Planes, planes and more planes: Griffins set for 4,500 km road trip for games at TWU, UNBC

Ricky Yassin powers past a Victoria defender in a game last Saturday (Tia Schram photo).
Ricky Yassin powers past a Victoria defender in a game last Saturday (Tia Schram photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Set to rack up some serious frequent flyer miles, the Griffins men's soccer team will hop on no less than four flights each this weekend for a pair of road games in B.C.

"Edmonton-Vancouver, Vancouver-Prince George, Prince George-Vancouver, Vancouver-Edmonton," noted head coach Adam Loga of their upcoming travel schedule to play games at Trinity Western on Friday (8:15 p.m. MT) and at UNBC on Sunday (1 p.m. MT, both Canada West TV).

It's a swing trip that covers more than 4,500 kilometres.

"It will be tough," said Loga. "It's probably our toughest road trip to date. It's a bit of a gauntlet. So, we just have to make sure we look after our bodies and look after each other. And most importantly, just have the experienced guys lend a hand to the younger lads."

The toughest part about it may not even be the travel. The Griffins (2-2-3) are visiting two teams in playoff positions in the strong Pacific Division. The Spartans (4-3-1) and Timberwolves (3-4-1) are riding high, both coming in off blowout victories over Lethbridge.

"Every game's challenging, of course," noted Loga. "I think we've played fairly well to this point – some unlucky results, for sure. But we need to rebound after Sunday's sub-par performance. 

"I know it's cliché, but we're going to go back to the basics just ironing out some of the foundational principles of our game model and we'll go forward that way."

He's talking about a disappointing 2-0 loss at home to previously winless UBC Okanagan – a contest in which the Griffins faced some adversity. Starting wingback Michael Ho was suspended for the game, starting holding midfielder Chance Carter was unable to play, and Sunday starters Ethan Monaghan and Jakob Sievert left with early injuries.

"We needed to address the fact that it wasn't our best performance on Sunday by any stretch, but I think it's important to know that there were some unusual circumstances prior to kickoff," said Loga. "We lost four guys out of our regular group."

And that hurt because the Griffins have been a tough team to score on when their starters are on the field. Prior to the UBC Okanagan loss, MacEwan hadn't conceded a goal in the run of play in three-straight games.

"That unit's been very good defensively," said Loga. "We've defended very well."

Offensively, the team's promising depth has been its calling card, but now it's a search for results as the Griffins have scored just eight goals in seven games – 10th out of 13 Canada West teams.

"On the attacking side, there's just some small tweaks," said Loga. "We're almost there, but there's just some small tweaks that we have to clean up."