The weather is getting colder but there will be some heated action at Scotiabank Park South this weekend.
Both the men's and the women's soccer teams will be facing the Mount Saint Vincent University Mystics Saturday for our Think Pink Games and the University of King's College Blue Devils Sunday in our Grad Games. The quartet of games will have huge playoff implications for all teams involved.
In women's action, the Tommies hold top spot in the ACAA with MSVU nipping at their heels in second place. Both teams have 22 points, but the Mystics have played one more game so far this season. The Blue Devils will come to town on Sunday after playing the UNBSJ Seawolves on Saturday in what is virtually a must win game for them. UKC sits 5 points behind the Seawolves for the final playoff spot with 4 games left.
The Tommies handed the Mystics their only loss on the season back on September 9th with a 3-1 victory, but the Mystics have found their scoring touch since then. Since their opening weekend the Mystics have gone 7-0-0 and outscored their opponents 28-4 over that stretch.
4th year midfielder Louisa Hughes (Fredericton, NB) knows the teams are closely matched and that the Mystics have multiple scoring threats.
"We know that everyone on the field is able to score, so we will defend as a team to shut down any scoring opportunity," said Hughes, who sits second on the team in goals with three. "I think the biggest thing that will get us a win against MSVU is hard work. We know we have the skill and so do they, but it's just a matter of out working the other team."
The men's standings are much more crowded at the top as only two points separate MSVU, Holland College, STU and UKC. UNBSJ is within striking distance only five points back of top spot. The Tommies boast the toughest defensive squad, only allowing three goals so far this season.
"This weekend will determine whether we're in the playoffs or not," head coach John-Ryan Morrison said about his team's big games. "Two wins and we're first place in the league and back in playoffs for the first time in three years. Lose both and we're in big trouble. We face three of the four best teams to finish off the season, so we have the toughest schedule to finish the season versus the other teams we're competing with, so I am interested to see how the boys step up."
In their previous matchups with the Mystics and Blue Devils the Tommies had a 1-1 draw and a 1-0 loss, respectively.
There are several factors that Morrison feels will help his team get the results they need to further their playoff hopes.
"The biggest difference will be to not concede PK's, we gave up 2 in that game including one in the 90th minute for the win," said Morrison in reference to their 1-0 loss. "If we match their intensity and continue to create more opportunities to score, then I think we have a good chance. We hope that the home field advantage will help be the difference this weekend, we've had great support so far this season but we're hoping for more of the campus to really get behind the squad for our final home games of the season."
Opening kick on Saturday is at 2:00pm and 12:00pm on Sunday, with men's action to follow both games.