Sept 6,2014(ISN) – LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western’s Jessica King (Liverpool, England) sent a packed Rogers Field crowd into a frenzy with a last-second tally as she scored just before the game’s final whistle to complete a 2-1 comeback win over Fraser Valley Friday.
With stoppage time waning, Jenna Di Nunzio (North Delta, B.C.) broke free down the left wing and sent a perfectly place cross to the foot of King and the English striker made no mistake, slotting it home through a pair of defenders and past Cascades goalie Kayla Kim.
The referee blew her whistle seconds later and the No. 2 ranked Spartans snaked a season-opening win from what was dangerously close to a rare home setback.
“I was just trying to get into the box and I knew we only had couple of minutes left,” said King, who saw her goal send an impressive crowd of 750 home happy. “I saw Jenna get it and I heard Graham say ‘go at them,’ so I just waited for her to cross it and I managed to get a touch on it.”
Fraser Valley had held the lead throughout much of the contest, after Karalyn Delwo scored in the 28th minute, but with time ticking down, the Spartans Alessandra Oliverio (Calgary) equalised from the penalty spot in the 84th minute. That set up a frenetic final 10 minutes capped by King’s winner.
The two late goals maintained TWU’s undefeated home record against UFV. The Spartans have never lost to the Cascades in a regular season home contest, going 7-0-2 since their first Canada West meeting in 2006.
The Spartans (1-0) will now travel to play No. 7 Victoria Saturday at 5 p.m. Fraser Valley (0-1) will return home to host UBC Sunday.
“I thought we played well early on and I was pleased,” said Spartans coach Graham Roxburgh. “But we know Fraser Valley can play and is a very strong team in their tenacity and their aggressiveness. And then we gave away a poorly defended set piece and I thought that goal changed momentum and the play became pretty even.
“I thought maybe we were a bit fortunate to steal the full points, but I thought we deserved more than losing 1-0.”
Early in the first half, the Spartans had much of the possession, but it was Delwo opening the scoring when she capitalized on a Cascades corner. Delwo got her head to the corner from just a few yards out and beat TWU goalie Christina Oliverio (Calgary) to open the scoring.
A physical affair ensued as the teams battled back and forth for the better part of the next 50 minutes.
Despite the Spartans outshooting UFV 16-6 overall and 10-5 in shots on target, the visiting Cascades held on to their lead and looked on their way to a win, until the Spartans 84th minute penalty kick turned the tides.
First-year Seina Kashima (Burnaby, B.C.) sent a ball through into Krista Gommeringer (Calgary) in the box and TWU’s leading scorer from last year was knocked down inside the area to earn the penalty. Oliverio, who once scored in a shootout to help TWU to the CIS title in 2012, stepped up and slammed it home to the low left corner.
“I thought the best part of tonight’s game was that we showed character,” Roxburgh said. “I thought Ally Oliverio came on and contributed some excellent minutes. We dug deep tonight and there was some desperation defending. I thought Amy Gartke (Edmonton) was superb and Kat Chin (Calgary) did awesome and our centre backs are always awesome.”
In what was a physical affair between the rival schools, the Spartans earned a key win in what will no doubt be a whirlwind 12-game Canada West schedule.
“The game got chippy at times and I thought we weren’t as sharp and our decision-making wasn’t as good at times,” Roxburgh said. “But, then again, the goals were created because of ball-movement and linking and playing through lines. We generated two chances at the end because we played the way I asked us to play.”
GAME NOTES: The Spartans started three first-year players including Chin, Kashima and Gartke… Fraser Valley’s Klim made eight saves while the Spartans Oliverio stopped four Cascades shots on target…UFV’s Karlee Pederson and Megan Baird both were shown yellow cards while TWU’s Vanessa Kovacs (North Delta) also saw yellow.