September 27, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s soccer team (1-5-1) played to a well-deserved 0-0 draw with No. 4 ranked Alberta (4-0-2) Friday at Rogers Field.
With TWU goalie Andrew Hicks (Surrey, B.C.) coming up with a number of timely saves, the Spartans, who have been riddled with injuries this season, were rewarded with a tie against one of the top teams in the country. Alberta, who was forced to play a man down after Jermele Campbell was given a red card in the 66th minute, held off a surging Spartans side just long enough to secure the draw.
The Golden Bears, who remains unbeaten on the season, had four shots on target to the Spartans three, but it was TWU with a 15-13 edge in total shots as the Spartans strikers sprayed a variety of in-close attempts just over or wide of the target.
Alberta goalie Jay Vetsch improved his goals against average to a conference-best 0.52 with his third 90-minute shutout of the season while Hicks earned TWU’s first clean sheet of the year.
“We’re pleased but not satisfied,” said Spartans coach Pat Rohla. “We’re still a long ways from being healthy but we remain in the hunt. Unfortunately, we didn’t put the biscuit in the basket like we could have tonight. We had a lot of chances but the good news is we put ourselves in positions to get those opportunities. I think we put together a full 90-minute game and I think we’re very unlucky not to have scored at least two or three.
“Overall, we have lots to look forward to and we have hope. And when we have hope, we have a chance.”
The first half saw TWU get off to a quick start and apply early pressure but it wasn’t long before the course of play balanced, with the two teams eventually going back and forth.
Both teams had two shots on target, in the first 45 minutes, albeit with Alberta generating more chances, but both Vetsch and Hicks did well to keep the contest scoreless.
In the second half, the field tilted the Spartans way, thanks in part to Campbell’s sending off, but from in close TWU was unable to hit the net. Trinity Western’s Jerome Lou (Surrey) and Nathaniel Turner (Langley) combined for eight shots, but couldn’t to find the target.
Meanwhile, Alberta’s Marcus Johnstone, who is tied for second in Canada West with four goals, had five total shots and two on net, but he couldn’t convert.
Both teams are back in action Saturday, with the Spartans hosting Saskatchewan at 7 p.m. and Alberta heading to UBC to take on the Thunderbirds at 7:30 p.m.
NOTES: TWU had four players shown yellow cards, including Mitchell Rohla (Langley), Jarvis Ambaka (Maragoli, Kenya), Nico Verseveldt (Burnaby, B.C.) and Turner…Alberta’s Mohamed Teliani also was given a yellow card…TWU saw the return of both captain Brayden Gant (Maple Ridge, B.C.) and defender Taylor Johnson (Strathmore, Alta.) from injuries.