LANGLEY, British Columbia
– This week the newly anointed No. 1 Trinity Western University men’s soccer team will welcome the unranked University of British Columbia Thunderbirds to Langley, B.C for a highly competitive and always entertaining match-up.

Both teams come into this weekend’s match on hot streaks. Last weekend the Spartans and the Thunderbirds, who are travel partners, both swept Fraser Valley and Victoria on the road. First place Trinity Western is still unbeaten at 4-0-2, while third place British Columbia is on a four game winning streak after effectively rebounding from dropping their first two matches of the season to improve to 4-2-0.

The Thunderbirds started last weekend by handing the University of Victoria their first loss, 2-1, in ten home straight home games. They followed it up with a solid 2-0 win over Fraser Valley University.

Leading the way for UBC are midfielder Tyson Keam (Langley, B.C.) who has one goal on 18 shots with 12 shots on goal and midfielder Devin Gunenc (North Vancouver, B.C.) who has two goals on 10 shots, with six on goal.

Backstopping the Thunderbirds are keepers Elliot Usher (Vancouver) and Nikolai and Matni (Brossard, Que.), who have split the goal keeping duties. Both have given up two goals and have recorded two wins and a loss, while Usher has two shutouts and Matni has one.

As a team UBC currently sits second in goals against with four and goals against average with 0.67 and is fourth in goals scored with seven (1.17 per game), They are first in shots allowed with 8.83 and shots on goal allowed with three. Offensively they are third in shots on goal with 6.33 and fourth in shots per game 12.67.

Last Saturday the Spartans earned a narrow 3-2 victory over the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford with a late game winning goal (88th) by Nathan Square-Briggs (Richmond, B.C.), then on Sunday the put together a solid effort to knock off the then No. 2 Vikes 3-0 in Victoria.

The Spartans, who are coming into the weekend after being voted No. 1 in the CIS for the first time since Sept. 25, 2007, are led by current Canada West Athlete of the Week David Rowse (St. Albert, Alta.) and last week’s Canada West Athlete of the Week Nathan Pogue (Seaside, Ore.). Rowse currently is tied for the top spot in Canada West in scoring with four goals on the season and goals per game average of 0.67. While Pogue leads Canada West in points with five and points per game with 0.83.

Trinity Western goalkeeping duties are split between Andrew Kowan (Richmond, B.C.) and Andrew Fink (Burnaby, B.C.). Kowan, who is 1-0-1, currently leads Canada West in save percentage with .929 and is second in goals against average with 0.50, while Fink , who is 2-0-1, is sixth in CW in goals against at 1.25 and save percentage with .792.

The Spartans offense leads Canada West in goals with 14 and goals per game with 2.33. Their defence is third in goals against average with one and fourth in goals allowed with six goals. They are sixth in shots with 69 and shots per game with 11.50 and third in shots on goal with 38 and shots on goal per game with 6.33, while their defence is fifth in shots allowed with 11.83 and sixth in shots on goal allowed with 6.50.

Over the past eight seasons the Spartans and Thunderbirds have met 19 times in CW conference and play-off action. The record is almost even with TWU holding the slight edge at 8-6-5. UBC had the better of the Spartans is TWU’s early years in the Canada West, but over the past two seasons the Spartans are 4-1-1.  Of their 19 matches, 14 have been either a tie or a one goal game.

The last time these two teams met was in Victoria in the Canada West semi-final where the underdog Spartans defeated the No. 2 Thunderbirds 2-1 (4-3) in a shootout to advance to the CIS championship. This weekend it is the Spartans who are the higher ranked team that has to fend off the underdog Thunderbirds.

If history has shown us anything between these two teams it is that rankings do not mean anything when the Thunderbirds and Spartans step on the pitch to battle.

The two teams will get thing going on Friday with a 7 p.m. kick-off on the TWU Langley, B.C. campus.


Last Updated: 2009-10-06
Author: Scott Stewart