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Riding an unbeaten pre-season record (4-0-1), the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s soccer team go for real on Saturday when they play host to the Fraser Valley Cascades at Nonis Sports Field (2 p.m.).
The Heat begin their second season in the CIS Canada West Conference with nine new players, while seven members who helped the team make it to the playoffs last year have departed.
2014-15 CW Regular Season Record: 5-5-2
2014-15 CW Playoff Record: 0-1
2014-15 Overall Record: 6-8-3
Number of new players: 9
Key Recruits: Name, Position, Hometown, Last Team: Daimon Gill (D, Abbotsford-Abbotsford Traditional); Riley Gallant (Surrey-Fraser Heights); Jeevin Kang (D, Surrey-Burnaby Central); Kieran Large (M, Victoria- St. Michael's); Kyle Sears (D/M, Sherwood Park-Bev Facey); Hamish Walde (D, Salt Spring Island-Gulf Islands); Luke Warkentin (F, Vancouver-Semiahmoo)
Number of departing players: 7
Key Losses: (Name, POS, number of years with team): (Austin Jones, Forward, 4), (Nick Kmet, Defender, 4), (Dylan Abbott, Defender, 4), (Joe Gill, Defender, 4)
Key performer: Enzo Paal of Vernon, a third-year forward led the team with four goals last season, and netted five markers in the first four preseason games.
Coach Quote: "Our goal this year is to qualify for the playoffs and improve on last year's loss in the first round. With the extremely competitive Pacific Division this will not be easy and with a bit of luck we can hopefully achieve our goals." – Head coach Dante Zanatta
Key storyline: After failing to earn a playoff in its last two years in the PACWEST, UBCO made a run to the postseason in its inaugural season in the Canada West. The team was led by a strong core of players who had been with head coach Dante Zanatta since he took over the program at UBC Okanagan in 2011. Dylan Abbott, Joe Gill, and Austin Jones have all graduated and leave a lot of minutes and leadership roles for Dante to fill.
The Heat will play again on Sunday at UBCO against the Trinity Western Spartans beginning at 2 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Heat women’s soccer team will be in Prince George on Friday to play the University of Northern B.C. Timberwolves. On Sunday, they’re in Edmonton to take on the University of Alberta Pandas.
The Heat opened the season last weekend by defeating the University of Winnipeg Wesmen 1-0 and playing the University of Manitoba Bisons to a 1-1 draw.
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