Tom McManus, head coach of the TRU WolfPack women’s soccer team, was honoured by the Pacific West Athletic Association on Wednesday, but his mind remained focused on Friday.
McManus was named the PacWest coach of the year after leading the WolfPack to a 5-1-5 record. TRU finished second in its PacWest group, and will play the Quest Kermodes in a provincial quarterfinal in Kelowna on Friday.
“It’s a great feeling – we’ve had so much adversity with injuries this season,” McManus said. “Two new coaches (Danilo Caron and Andy Gelowitz), everyone bought into what we were trying to do.
“It’s great kudos for everybody, but I just want the gold medal.”
It was a deserving honour for McManus, who performed a magnificent juggling act when faced with injuries this season.
TRU lost its starting sweeper, Sarah Gomes, in the preseason, and also had to deal with major injuries to D Blair MacKay and M Chianne Smith.
Striker Laura Smylie started the season in Gomes’s position on the back end, but had moved forward when MacKay broke her nose Oct. 9. Smylie went back to sweeper, but moved back up when Maddy Reid returned from injury.
“I have never had as many injuries in my coaching career as we had,” McManus said. “With the national teams, pros – I never had a situation like this one.”
MacKay’s broken nose was the second of the season for the WolfPack – Alanna Bekkering broke hers a week before MacKay, but was able to finish the season. McManus got another scare at the coast last weekend, when Reid took a bump on the nose, but it wasn’t serious.
It’s this almost-healthy lineup that McManus will be leaning on to get the team past Quest and into the provincial semifinals, which go Saturday. The WolfPack goes in riding a 10-game unbeaten streak, one that started after TRU lost its regular-season opener.
“We lost the first game, then we really picked everything up from there,” McManus said. “Because the girls know how to play tight and do what they have to do . . . I think it will work out well for us.”
Three WolfPack women’s players were named to the first all-star team – MacKay, Bekkering and Ashley Piggot. Braeden Burrows of the WolfPack men’s team was a first-team PacWest all-star, while Adam Dodgson and Conor Doherty made the second team.
Men’s basketball is getting ready for its final games of of the preseason.
TRU head coach Scott Clark will have TRU in Abbotsford for the Honda Way tournament at University of the Fraser Valley. TRU will take on the NCAA’s Northwest University Eagles on Friday, before playing the CIS’s Guelph Gryphons on Saturday.
TRU’s Canada West season is scheduled to open Nov. 4 against the visiting UFV Cascades.
TRU is at home to Simon Fraser University in a B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League game Friday.
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TRU soccer coach honoured