Sept 7, 2014 (ISN) – UBC opens title defence with win over arch rivals
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds, the top-ranked team in the CIS and two-time
defending national champions, opened the 2014 Canada West men’s soccer season with a
3-1 victory over the host No. 9 Victoria Vikes at Centennial Stadium on Friday
UBC had a two-goal game from forward Niall
Cousens, while Navid
Mashinchi’s one-timer was credited
as the game winner. The T-Birds out-shot the Vikes 15-8 and 10 of their shots were
on target. Second-year goalkeeper Ante
Boskovic of Richmond, B.C., turned
aside three shots to earn the win.
“It was a great start to the season with several quality performances,” said UBC
head coach Mike Mosher. “I thought
Niall and Harry (Lakhan) were both excellent tonight. I thought it was a pretty
well-played game by both teams. The pace of the game was very quick with both teams
going after each other especially in that first half.”
Cousens opened the scoring in the 38th minute. The Vancouver native received a nifty
pass through traffic from Mashinchi and then spun on his reception to free himself
up with only Victoria goalie Noah Pawloski in his way. Cousens, the CIS national
championship tournament Most Valuable Player last season, made good on his chance
from just inside the box and gave UBC a 1-0 advantage, which was the scoreline at
The goal came four minutes after 2011 CIS Championship MVP Cam Hundal of Victoria
sailed a one-timer over the crossbar.
In the second half, the T-Birds found some comfort, increasing their lead to two on
a precise finish by Mashinchi. The 5-foot-9 midfielder from Port Moody, B.C., buried
a right-side cross from Milad
Mehrabi for the game winner.
Mehrabi nearly increased the lead with just over 20 minutes to go, after some
one-two passing at the top of the box freed him up for a shot, but it was blasted
just wide right of the net.
Against the flow of play, the Vikes managed to get on the board on an Alex Redpath
free kick. Rhyse Harnden managed to make good on the connection and his header got
the Vikes their first goal of the season and brought the Vikes to within a goal.
But just over a minute later, Cousens volleyed in the T-Birds’ third tally to seal
the win, which was UBC’s fifth straight over Victoria. It was also the team’s 12th
consecutive victory in Canada West regular season play.
“Full credit to Victoria for helping to create a fantastic atmosphere for the
players tonight with a large and noisy crowd,” said Mosher, whose team triumphed in
front 1,923 people. “I think everyone enjoyed that sort of atmosphere.”