September 25, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia – After dropping both of its games last weekend on the road, the Trinity Western men’s soccer team (1-5) returns to Langley this weekend with hopes of returning to the win column. The Spartans host Alberta Friday and Saskatchewan Saturday at Rogers Field.
Both games are at 7 p.m. and can be seen live at twu.canadawest.tv.
Last year, during the regular season, the Spartans beat Saskatchewan 1-0 in Saskatoon before losing to Alberta by a 2-1 count in Edmonton. In the playoffs, the Spartans lost to Alberta, falling 3-1 in overtime of the Canada West semifinal, and then lost to Saskatchewan 2-1 in the bronze medal match.
TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (1-5-0)
CIS ranking: NR
Canada West Standings: 5th (Pacific)
Last weekend: Victoria L, 4-0; UFV L, 4-2
Streak: 5 losses
2012 Canada West record: 9-1-4 (2nd, Pacific)
2012 Canada West tournament: 1-2, 4th
2012 CIS tournament: N/A
The Spartans enter this weekend looking to take advantage of a little home-cooking and get back on track. A tough schedule forced TWU to open the season with five of its first six games on the road and over that span, the Spartans generated just one victory.
However with No. 4 Alberta and a strong Saskatchewan team providing the opposition this weekend at Rogers Field, earning a win won’t come easy.
With a litany of injuries, TWU’s lineup has been, and will continue to be, a work in progress. Through just six games this year, the Spartans have had 23 players see the pitch and 17 different individuals take on starting roles. From goalie Evan Lowther to defender Jonah Reinhart to midfielder Brayden Gant to striker Dominic Reinold and seemingly everyone in between, the men’s soccer team has certainly done its part to fill the TWU therapy clinic.
However, with still eight games to go, the Spartans 2013 campaign is far from over and this weekend will be a chance for the youngsters to take a step forward to help turn the season around.
Through six contests, the Spartans have been led largely by Mitchell Rohla and Carlos del Aguila in the middle, Kalem Scott, Rhys Volkenant and Andrew Dobbie on the back end and the energetic Jarvis Ambaka up front. With Lowther out, second-year goalie Andrew Hicks will be the man guarding the net this weekend.
Offensively, del Aguila leads the team with two goals while four others have singles. Dobbie is the lone player on the Spartans to have played all 540 minutes this season. As a team, the Spartans have averaged 1.00 goals per game (tied for 7th in Canada West) while giving up 4.00 goals per game (11th in CW).
ALBERTA GOLDEN BEARS (4-0-1)
CIS ranking: No. 4
Canada West Standings: 1st (Prairie)
Last weekend: Lethbridge 2-0, W; 4-0, W
Streak: 4 wins
2012 Canada West record: 9-2-4 (1st, Prairie)
2012 Canada West tournament: 1-1, 2nd
2012 CIS tournament: 0-2, 7th (tied)
With an undefeated record through their first five games, the Golden Bears come to Langley riding a four-game winning streak that includes three clean sheets and a goal-scoring average of 3.00 goals per game.
With a pair of wins over both Calgary and Lethbridge, Alberta is once again amongst the top four in the CIS rankings after settling at No. 5 last week and No. 6 the previous week.
The defending Canada West silver medalists have proven themselves to once again be a team that will contend for the conference title. With the likes of CIS First Team All-Canadians goalie Jay Vetsch and striker Marcus Johnstone back in the fold, as well as Canada West all-stars defenders Scott Gilroy and Niko Saler, the latter of which was the CIS rookie of the year last season, the Bears will certainly provide plenty of challenges for TWU.
Through their first five Canada West matches, Alberta has averaged 2.60 goals per game (3rd in Canada West) and 16.6 shots per game (4th in CW). Defensively, the Bears have been as staunch as they come, giving up just three goals for a league-best 0.60 goals against average. Along the way, Alberta has only given up 15 total shots on target.
Individually, Johnstone has led the team with four goals on the year (tied for 2nd in CW) while both CJ Gilroy and Jermele Campbell have contributed two goals each. Mohamed Teliani is tied for fourth in the conference with a team-high three assists.
In net, Vetsch, who has started all five games, has a sparkling 0.62 goals against average and a .800 save percentage.
SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES (4-2-0)
CIS ranking: NR
Canada West Standings: 2nd (Prairie)
Last weekend: Calgary 1-0, W; 1-0 L
Streak: 1 loss
2012 Canada West record: 6-6-3 (3rd, Prairie)
2012 Canada West tournament: 2-1, 3rd
2012 CIS tournament: N/A
After starting the year with three straight wins in Canada West league play, the Huskies have just one victory in their last three games and just two goals for to show for their efforts. This weekend, they’ll no doubt be hungry to return to their winning ways against a TWU team that has had its share of struggles early on.
Saskatchewan will come to Rogers Field after a date with No. 2 UBC for the back end of a road trip that, in recent years, hasn’t been all too kind to the Huskies. In their last three meetings at TWU, the Spartans have won all three by a combined score of 12-3. The last time Saskatchewan won at Rogers Field was in 2006, when the Huskies earned a 2-1 result. Saskatchewan did beat TWU 1-0 on a 2008 road trip, but the game was played in Chilliwack, B.C.
Through six games, Saskatchewan leads the conference in shots with 19.2 per game and is fourth in goals with 2.00 per outing. The Huskies have also been rather stingy defensively, allowing just four goals this year, including three shutouts, for a 0.67 goals against average, which is good for second best in Canada West.
Leading the Huskies shooting attack has been Brett Levis, who has averaged a league-leading 5.50 shots per game. Luigi Bekwayo isn’t far behind as he is sixth in the conference with 3.17 per outing.
Meanwhile, former Spartan Garrett Peters, who spent two years in Langley and now has returned to the CIS pitch this year after redshirting last season, is tied for the team lead in points with four, including one goal and three assists. Bekwayo also has four points, as he’s earned three goals, which has him tied with Levins for the team lead, and one assist.