EDMONTON – The Trinity Western Spartans captured their first Canada West men’s soccer medal since 2008, defeating the Calgary Dinos 4-1 in the conference bronze medal match, Sunday afternoon at Foote Field in Edmonton.
The win sees TWU snap a four-game losing skid in the bronze medal match (2009, 2011, 2012 and 2015). With the win, TWU also extends Calgary’s medal less drought, which extends back to a Canada West silver medal in 2010.
The Spartans men’s soccer program has now won seven conference medals since joining U Sports in 2001. The last time TWU won a Canada West bronze medal was in 2004.
This was also the second consecutive season these two sides have met in the Canada West playoffs, with TWU also earning a 1-0 win in last year’s quarter-final.
Joel Waterman (Aldergrove, B.C.), Vaggeli Boucas (Langley, B.C.) and Mitchell Urzinger (Langley) scored for TWU on Sunday, who were also the benefactor of a Calgary own goal in the 57th minute. Michael McKinnon scored the lone goal for the Dinos.
The Spartans opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, as Waterman was on the receiving end of a perfect cross from Vito Poletto (Calgary), tapping in the volley from five yards out.
TWU doubled its lead just five minutes later off the head of Boucas. Leighton Johnson’s (Calgary) corner kick was executed to perfection, finding the awaiting head of Boucas inside the Calgary box.
Calgary, who was playing with a large crop of regular starters on the bench, managed just four shots through the opening 45 minutes.
The Dinos didn’t help their own cause to start the second half, with an own goal giving TWU a three-goal cushion. In an attempt to play the ball back to his keeper, fifth-year defender Dominick Zator inadvertently played it over Colton Borle’s head and into his own net.
Things went from bad to worse from that point on, as Urzinger’s put a shot underneath the crossbar after a gorgeous play set up by Johnson to give TWU a commanding four-goal lead in the 60th minute.
McKinnon gave the Alberta team some life, as he capitalized on a turnover by Spartan keeper Andrew Hicks (Surrey, B.C.). But his tally in the 63rd minute was the only offence the Dinos could muster.
Hicks stopped the remaining pair of Calgary shots to seal the three-goal win.