EDMONTON – Trinity Western's men's soccer team earned a monumental victory Saturday, beating No. 1-ranked Alberta 2-0 Saturday at Foote Field.
Domenic Poletto (Calgary) and Joel Waterman (Aldergrove, B.C.) scored for the unranked Spartans and first-year goalkeeper Sebastian Colyn (Langley, B.C.) made several key stops to pick up the clean sheet and lift TWU (4-2-3) to a mammoth win.
With the victory, the Spartans not only handed the defending Canada West and U SPORTS champion Golden Bears (5-1-1) their first defeat of the season, but it also marked TWU's first win over Alberta in nearly six years. The Spartans last victory over the Bears was Sept. 24, 2011, when they earned a 1-0 win in Edmonton.
Poletto opened the scoring in the 36th minute, while Waterman, who was playing in his first game of the season after missing TWU's first eight outings with an injury, doubled the Spartans lead in the 79th minute.
Waterman's brilliant tally put an exclamation point on a strong afternoon for TWU, as he capped a nifty passing play between several Spartans with a chip past Alberta goalie Connor James.
Colyn finished the contest with six saves, while James stopped four of the six shots he faced.
With the game still scoreless, Colyn came up with a huge save in the 30th minute, stopping Alberta's leading scorer Ajeej Sarkaria from point blank range inside the box. Colyn's save was the first of three he made in the span of less than two minutes to keep Alberta at bay.
Poletto than broke through offensively with his second goal of the season, converting a pass from captain Elie Gindo (Langley, B.C.) in the 36th minute. Gindo found his way to a ball in the box and slipped it back to Polleto at the top of the area, who struck it to the low left corner.
The Bears nearly tied it up in the 67th minute with a blast by Easton Ongaro, but Colyn was up to the task, making a stop on the low drive. Colyn followed that up with another one-on-one save in the 70th minute on a shot from just a few yards out off the foot of Nikko Cuglietta.
However, with Alberta pushing for the equalizer, the Spartans countered and Waterman gave TWU a key insurance marker. A sparking a play that saw six different touches in quick succession, Waterman put the finishing touches on his first of the year, beating James from just a few yards out.
Alberta finished with a slim 16-15 edge in total shots.
TWU Head Coach Mike Shearon
On the Match
"It was a great game today. I'm proud of the guys today. They put in a full 90-minute performance. Everything, for the most part, went our way in this game and the guys' work ethic and togetherness and commitment to the cause was fantastic. We managed to keep some good possession and create a bunch of scoring opportunities. (Colyn) came up big on a number of shots and kept us in the game and Poletto's goal was timely and well-taken. After coming out strong in the second half, we gave up a little bit of possession, but overall, we did a great job."
On Waterman's Goal
"Joel Waterman's goal was something that comes from the training pitch, with lots of one-touches and it looked like he hadn't missed a beat at all."
• TWU's Joel Waterman (Aldergrove, B.C.) entered the contest in the 44th minute.
• The Spartans bounced back from a 1-0 loss last Saturday against Saskatchewan.
• The Bears lost just one game last year, as they posted a record of 19-1-2, including regular season and playoffs.
• The last time the Spartans and Bears met was in last year's Canada West semifinal, when Alberta won 1-0 in overtime.
• Including both the regular season and playoffs, TWU had been winless (0-4-1) in it last five games against Alberta.
The Spartans continue their Alberta weekend road trip with a contest against Calgary Sunday at 1:15 p.m. (PT).