thunder vs spartans

LANGLEY, British Columbia – The No. 2 Trinity Western women’s soccer team was held scoreless by visiting UBC and, for the first time in nearly two years, the Spartans suffered a home loss, as the Thunderbirds earned a 2-0 win Friday at Rogers Field.

Playing in front of 635 boisterous fans, the Spartans owned much of the possession in their home-opening contest, but UBC’s Amrit Berar was the hero of the night, scoring twice to lead the T-Birds to their second win in as many games to start the season. Capitalizing on an early Spartans error, UBC opened the scoring in the 6th minute and then tallied again in the 59th minute to seal the win. 

The loss snaps the Spartans 15-match home winning streak, including regular season and playoffs, which went all the way back to a 2-1 setback against Victoria on Sept. 13, 2013.

“(Losing at home) is something we’re not used to, but maybe we needed a bit of a wake-up call if I’m being honest,” said Spartans coach Graham Roxburgh. “I don’t think we had many players who would put their hands up and say, ‘I had a good game.’ I thought Vanessa Kovacs’ (North Delta, B.C.) work rate was probably our leadership. (But) Canada West is a tough conference and if we play like that, we’ll struggle against teams.”

The Spartans had a 12-8 edge in shots and a 6-1 advantage in corners, but Berar’s brace proved to be the difference.

UBC goalie Marlee Maracle started the game and earned the win with two saves to her credit. However, an injury to Maracle forced Olivia de Goede to enter the game in the 78thminute and she wrapped up the win without having to make a stop.

TWU goalie Ally Williamson (Langley) was playing in her first game with the Spartans after transferring from UBC in 2014 and she made two saves in the loss.

In the 6th minute, Berar capitalized on a turnover deep in the Spartans end and, from the middle of the box, buried a clear-cut chance to the low left corner.

“I think (that first goal) probably rattled us and you’re playing catch-up,” Roxburgh said. “We’re a young team and we probably had a little bit of anxiety with some players wondering where the goal was going to come from. We had some chances…but I think we were pretty naïve around the box. I think when players look at the video, they’ll realize ‘Wow, I made some poor decisions tonight.’”

TWU’s best opportunity of the first half came in stoppage time when a ball over the top nearly sprung Kovacs in alone. However Maracle crashed in a step ahead and cleared the ball in front of a sprinting Kovacs.

The T-Birds doubled their lead in the 59th minute. Taylor Shannik floated a perfect cross to the far post and Berar, racing in from the back side, volleyed it home.

Second half Spartans substitute Leanne Verhoeff (Calgary) had a brilliant chance in the 87th minute, but her crack from 15 yards out was stymied by a diving de Goede.

“You’re going to lose some games that are a close battle and a bit unlucky, but I think we did that to ourselves tonight,” “Credit to UBC. They scored two good goals and capitalized on some sloppy defending, but it was corporate defending to be honest. We weren’t very good tonight.”

The Spartans are back in action Saturday when they will host Victoria at 5 p.m.

UBC will play at Fraser Valley Saturday at 6:15 p.m.

Game Notes: The Spartans started three rookies, including Jenaya Robertson (Delta, B.C.), Rachel Hutchinson (Cloverdale, B.C.) and Quinn Hardstaff (Calgary)…UBC knocked off TWU 1-0 in its 2014 season finale…UBC’s Shannik and Shayla Chorney were each shown yellow cards, while TWU’s Krista Gommeringer (Calgary) also saw yellow.