LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western’s Vanessa Kovacs (North Delta, B.C.) scored twice in the last five minutes of the opening half to spark the No. 2 Spartans to a 3-1 win over Victoria Saturday at Rogers Field.
Kovacs scored in the 40th and 45th minutes before first-year Brooklyn Tidder (White Rock, B.C.) rounded out the Spartans goal output with her first in a TWU uniform in the 63rdminute. The Vikes Emma Greig scored in the 82nd minute to give Victoria its first of the season, but that was all the offence the visitors could muster.
“Vanessa was obviously special tonight,” said Spartans coach Graham Roxburgh. “Not just the fact that she scored two goals, but her work rate (was fantastic). Victoria has a couple of very dangerous forwards and we know anytime Emma Greig is on the ball something good can happen. I thought Vanessa did a good job of getting to double teams quickly and making (Emma’s) life a little harder.”
The victory puts the Spartans (1-1) in the win column for the first time this year and also saw TWU score its first two goals of the year. The Vikes (0-2-1) leave Langley having finally hit the scoreboard, after being shutout in back-to-back contest to start the season, but still in search of their first win.
Spartans keeper Ally Williamson (Langley) earned her first victory in a TWU uniform, making five saves on six shots. Victoria goalie Meaghan Storie stopped seven of the 10 shots she faced.
After the Spartans saw their 15-match home winning streak come to an end Friday, the Saturday’s win curbed what would have been a potentially historic two-game losing streak. Since entering the CIS in 2001, only once, in 2003, has TWU opened a season with consecutive losses.
“Obviously, this was a way better effort than last night (when TWU lost 2-0 to UBC),” Roxburgh said. “I thought we had good energy going forward. I thought we had a point to prove to ourselves. We were bitterly disappointed with how we played last night. So I was quite pleased.”
After near-misses by both Seina Kashima (Burnaby, B.C.) and Isabella Di Trocchio (Burnaby) early on in the opening stanza, Kovacs finally broke through with five minutes to spare in the first half. After initially putting a header off the crossbar, the fifth-year midfielder jumped right back up to head home the rebound.
Then, just before the halftime whistle, Kovacs got on the board again, when she once again got her head to a deft corner and found the back of the net.
“We have a goal that we want to score every other game off a set piece,” Kovacs said. “Today was the day to make that goal and (in) my mind, I (needed) to get one because I love scoring off my head. So I was just like, ‘risk and do it’ and I did it.”
Less than 20 minutes into the second half, Tidder put the game out of question when she struck from the left side of the box and found the low right corner.
“Brooklyn needs to be applauded for her effort today,” Roxburgh said. “She showed great poise to take that chance and get it on her left foot and slot it home. I’m really pleased for her.”
In the 83rd minute, the Vikes finally ended their season-long scoring drought when Greig capitalized on a TWU turnover, walked in alone and whipped an effort to the bottom left corner past Williamson.
“I thought Jenaya Robertson (Delta, B.C.) worked tirelessly in the midfield and gave us tons of energy,” Roxburgh said. “I also thought Leanne Verhoeff (Calgary) came on in the second half and was so tidy and smart on the ball.”
The Spartans will now prepare to travel to play UBC Okanagan Sept. 18 and Thompson Rivers Sept. 19.
Victoria will return home to host UNBC Sept. 18 and Alberta Sept. 19.
Game Notes: The Spartans have only lost one regular season game in each of the last four years…it took Victoria 263 minutes to score its first goal of the 2015 season….Kovacs was shown a yellow card in the 86th minute.