Underdogs again, 2021 playoff team Griffins voted to finish 12th in Canada West coaches poll

Underdogs again, 2021 playoff team Griffins voted to finish 12th in Canada West coaches poll

MacEwan Athletics / Canada West Communications

CALGARY - Despite making the playoffs last season, the MacEwan Griffins men's soccer team remains a distant underdog in the eyes of its peers across the conference.

In the annual preseason Canada West coaches poll, the Griffins were voted to finish 12th out of 13 teams this season.

The Griffins finished 4-4-2 last season, nearly upsetting the top team in the Pacific Division in the opening round of the 2021 playoffs, eventually falling in overtime to Victoria.

MacEwan kicks off its season at home this Saturday vs. Mount Royal University (2:30 p.m., Clareview Field, Canada West TV presented by Co-op).

Four-time reigning champion UBC came out atop the coaches' poll in 2022. After going 4-2-6 in the regular season last year, the T-Birds knocked off Mount Royal and Victoria in the final four to collect their fourth straight conference title.

The Mount Royal Cougars are hungry to avenge that semifinal loss after finishing last season with the conference's top win percentage. They finished second in the coaches' poll and will be looking for their first-ever Canada West banner.

Rounding out the top three is the Alberta Golden Bears, who will rely on the defensive prowess of the league's leading goaltender from 2021 and some new recruits to guide them back to golden status for the first time since 2016.

For the complete schedule, click here.


Team - Points (First-place votes)

  1. UBC Thunderbirds – 143 (11)
  2. Mount Royal Cougars – 127 (1)
  3. Alberta Golden Bears – 105
  4. Trinity Western Spartans – 103
  5. Thompson Rivers WolfPack– 101
  6. Calgary Dinos – 92
  7. Victoria Vikes – 73 (1)
  8. Saskatchewan Huskies – 71
  9. Fraser Valley Cascades – 64
  10. Northern British Columbia Timberwolves – 54
  11. UBCO Heat – 36
  12. MacEwan Griffins – 33
  13. Lethbridge Pronghorns – 12

Chance Carter, seen battling Alberta last season, is set to bring his strong defensive presence back to the Griffins this season (Robert Antoniuk photo).

MacEwan Griffins season preview

2021 CW regular season record: 4-4-2, 4th Central
2021 post-season record: 0-1 / Lost in QF
Head Coach: Adam Loga / 7th season / 12-43-14
Last CW championship / total CW championships: N/A
Last U SPORTS championship / total U SPORTS championships: N/A
2021 CW regular season ranks:
Offence: 18 goals, 4th
Defence: 35 goals against, 13th
2021 CW regular season leaders (returning):
Goals: 4 – Rakan Yassin, F
Assists: 2 – Joseph Abrahart, D, Michael Ho, D, Rakan Yassin, F
Points: 6 – Rakan Yassin, F
Wins: 3 – Josh Stayko, GK
Shutouts: 3 – Josh Stayko, GK
Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last team):
Ousman Maheshe / F / 1 / Goma, Congo / FC Edmonton
Egzon Jeteshi / M / 1 / Edmonton, AB / BTB Academy
Tommy Millar / F / 1 / Langley, BC / Fusion FC
Ethan Monaghan / F / 1 / Calgary, AB / Victoria Highlanders
Ali Blaybel / F / 1 / Edmonton, AB / BTB Academy
Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):
Alvin Mazaheri / F / Copenhagen, DEN / 1
Ali Yildiz / F / Edmonton, AB / 1
Key performer:
Chance Carter
Edmonton, AB
2021 Stats: (0 goals / 0 assists / 0 Pts)
The former FC Edmonton player was a force for the Griffins in his rookie campaign in 2021.
Moved out of position to play centre-back, he logged top-five minutes on the team and helped lead the Griffins to the Canada West playoffs for the first time.
In MacEwan's opening round quarter-final match at Victoria, Carter got a chance to show his offensive prowess, scoring the game-tying goal that sent the match to overtime before the Vikes prevailed.
The central midfielder is again set to bring a pro-level standard to a Griffins team looking to return to the Canada West post-season in 2022.