A trip to Prince George next weekend hopefully hails better results for TWU’s men’s soccer team than a game this weekend at the University of B.C.
Trinity’s eighth-ranked Spartans suffered its first loss of the season, dropping 3-0 to the UBC team Sunday at Thunderbird Stadium, said head coach Mike Shearon.
“I thought we were thoroughly defeated today,” he said.
“They took advantage of the mistakes we made, but they’re a very good team and I don’t want to take anything away from what UBC did to us today. I thought we had a few chances that might have changed the game, but unfortunately I don’t think we were super sharp today, ” Shearon added.
In a game the marked a rematch of last year’s Canada West championship contest (the T-Birds beat TWU 3-2 in overtime in last year’s Canada West gold medal match), the Spartans were held off the scoreboard for the first time this season, seeing their record to 1-1-1 on the season.
UBC striker Caleb Clarke was a standout in his home debut, playing a big part in all three goals, which included netting his second in as many games to round out the scoring in the 80th minute.
According to the coach, Clarke showed “great poise” in the box, bringing down an up-field pass from midfielder Thomas Gardner and placing the ball into the bottom right corner of the net passed an outstretched TWU goalkeeper and Langley’s own Sebastian Colyn.
Colyn finished the afternoon with two saves on the five shots he faced.
It was a complete effort at both ends of the pitch for UBC, which set the tone early on home pitch thanks to third-year forward Zach Verhoven’s impressive finish to open the scoring in the 15th minute.
From 12 yards out, Clarke feathered a pass to the left side of the box for Verhoven who curled the ball into the far-right corner and a 1-0 advantage.
TWU responded with some possession that led to one of their best chances of the night in the 37th minute when Leighton Johnson (Calgary) found room for himself to unleash a quick shot from 22 yards out that zipped just left of the UBC goal.
Minutes into the second half UBC connected on a nice scoring play to increase their lead to 2-0, as Clarke delivered a well-placed long-range cross along the ground from the right flank that was tapped home from close range by midfielder Sean Einarson in the 51st minute.
Down 2-0, the Spartans wouldn’t quit, carrying much of the play with a build-up that led to a couple of header chances in the box that went wide.
The visitors’ best chance of the second half came in the 63rd minute, when Jacob Low from Port Moody got on the end of a “beautiful through ball” but watched his attempt roll across the goalmouth before UBC cleared the danger.
The Spartans may have beat UBC 2-1 in their last regular season meeting in 2017, but it wasn’t to be this weekend. The T-Birds sealed the result on Sunday, with Clarke’s counter attack tally in the 80th.
The Spartans are back on the road next weekend when they travel to Prince George to play UNBC on Sept. 7 and 8.
“We’ll have to learn from this effort and get ready for next weekend,” Shearon said.
Record-breaking defeat against Victoria
In the meantime, the Trinity Western’s men’s team earned a program-record 7-1 win over Victoria at home on Friday.
The team scored the most goals ever in a Spartans regular season or playoff contest.
Domenic Poletto (Calgary) scored a hat-trick to lead TWU to their most dominant victory in program history, the coach said.
“Dom has been finishing like that in training all the time, so we were just waiting for him to do that in a game,” added Shearon, who since taking over as head coach in 2016 has yet to lose in the regular season against Victoria.
The Spartans have previously scored six goals twice, including last year’s 6-2 playoff victory over Calgary and a 6-1 win over Lethbridge in 2003.
Cody Fransen (Lynden, Wash.) added two goals, while Caleb Johnson (Calgary) and Austin Kasian (Calgary) tallied singles. The Vikes Niko Cristante scored the Vikes only goal.
Poletto opened the scoring in the 15th minute, volleying home an offering from atop the box. The marker sparked a goal barrage from the home side that saw TWU tally four goals in the first half.
Six minutes later, Fransen scored his first of the night before Johnson converted a penalty in the 26th minute.
Kasian, who finished the match with a goal and two assists, got in on the scoring in the 34th minute when his deflected shot made its way past Vikes goalkeeper Jas Lally.
Victoria’s Cristante responded for the visitors in the 35th minute with a solo effort in which he slipped through several Spartan defenders before beating TWU goalie Sebastian Colyn (Langley).
Poletto went back to work in the second half, scoring in the 55th and 63rd minute before Fransen rounded the scoring with his second of the contest in the 65th minute.
Matthew Roxburgh, also of Langley, had two assists for TWU, earning helpers on Fransen’s first and Polleto’s second.
Ultimately, the Spartans outshot Victoria 21-7 and had a 10-3 edge in shots on goal.
“We talked before the game about being free to play, going at them and taking our chances and the boys delivered that,” Shearon said.
“I think it was just having confidence and relaxing. A couple of days ago (against UBC Okanagan), we were pretty tense and didn’t take our chances. When we took a chance early on, with Dom’s goal, that gave us the freedom to just play.