LANGLEY, British Columbia – The No. 5 Spartans completed a season sweep of Victoria as Trinity Western earned a 2-1 win over the Vikes Friday at Chase Office Field.
TWU’s Elie Gindo (Langley) was the hero of the night as he scored the game-winner in the 63rd minute, heading home a cross that beat Victoria goalie Noah Pawlowski.
The go-ahead marker came after the Spartans Joel Waterman (Aldergrove, B.C.) had equalised with his first of the season, converting a Vaggeli Boucas (Langley) pass, in first half stoppage time.
The Vikes Mackenzie Rigg opened the scoring in the 25th minute.
“We made it difficult on ourselves again,” said Spartans coach Mike Shearon, whose team beat the Vikes 2-1 in Victoria earlier this year. “I thought UVic played a good first half, which is something our boys are going to face the rest of the way out. Other teams are going to cut things out and we have to find a way to persevere and find another way around them.
“I thought in the second half we responded to the changes we tried to make at halftime and the boys went out and put on a good performance. The guys that came on did their work and did everything we asked of them. In the end, it’s another three points. It’s another win and it’s time to move on to tomorrow night.”
The win pushes the Spartans to 8-2-1 on the season and keeps them atop the Pacific Division. TWU will now prepare for an all-important meeting with No. 9 UBC Saturday at 7:15 p.m. at Chase Office Field. The rivalry game will set the table for the race for first in the division as the Thunderbirds sit just three points behind TWU in the standings.
Spartans goalie Andrew Hicks (Surrey, B.C.) made one save in the win, while Pawlowski stopped seven of the nine TWU shots that hit the target.
Despite early possession numbers favouring the Spartans, Rigg got Victoria on the board first when he put the finishing touches on an Austin Schneebeli free kick. From 35 yards out, Schneebeli sent the ball into the box and Rigg rose above the crowd to head the ball past TWU goalie Hicks.
However, with continued pressure, TWU eventually broke through with Waterman and Gindo helping the Spartans nab their eighth win of the season.
Just before the halftime whistle, Waterman took a nifty pass from Boucas and whipped a shot past Pawlowski.
With TWU pushing for the go-ahead goal, Gindo came through, getting his header just past Pawlowski and across the line.
In the 87th minute, the Vikes Isaac Koch had a long-range looping offering that evaded Hicks, but just scraped over the bar.
While TWU will host UBC Saturday night, Victoria will move on to play at Fraser Valley Saturday at 8 p.m.
Game Notes: TWU had a 20-5 edge in shots…TWU’s Jacob Low (Port Moody, B.C.) and Elijah Adekugbe (Calgary) each were shown yellow cards, as was Victoria’s Paulo Dait and Adam Ravenhilll…TWU has the second best record in Canada West, behind only Alberta (9-0-1).