NEW WESTMINSTER – A pair of big offensive weekends have propelled Calgary's Dominic Russo and UBC's Jasmin Dhanda to Canada West first star honours for the period ending Sunday, September 25.
Both Russo and Dhanda piled up the points in a pair of weekend soccer games, as Russo's four goals and an assist over two matches earned him male first star of the week, while Dhanda's four-goal weekend gave her female first star honours.
Also earning star honours this week were: Alberta's Ajeej Sarkaria (male second star), Trinity Western's Rachel Hutchinson (female second star), Saskatchewan's Greg Buckley (male third star), and MacEwan's Emily Burns (female third star).
Male first star – Dominic Russo
Calgary Dinos soccer
Game log: Saturday, Sept. 24– hat trick in 4-0 W vs. UNBC / Sunday, Sept. 25 – goal and an assist in 2-1 W vs. Victoria.
The University of Calgary Dinos men's soccer team improved to 6-2-0 over the weekend after wins over UNBC and Victoria at home.
Dominic Russo, 2015 Canada West leading goal scorer, scored a hat trick on Saturday afternoon when the Dinos defeated the UNBC Timberwolves 4-0.
The following day, the Dinos hosted the Victoria Vikes and Russo assisted on the opening goal of the game before the Dinos found themselves tied up at 1-1 heading into the second half. Russo scored his fourth goal of the weekend, and 11th of the season, to give the Dinos a 2-1 win. He currently ranks second in the conference in goals scored this season.
The Dinos continue their home stand this weekend with big games against MacEwan and Alberta.
Female first star – Jasmin Dhanda
Game log: Friday, Sept. 23 – two goals, 10 shots in 4-1 W @ UNBC / Sunday, Sept. 25 – two goals in 3-2 L @ Alberta.
Jasmin Dhanda had a four-goal weekend for the UBC Thunderbirds women's soccer team.
She scored the game-tying goal in the 30th minute against UNBC on Friday in Prince George, B.C., before adding an insurance marker in the second half. Dhanda had 10 shots in the match.
UBC was down 2-0 against Alberta on Sunday before Dhanda scored twice to tie the game. The T-Birds gave up a late goal to fall 3-2 despite Dhanda's big day.
UBC (2-1-4) will host Thompson Rivers and UBC Okanagan this weekend in Vancouver.
Male second star – Ajeej Sarkaria
Alberta Golden Bears soccer
Game log: Saturday, Sept. 24 – hat trick in 3-1 W vs. UBCO / Sunday, Sept. 25 – one goal in 4-2 W vs. Thompson Rivers.
Sarkaria continued to torch Canada West competition this past weekend, scoring another four goals in a pair of wins over the visiting UBCO Heat, and Thompson Rivers WolfPack. With the quartet of markers, Sarkaria broke the Golden Bears program goal scoring record, and now sits just one goal behind Dominic Russo's Canada West record of 15, which he set last season. Sarkaria currently leads the conference and nation with 14 goals and 18 points through ten matches.
In Alberta's first match of the weekend, Sarkaria scored all three goals for the Bears in a 3-1 win over the Heat. The Edmonton native scored his first two goals in the first 13 minutes of the match, before earning the hat-trick of a slick breakaway goal in the 90th minute.
In game two, Sarkaria once again found the scoresheet in the 59th minute with a header off a Victor Karosan corner kick, en route to the Bears ninth win of the season.
Sarkaria and the undefeated Golden Bears return to action on October 1st and 2nd when they travel to Calgary to take on the 6-2 Dinos, and 6-2-2 Mount Royal Cougars.
Female second star – Rachel Hutchinson
Trinity Western Spartans soccer
Game log: Saturday, Sept. 24 – two assists in 4-0 W @ Thompson Rivers / Sunday, Sept. 25 – two assists in 3-0 W @ UBCO.
TWU forward Rachel Hutchinson had four assists, including two on game winners, to help lead the No. 5 Trinity Western Spartans to two road victories in British Columbia's Okanagan this past weekend.
The second-year Cloverdale, B.C. native had assists on the Spartans first and fourth goals, in the 49th and 90th minutes, to lead the Spartans to a 4-0 win over the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Saturday afternoon in Kamloops, B.C.
Then on Sunday, the biology student added two more assists on TWU's first two goals, in the 13th and 14th minutes, to extend TWU's unbeaten streak to seven games in a 3-0 victory over the UBC Okanagan Heat. Her efforts in the match earned her MVP honours for TWU.
The victories put the Spartans on top of the Canada West Pacific Division table with 17 points (5-0-2). TWU will put their two match winning streak on the line this weekend when they host second place and unbeaten Alberta, 4-0-2, on Friday, September 30 and 0-6 UNBC on Saturday, October 1. Both matches are at TWU's Chase Office Field, with a scheduled 5:00 p.m. start.
Male third star – Greg Buckley
Saskatchewan Huskies soccer
Arts and Science
Game log: Friday, Sept. 23 – six saves in 3-1 W vs. Trinity Western / Sunday, Sept. 25 – two saves in 1-0 W vs. UFV.
Fourth-year University of Saskatchewan goalkeeper Greg Buckley recorded back-to-back wins at home to help the Huskies pick up an important six points in divisional cross-over men's soccer action.
The Saskatoon, Sask. product made six saves in Friday's 3-1 upset victory over the No. 4-ranked Trinity Western Spartans. On Sunday, Buckley was solid in goal against the Fraser Valley Cascades making a pair of saves to secure the win and his third shutout of the season.
The Huskies remain at home to host the Winnipeg Wesmen this weekend.
Female third star – Emily Burns
MacEwan Griffins soccer
Sherwood Park, Alta.
Game log: Saturday, Sept. 24 – seven-save shutout in 1-0 W vs. Saskatchewan / Sunday, Sept. 25 – six saves in 1-0 W vs. Regina.
It was a weekend of back-to-back clean sheets for second-year MacEwan goalkeeper Emily Burns, who made a total of 13 saves in two 1-0 weekend victories over Saskatchewan and Regina.
She was hurt in the second half of Sunday's game and taken to the hospital as a precaution (she was released 20 minutes later), but still picked up the victory to move to 3-2-1 on the season.
After another impressive weekend, Burns now boasts the best save percentage in Canada West (.907). She has become one of the top keepers in the conference and has already earned praise this season for shutting out defending national champion UBC on Sept. 10.
Burns is also third in saves in Canada West (39) and is tied for fifth in goals against with four through six games, with two shutouts.
The Sherwood Park, AB, product will again be key as the Griffins head out on the road this weekend for matches at Winnipeg (1-4-1) on Saturday and at Manitoba (2-3-1) on Sunday.