LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western’s Mitchell Urzinger (Langley) scored late and goalkeeper Andrew Hicks (Surrey, B.C.) earned the clean sheet as the Spartans men’s soccer team picked up a 1-0 win over UBC Okanagan in its home-opener Friday at Chase Office Field.


Holding possession for much of the contest, the Spartans finally broke through when Urzinger whipped a shot in from 20 yards out, beating Heat goalkeeper Mitch McCaw low to the left corner.


Hicks, who made his only save of the night with a highlight reel diving stop on Cole Kingzett late in the first half, nabbed his second consecutive shutout.


“I’m happy with the result, but I think we can always get better,” said Spartans coach Mike Shearon. “I thought we dictated the game and we did everything we wanted to do except put more goals in. We had a lot of quality chances tonight and as we continue on in the season, we’re going to need to take those and begin to put teams away a little earlier.


“But in the end, we’ve talked all year about having a will to win and going out and finishing games and I’m super proud of the guys for keeping going. We were on the front foot for the whole second half and you can’t ask for any more than that.”


The victory is the Spartans third in a row to start the season – something TWU hasn’t done since 2007, when it opened its conference campaign with six straight wins. That year, the Spartans went on to win the Canada West championship.


The loss drops the Heat to 1-1-1 on the season.


The Spartans carried the play early on, but were unable to find the final touch. TWU’s best chance of the first half came off the foot of first-year Jacob Low (Port Moody, B.C.), who sent in an offering from outside the box that grazed over the bar.


In the second half, it was more the same from the home side, but the Heat did well to stymie the Spartans attack.


UBCO had its best second half opportunity at goal in the 70th minute when a dangerous-looking Kingzett fired his attempt wide to the right of the net.


Urzinger then put the game on his foot, taking a pass from captain Elijah Adekugbe (Calgary), and slamming to the back of the net. Adekugbe’s assist gives him four points on the season, after opening the year with three goals in two games last weekend against UNBC.


“Everybody was working so hard in the middle of the field and moving well,” Urzinger said. “We had a pretty good game and finally we got the final touch and banged it in. At halftime, Mike (Shearon) said to keep pressing and get shots off and that’s what we did and we stuck to it.”


The Spartans had a 16-7 advantage in shots.


Heat keeper McCaw finished the game with four saves.


The Spartans are back on the pitch Saturday when they host Thompson Rivers (1-2) at 6:15 p.m. at Chase Office Field. The WolfPack lost 1-0 against Fraser Valley Friday.


GAME NOTES: Neither side was booked in the match…the Heat had seven fouls to TWU’s four.

Scott Harrigan
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