Previewing a Swangard showdown and this week’s power rankings

VANCOUVER, BC – We’re down to the final games, and there’s still so much up for grabs. 

On Tuesday, Varsity FC visits TSS Rovers for two massive matches, including a preview of the men’s final set for the same venue on Aug. 1. However, the women’s game holds more significant value, at least for a TSS Rovers side on the precipice of the final playoff. 

The race towards the women’s final

Could Unity FC join Varsity in the final? There’s the possibility. (Ben Steiner)

In just a 12-match season, every point has been invaluable for teams and heading into the final matches, none of which happen concurrently; many scenarios could unfold. However, for the Rovers, the mission is simple — win. 

TSS must win against first-place Varsity to ensure their contention in the final, but it may not be enough to book their ticket to the championship match even if they do grab all three points. A draw or a loss makes Tuesday their season’s end. 

If TSS grab all three points, they’ll look to Rivers FC to upset the Whitecaps U19s, who currently sit one point ahead of Rovers. If the Whitecaps don’t win, TSS then look to the result of the Unity FC v Altitude match to see whether they are into the final. 

Whatever way the days unfold results-wise, there will be drama and scoreboard watching, to be sure. 

It’s got to be an outright approach for Rovers‘ women

(Ben Steiner)

The TSS Rovers head into Tuesday’s match with no option aside from winning. While head coach Chelsey Hanneson’s side is without a few of their top players from earlier in the season, several have stepped up, and there is a newfound depth in their roster. 

One of those players, Bella Roque, has been exceptional and showed it with a goal from nearly 30 yards out in the last match against the Whitecaps. Roque, a diminutive attack-minded player, began the season as a super-sub for Hanneson’s side but has taken on more minutes in the last few games and will likely be up against a difficult defence when they take on Varsity. 

At the back, look for Molly Quarry to get up into the attack a little bit more than usual while also matching up with likely Danielle Steer of Varsity. Quarry, often playing in a centre-back pairing with Joanna Verzosa – Dolezal has been rock solid at the back with Rovers this season and will need to be once again on Tuesday. 

Kirstin Tynan is often an aggressive keeper when it comes to her distribution. Still, it will be much more important on Tuesday for a Rovers team that can’t afford any mistakes and must find themselves in the lead by the final whistle. 

Taking down Varsity won’t be easy for Rovers, it isn’t for any team, but they will have to do that if they hope to play another game at Swangard with their 2022 roster. 

Expect no nonsense from Varsity‘s women

Katalin Tolnai (Ben Steiner)

If there has been one thing made clear from head coach Jesse Symons and the Varsity FC group in the inaugural season, it’s that they want to win. 

While many earned U SPORTS Championship gold in 2019, the group is hungry for a League 1 title and the chance to make history in BC soccer. With both NCAA standouts Holly Ward and Emma Regan back in the fold for Tuesday, look for a full-strength Varsity side as they prep for the Aug. 1 final. 

Varsity’s defence held firm against the Rovers last time out, and they will be well-prepped to do so again. Likely calling on the cohesive talents of Sophia Ferreria, Jacqueline Tyrer and Ella Nuttal-Smith, who have helped them to just seven goals conceded through 11 matches. 

In the midfield, Sophie Damian and Katalin Tolnai seem destined to start, as they often do for Symons’ teams, while Steer, and Jenna Baxter will likely be the main attacking threats. 

While many of the players above are veterans, there could be the potential of some young teenagers in the lineup as well, with UBC commits Maddy Norman and Bailey Doerksen seeing time last week against Rivers; however, major minutes will likely go to the experienced players. 

With Ward cutting in from the wings, expect quite the battle with the Rovers outside defenders, but not one they will shy away from after going toe-to-toe with Varsity at UBC earlier this season. 

Men’s side preview

(Credit: AFTN)

While the final on the women’s side isn’t yet decided, the men’s has been since matchday 10, and Tuesday offers the perfect preview as Varsity visits Rovers, just as they will on Aug. 1. 

As head coaches Mike Mosher and Will Cromack approach Tuesday’s dress rehearsal, they have a chance to tinker ahead of the championship match while also not wanting to show their full deck of cards. 

For Varsity, however, there will be an added pressure to get back into the win column after they dropped an upsetting 2-1 result to already eliminated Rivers FC in Kamloops last weekend. On the other hand, Rovers have a chance to play free, even though they can’t catch Varsity in first place. 

(Ben Steiner)

While the outright battle and dress rehearsal vibes will be the day’s focus, don’t lose sight of two of the league’s best goalscorers doing battle as Erik Edwardson and Caleb Clarke go head to head. While both score very different goals, they are two clinical players that will be integral to their team’s success on Tuesday and in the final. 

However the match unfolds, the chance to see such a preview shouldn’t be taken lightly by players, coaches, supporters, and owners alike. 

Men’s Power Rankings:

  1. TSS Rovers
  2. Varsity FC
  3. Altitude FC
  4. Rivers FC
  5. Whitecaps FC
  6. Unity FC
  7. Victoria Highlanders FC

Women’s Power Rankings:

  1. Varsity FC
  2. Unity FC
  3. TSS Rovers
  4. Whitecaps FC
  5. Altitude FC
  6. Rivers FC
  7. Victoria Highlanders FC

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