Not an oil painting, but UBC and TWU earn a character point apiece in Langley

Spencer Schmidt

By Howard Tsumura - Vancouver Province - LINK to Story

LANGLEY — If it barely registered on the game’s artistic scale, Friday’s 1-1 draw between the CIS No. 2-ranked UBC Thunderbirds and the unranked, host Trinity Western Spartans continued to drive home the point that parity is in power in Canada West men’s soccer.

And no where is that point driven home clearer than in matches between the bitter corss-mainland rivals.

“Regardless of what it looked like, it was a 1-1 tie against the No. 2 team in the country,” said TWU head coach Pat Rohla, whose team took the lead against the flow of play in the 27th minute, as star transfer forward Spencer Schmidt nodded home a deep cross from defender James Farenhorst.

The Spartans (1-1-1) looked like they might have enough to hang on for a stunning upset, but UBC (2-0-1) continued to push the pace over the latter stages of the contest, and after getting a lot of quality looks inside the 18-yard box, the Birds salvaged a point from the contest when substitute Gregory Smith directed a blast from the wing into a host of Trinity defenders, the resulting deflection beating Spartans’ keeper Andrew Fink in the 78th minute.

“We didn’t create as many chances as we would have hoped for,” said UBC head coach Mike Mosher. “But I thought that we were the team on the front foot for the most part. But they are a good, hard-working, well-organized team. We were pretty sharp last week (in wins over Victoria and Fraser Valley), but tonight that final plass was not clicking quite as much in the final third. But you’re going to have those days.”

The own goal, however, saved the ‘Birds from leaving Rogers Park with the feeling that the soccer gods were against them. And Mosher felt the result was more of a statement about the quality of the conference than anything else.

“Whether it’s here or Sask atchewan or Alberta or whomever is coming to us,” said Mosher, “the nature of the league is that everyone is tough and you have to be prepared to bring it,. That is the sign of a good league when anyone can take points off anyone, and that can always be said of Canada West soccer.

Rohla has seen everything on a soccer field, and he was chalking up his team’s late gaffe to a little bad luck.

“One of our guys just got caught wrong footed,” he explained. “Those things happen. Barring a little bit of luck… if we can build off it, we’lll be better. If we think about what should have been, we can’t do that. We just have to move forward.”

UBC, which outshot TWU 9-4 on the match, also enjoyed the edge in scoring chances, especially in the second half. In the 54th minute, T-Bird Brandon Bonifacio put a blast just over the crossbar. In the 61st minute, Sean Haley’s 30-yard blast sailed just wide of the goal post. And in the 75th, sniper Gagan Dosanjh just couldn’t tee himself up in time to slot home a well placed pass inside the 18.

As well, in the 35th minute, UBC’s Tyson Keam drilled a blast off the crossbar on a free kick that initially appeared to have gone in. The last time the two teams met, in their final regular season encounter od 2010, Keam scored in added time to pull the ‘Birds into a 2-2 draw at Rogers Park.

From a Spartans’ perspective, Schmidt has continued to deliver, scoring his second conference goal in just his third game as a Spartan.

“Spencer doesn’t look like much, be he always does enough of everything,” said Rohla of the Fraser Valley transfer. “Plus he has the intangible of knowing when to do it. He didn;t get to unload a shot against these guys, but he is pretty impressive when he can hit a dead ball. UBC did a pretty good job on him, but he has a great soccer brain. Spencer is an unusual player and a special one and we need to put him in position to do what he does best, and that is score goals.”

The two teams, now 6-5-3 over the past five season, meet for the final time in the regular season on Oct. 15 at UBC’s Thunderbird Park.

*In Canada West women’s action, the No. 9-ranked Trinity Western women exploded for three second-half goals in a 4-1 win over the visiting Manitoba Bisons.

Melissa Mobilio, Daniela Gerig, Jennifer Castillo and Tessa Meyer all tallied for the winners, while Jenna Di Nunzio collected a pair of assists. The win evens the Spartans record at 1-1-0. TWU hosts Regina on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Cougars gave up a goal to Janine Frazao on Friday in a 1-0 loss at No. 5 UBC.

Last Updated: 2012-03-07
Author: Mark Janzen