LANGLEY, B.C. – Trinity Western's men's soccer team earned a 2-1 win over No. 6-ranked UBC, knocking off the Thunderbirds for the first since 2009 Friday at Chase Office Field.
Jacob Low (Port Moody, B.C.) scored what would stand as the game-winning goal in the 49th minute, helping the Spartans snap a 17-match winless skid (0-11-6) against UBC. The last time the Spartans knocked off the T-Birds was Oct. 2, 2009, when they beat UBC by a similar 2-1 count on home soil.
TWU's Joel Waterman (Aldergrove, B.C.) opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a brilliant strike from atop the box, before UBC's Rylan Sangha equalized in the 33rd minute.
After Low put TWU ahead, Spartans goalie Sebastian Colyn (Langley) did the rest to secure the win including a huge save late in the game on a scramble in the box. Colyn, who was recently named the U SPORTS Athlete of the Month for September, made three saves for the win.
With the victory, TWU (7-4-4) clinched a playoff spot and with a win Saturday can ensure home field advantage for the opening round of the post-season. UBC, who had already locked up first place in the Pacific Division, dropped to 9-4-1.
Playing in front of a boisterous Spartan Faithful crowd of 575, Waterman got the party started for the home side when he walked in from the right untouched and whipped a clear-cut chance to the bottom left corner.
Leighton Johnson (Strathmore, Alta.) nearly doubled TWU's lead in the 31st minute, but his shot from 15 yards out thumped off the crossbar.
Two minutes later, Sangha put the T-Birds back on even terms. After Zach Verhoven struck the crossbar, the ball fell to the feet of Sangha and he tapped it in.
Less than four minutes into the second half, Low, who had come on as a substation at the break, found the game-winner, taking a cross from Johnson and heading it past UBC goalie Chris Bush, who finished the night with five saves.
TWU Head Coach Mike Shearon
On the Match
"It was a big win for us tonight. It was something that we had to go and prove to ourselves that we can do. It's been a while since we've beaten UBC and it was something that had been one of our goals for the year. I'm super proud of the guys for the effort they put in and they're ability to close them down and play defensively to limit their chances."
On clinching a playoff spot
"Clinching the playoffs is huge. We want to make it to the post-season and we want to play for championships. We're excited about that, but we need to come out tomorrow on senior night and send the seniors out on a good note."
• TWU is the only team to have knocked off both of the top two currently ranked teams in Canada West, having also beat currently No. 2- ranked Alberta.
• Waterman now has five goals in seven games since returning from injury.
• Johnson has a team-high 10 points on the year, with five goals and five assists.
• The Spartans will honour their graduating seniors in a special pregame ceremony Saturday.
TWU will play its final game of the regular season Saturday when the Spartans host Victoria at 7:15 p.m. at Chase Office Field.