Late goal sends Heat to first loss

Image Credit: Contributed/UBCO Athletics

OKANAGAN - It was a late goal by hometown midfielder Trinity Western’s Mitchell Urzinger that allowed the Spartans men’s soccer team to pick up a 1-0 win over UBC Okanagan in their home-opener Friday at Chase Office Field.

When Urzinger broke the scoreless match in the 83' it was the first time the Heat trailed in a Canada West conference match all season. The UBC Okanagan men could not get a marker by Spartan goalkeeper Andrew Hicks (Surrey, B.C.) the entire night as he earned the clean sheet.

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. TWU created their goal with a long ball from captain Elijah Adekugbe (Calgary) and then a cut inside and Urzinger hit the shot past McCaw, the first goal he has given up all season not on a PK. Mitch had another solid night finishing with four saves, a couple of the spectacular variety.

Adekugbe’s assist gives him four points on the season, after opening the year with three goals in two games last weekend against UNBC.

"Mitch had a couple of spots where they made good quality shots that he had to make good saves on," said head coach Dante Zanatta on his keeper and then explaining that he thought his defense played well throughout the match. "We held them for the vast majority of the match to not good quality shots."

Just before the end of the first half Heat forward Cole Kingzett forced Hicks to make a highlight reel diving stop for his only save of the night with for the Spartans's second consecutive shutout.

That was the only shot on goal but UBCO had other quality chances they just couldn't challenge the Spartan keeper.

"We are a young squad but I thought they competed extremely well. The difference in the game was that they had a player or two with a little bit more quality experience," remarked Zanatta.

UBCO had its best second half opportunity at goal in the 70th minute when a once again it was a dangerous-looking Kingzett but he fired his attempt wide to the right of the net. UBCO also had the ball in a dangerous spot at the top of the box in the 80th minute but couldn't get a decent look at the net. That chance ended when rookie forward Stephen Norrish's shot was wide to the right of the keeper.

"We had opportunities to get some shots and we didn’t get the shots off cause of our inexperience," explained Zanatta. "You can’t fault the players they are very committed and played well. We have to become a little bit better around the goal, but the players that played did a good job, [we] just have to get better going forward. Overall the work rate of the players was good and they were committed all match."

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

"Trinity Western is a good squad, everybody in BC is going to be a tough one this year. [Today's result] is unfortunate but now we have to regroup and see what kind of character we have for tomorrow," finished Zanatta as he looks ahead to the second match of their opening road trip.

The Heat will be back on the pitch on Saturday in another evening matchup when they play Fraser Valley at 8 p.m. in Abbotsford.

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 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.

The Heat trailed 16-7 in shots for the match.

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