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Sea-Hawks’ men's soccer season could be decided today


Jake Stanford channeled his inner Al Davis week. Stanford’s message to his Memorial University men’s soccer team was basically the one made famous by the famous owner of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders:  “Just win, baby.”

The Sea-Hawks have four regular-season games remaining in their Atlantic University Sport regular-season schedule, but today’s road contest in Charlottetown against the UPEI Panthers is as crucial as they come.

“It is our season,” said Stanford.

Six teams will advance to the playoffs in the conference and the Memorial men (2-4-2) are in seventh place entering today. That leaves the Sea-Hawks two points back of the sixth-place Panthers (3-5-1), with a game in hand on UPEI. 

If things broke the right way, Memorial also could overtake fifth-place University of New Brunswick, but that wouldn’t matter. Since UNB is hosting the AUS championship tournament in Fredericton, N.B., early next month, the Varsity Reds are guaranteed a playoff berth no matter where they place.

“They’re in anyway, so it’s down to us and UPEI as to who gets that last spot,” said Stanford.

“That means we can’t afford to lose to P.E.I. If that happens, then you’re left dealing with mathematics and your fate is in other people’s hands. 

“We win (today) and we control our own fate.”

It’s a message Stanford has stressed but all year, but especially this week after the Sea-Hawks’ last game, a 2-1 loss to the visiting Saint Mary’s Huskies, who scored the winner with just over two minutes left.

“That’s a couple of games get away from us, the other being in our season-opener against Dal (when the Tigers scored in injury time for a 1-1 tie),” said Stanford

“Both of those should have been wins and we let them slip away. If we have those points, we’re not in the situation we are in today.”

“So hopefully, we’ve learned the lesson about being properly prepared to play a full game

The Sea-Hawks finish up a two-game road trip Sunday in Sackville, N.B., against the Mount Allison Mounties and close out their regular schedule next weekend with two games at King George V Park against visiting Acadia.

 

bmcc@thetelegram.com 

 

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