CORNER BROOK A win in any of their three games this weekend would clinch a provincial league playoff spot for the Western under-14 boys soccer team.
The club is wrapping up the regular season on the road, beginning with a match this evening against Feildians of St. John's. They'll then play Conception Bay South Saturday morning and Mount Pearl on Sunday morning.
Both Feildians and Conception Bay South are within striking distance of Western, so two losses there would be downright catastrophic for the team's playoff aspirations, especially when the third game of the trip comes against Mount Pearl, the best squad in the league this season.
"I think we're going to do good, even though we're missing a couple of our good players," said 13-year-old Evan Rouzes, a native of Stephenville. "I think we can pull it off."
An energetic effort will be needed in order to get the job done, according to Rouzes, who said he plays a variety of positions, but will be lining up on defence this weekend.
He pointed the finger at some lazy late mistakes that cost his team in a pair of losses to St. John's when Western last played in the final weekend of July.
"Last time we fell apart a little bit," he said. "But if we can play strong for a full 80 minutes we should be fine."
The son of Gloria and Harris Rouzes admits it's challenging to prepare for three different opponents in three days, but he is still confident about his club's chances to take one, or both, of the opening two games.
"They're going to come out hard, they're playing for playoff positions," he said. "I think they'll be tough, but we can beat them."
Mount Pearl, on the other hand, is another story. With only one loss in 16 games this season, they're the definitive class of the league.
"They have so many good players who know they game so well," Rouzes, a product of the Stephenville Minor Soccer Association since he was five, said. "They can pass the ball and, when they need to, put the ball in the back of the net."
Still, he doesn't think they're invincible and acknowledges a victory on Sunday could tilt the table in their favour heading into the Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games soccer tournament next weekend and then beyond into the provincial under-14 league playoffs.
"If we could beat them, it'd be huge," Rouzes said. "I think they'd be a little rattled and we could try to keep the momentum going and try to upset them at the Summer Games."
Mount Pearl are currently 14-1-1 with 43 points for first place, with St. John's behind them at 13-3-0 and 39 points. Western holds down third place with an 8-6-1 record and 25 points, while Avalon clings to the fourth and final playoff spot, at 7-8-1 and 22 points. Conception Bay South are 6-10-0 with 18 points, trailed by Feildians at 5-8-2 and 17 points. Burin Peninsula are in the basement with an 0-17-1 record and one point.
Western faces Feildians 6:30 p.m. this evening at Feildian Grounds, Conception Bay South at 10 a.m. Saturday at Nugent Field and Mount Pearl 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Middle Smallwood Field.