CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Character is a word that comes up when Lewis Page thinks of his four players that will be recognized during tonight’s UPEI Panthers soccer senior night.
Nathan Ford, Liam Doiron, Noah Bitar and Austin MacKenzie will be recognized before the men’s team’s 7:15 p.m. contest with the Saint Mary’s (SMU) Huskies.
“They have always selfless served the team,” Page said Wednesday. “These aren’t guys who have got a ton of playing time over the years, but they’ve shown up every day for training, they’ve always been available when asked to play.”
The women’s team will recognize Jade-Evelyne Bellemare, Emma Adkins and Danielle Younker.
Both squads are out of the playoff picture as the teams enter the final weekend of the Atlantic University Sport season.
The Panthers (1-7-3) look to end the season on a strong note against the Huskies (4-4-3).
Page said it’s been a rarely has it had its full allotment of players available due to injuries this season.
“It’s a hard season to judge because we’ve played very well in a number of games and not gotten the result,” he said. “Unfortunately, in this league, the season is so short, you can’t afford to drop those points.”
He said the players should be proud of the effort they have put into the season.
“The pain that they felt this year of being so close in so many of those games and not getting results, that pain is going to drive them in the summer,” he said. “They don't want to feel this again.”
The team can return a strong core next season, including centre back Jake Deighan who Page called the squad’s best player all year.
The Panthers women’s team are looking to end the season strong. UPEI (2-6-3) hosts the Huskies (6-4-1) at 5 p.m.
“We’ve had a really good home record (2-1-2) this year, so we want to finish on a high,” head coach Graeme McDonald said. “We want to make sure that we finish the season with that good record.”
The Panthers lone loss this year was to second-place Cape Breton, 3-0 on Sept. 16.
McDonald is looking for his team to bring a positive mindset into today’s game and play hard.
“Because SMU is a well-organized defensive team we need to be creative when we attack and have possession of the ball.”
Amanda Stanyer gets the start for the Panthers.