Spartan Men Rally in Second Half to Beat Fraser Valley

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September 16, 2012, LANGLEY, British Columbia – With a pair of second half goals from Jarvis Ambaka (Maragoli, Kenya), the Trinity Western men’s soccer team rallied from a one-goal halftime deficit to beat Fraser Valley 2-1 at Rogers Field Saturday.

With goals from Ambaka in the 65th and 84th minutes – both of which came off point-blank shots from the right side of the 18-yard box – the Spartans earned the win to remain undefeated through four games in Canada West league play.

The Cascades Koby Byrne (Abbotsford, B.C.) opened the scoring in the 35th minute with a wicked shot from 25 yards out that beat Spartans goalie Evan Lowther (Surrey, B.C) but, for the second night in a row, Fraser Valley was unable to hang on to a lead. The Cascades had 1-0 and 2-1 leads over UBC Friday night but lost 4-2.

The win improves Trinity Western’s record to 3-0-1 and, with the win over Victoria Friday, gives the Spartans an all-important six-point weekend, something they were unable to do at home all last season. The loss drops Fraser Valley to 0-2-0 on the season.

“My first thought on the game is Jarvis Ambaka and my second thought is Jarvis Ambaka,” said Spartans coach Pat Rohla with a smile. “But overall that game shows a lot of heart and a lot of courage and a little poise under pressure. That was a real gut-check second half. We knew it was going to be about will and it was going to be about battle and heart and courage. So I’m happy for the guys.

“We needed a game like this where we had to come back from a little adversity. We did that and we showed what we’re made of. We showed that the guys believe in each other and they believe in themselves.”

The Spartans came out of the gate with an energetic start as they filled the Cascades territory with early pressure and earned five corner kicks in the first 17 minutes alone. But for Trinity Western’s effort, nothing came about on the scoreboard.

After weathering the storm that was the opening 20 minutes, Fraser Valley pushed back and in the 35th minute took a 1-0 lead on a brilliant strike by Byrne. The Cascades midfielder took a pass from Sasa Plavsic (Coquitlam, B.C.) and from the centre of the park blasted a shot to the top left corner that was beyond the reach of Lowther.

With a 1-0 halftime lead, the Cascades came out of the locker room willing to sit on its one-goal edge for the next 45 minutes.

The Spartans, and more specifically Ambaka, had other plans.

In the 65th minute, Ambaka took a pass from Andrew Phillips (Lake Errock, B.C.) and, wheeling down the right side, beat his defender and slid a quick low shot past Cascades keeper Mark Village (Abbotsford, B.C.).

Then, in the 84th minute Ambaka got a chance from a similar spot and once again buried, this time his shot went off the crossbar and in, to give the Spartans all they would need to secure the win.

Fraser Valley pressed hard in the dying minutes but the closest they came was a Colton O’Neill attempt from 20 yards that curled just above the bar.

Lowther made four saves in the win while Village was good on five of seven shots in the loss.

The Spartans will now play their next six games on the road, starting with a weekend at UNBC Sept. 22-23. Fraser Valley will also head out on the road as they play Lethbridge Sept. 22 and Calgary Sept. 23.

Notes – TWU had 19 total shots to UFV’s nine…TWU had seven shots on goal to UFV’s five…TWU’s Cody Strelau (Langley) was shown a yellow card in the 46th minute while UFV’s Ryan Liddiard (Kamloops, B.C.) saw yellow in the 41st minute.

Christian J. Stewart
Christian is a professional photographer and media professional based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Currently working as the Assistant General Manager for Victoria HarbourCats Baseball Club, a Senior Contributing Editor and photographer at Independent Sports News (ISN) and operating his own freelance photography and media/pr company.