Men’s Soccer (Canada West Conference play)
UBC Okanagan Heat (2-1-0) vs. University of Fraser Valley Cascades (0-3-0)
|Goals by period||1||2||Tot|
|UBC Okanagan Heat||1||1||2|
|UBC Okanagan||20:27||Jorden Leib (unassisted)|
|UFV||78:19||Colton O'Neill (1) (unassisted)|
|UBC Okanagan||90:00||Enzo Paal (Ryan Jerry)|
KELOWNA, B.C. - Second-year forward Enzo Paal was the pallbearer for the visiting Fraser Valley Cascades Friday night as the hometown UBC Okanagan Heat men’s soccer team upended their opponents 2-1 with a stunner by the sophomore in extra minutes.
“I wanted it really bad,” Paal said postgame, going on to describe the moments leading up to the goal that would break a tense 1-1 tie heading into extra minutes: “Dylan [Abbott, 4th year, Salmon Arm, BC] took a free kick, and then Ryan Jerry [1st year, Summerland, BC] made a run down the line and crossed it near the post, and I hit it right footed in.”
The entire match was an emotional rollercoaster for a Heat squad out to make a name for itself in Canada West, which now boasts a win for both its season opener (on the road in Prince George) and its home opener. No other school has won both their road and home openers in the modern era of Canada West soccer.*
“You wonder why I’m grey, eh?” Heat head coach Dante Zanatta joked with tongue in cheek postgame, speaking on the intensity of the game’s rollercoaster nature. “It’s the players,” he said simply, followed by several moments of silence to emphasize his point. “The players have bought in. They all did well. The players play—the staff can only do so much work … credit goes to them.”
Getting on the board first was the Heat’s fourth-year forward Jorden Leib (Bellingham, WA), who played hero last weekend and found himself an opportunity early in the first half to give his team a comfortable lead heading into the half.
A frustrating turn for the Heat came when the Fraser Valley’s four-year man Colton O’Neill received a big call that would give him a penalty kick, ultimately resulting in a 1-1 match with just over twenty minutes left.
Fifth-year Heat forward Austin Jones (Vernon, BC) would miss a brilliant opportunity to retake the lead during a three-on-two run. Excellent ball movement down the middle would eventually setup Jones for an easy put past the keeper on the left side, but Jones’ errant kick would send it wide of the post.
“I thought it was really good football,” Zanatta said of Jones’ attempt at net. “Combination plays, and everyone was going. That would have been a special goal.”
Second-year Christopher “Tate” Cuthill (Delta, BC) continues to start for the Heat, and secured a couple of key saves down the stretch of the match in advance of Paal’s goal to keep his team alive and in the hunt for the win. He would wrap up with six saves on the night.
Paal’s stunner of a goal moments before the end of the match moves the Heat to 2-1-0 for the season, while the Cascades slip to 0-3-0. The Cascades leave Kelowna for a date in Kamloops with the Thompson Rivers WolfPack at 7 p.m. tomorrow night.
Meanwhile, the Heat return to action tomorrow night as well to host the visiting Trinity Western Spartans, hoping to secure win number three and keep hold of their second place rank in the Pacific Division behind the UBC Thunderbirds. The teams kickoff at 7 p.m.
*NOTE: Modern era stretching back to the 2008-09 season when UFV joined Canada West soccer. In that time, both UNBC and Mount Royal have also joined, with Thompson Rivers coming in alongside the Heat this year. Technically, the Fraser Valley Cascades won their home opener and season opener, so to speak, as both were the same game. The Cascades would eventually go on to lose their first road game of the 08-09 season, making the Heat the only squad so far to win both their first home and road games in a debut season.