with six gamers apiece.

The St. Francis Xavier X-Males (8-0) host the Bishop’s Gaiters (6-2) in Antigonish, N.S., in the AUS ultimate on Saturday. Counting playoff video games, the X-Males have gained 27 straight video games in opposition to convention opponents.

They have been tied for No. 4 within the ultimate nationwide rankings, which got here out on Oct. 31. Bishop’s was not ranked. UBC was No. 7, Alberta was No. 10. 

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