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Men's soccer Panthers have something to prove

The UPEI Panthers practice in August for the upcoming Atlantic University Sport men's soccer season.
The UPEI Panthers practice in August for the upcoming Atlantic University Sport men's soccer season. - Jason Malloy

UPEI starts season today at St. FX, looking for strong seasons from its veterans


The UPEI Panthers are looking to prove last year was an aberration.
The men’s soccer squad went 2-7-3 in 2018 to finish eighth in the 10-team Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference and failed to qualify for the playoffs.
“It’s about redemption,” head coach Lewis Page said Thursday. “I think we have to play with a bit of a chip on our shoulder. We have something to prove.”
The squad will get its chance early as it begins the regular season today at 3:30 p.m. at St. FX before finishing the weekend Sunday at 5:15 p.m. at Cape Breton, the defending champs and pre-season favourites according to the conference’s coaches’ poll released Thursday. The X-Men were ranked second with the Panthers seventh. The Capers are also the pre-season top-ranked team in the country.
“Sometimes it’s good to catch those teams early in the season too when they’re still trying to figure some things out,” Page said.
The Panthers’ strength is its spine.
“We have a solid core of veterans right down the middle of the park,” Page said.
It begins with keeper Brett Strba, centre backs Jake Deighan and Mon San Aung, midfielders Nacho Sanchez and Lucas Ross plus Mohammad Jaber and Sam Smiley up front.
Cohen Reddick-Stevens is another key player. He went back to play on the back-line last season after Mark Smith decided not to come back.
Reddick-Stevens had a strong summer playing for the Nova Scotia champion Dartmouth squad and will look to bring that offensive game back to the Panthers’ attack.
Centre back Chris Sear decided not to return this year, but it created an opportunity for Aung to seize a bigger role. He played next to Deighan in youth soccer and has rejoined him on the field in the green and white.
“He’s been excellent in training camp,” Page said. “He’s a smart player. He reads the game well, he’s quick and he’s very good on the ball.”
Page has been pleased with the rookies who have made a seamless transition into the Panthers’ den.
“From the first day of training camp it was almost as if this team had been together for a few years,” he said.

Player                                Pos.    Height    Year    Program     Hometown

1. Brett Strba                       GK      5'11”          4        BBA            Fall River, N.S.
2. Tristan Hughes                CB      6'4"            1        BBA            New Minas, N.S.
3. Emmett Lyons                  FB      5'7"            1        BBA            Mount Stewart
4. Lars Schmidt                    N/A    N/A            1        BBA            Sindelfingen, Germany
5. Nacho Sanchez                MF    5'10”          5        BBA            Cornwall
6. Lucas Ross                     CMF   6’2”            5        BSc            Vernon, B.C.
7. Cohen Reddick-Stevens    F      5'10”         4        BSc            Cole Harbour, N.S.
8. Adam MacLellan                S      5’5”           1        BSc            Charlottetown
9. Sam Smiley                       W     5’9”            5       BA              Stratford
11. Moe Jaber                       S        6'             4       BSc            Halifax
12. William Wilton                CB    6'2"           N/A    BSc            Millview
14. Mo San Aung                FB     5’8”            4       BA              Charlottetown
15. Connor MacDonald       FB    5'11"           1       BSc            Charlottetown
16. Jake Deighan                CB    6'                5       BBA           Stratford
17. Viktor Guterriez               S     6'               1        BA             Yellowknife
18. Nathan Chow                W    5'6"              1        BA            Campbell River, B.C.
19. Duncan Murray            MF   5'11”            2        BSc           Saint John, N.B.
20. Josh MacKillop            FB    5’9”              4        Sci            Sydney, N.S.
21. Salem Farag                W    5’6”               1        BBA          Charlottetown
23. Jensen Gauthier         MF    5'6                2        BBA        Cornwall
24. Francisco Sanchez    CMF    6'                1        BA          Cornwall
25. Donovan Wyand        CMF    5’9”            2        BSc         Mayfield
26. Colin Curran                FB    5'11"            1        Kin          Montague
28. Chukwuka Chibuzo    N/A    N/A              1        BSc        Charlottetown
40. Khalil Sow                CMF    5'10"            1       BBA            N/A
44. Evan Couturier          GK    6'                   1        BBA        Lower Coverdale, N.B.

Head coach – Lewis Page
Coaching staff – Bruce Norton, Matt Dunlop and Nathan Ford.
Manager – Maura Farmer.
Ball boy – Bradley Stevens.

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