Men’s Soccer (Canada West Conference play)
UBC Okanagan Heat (3-1-0) vs. Trinity Western Spartans (1-2-1)
|Goals by period||1||2||Tot|
|UBC Okanagan Heat||1||1||2|
|Trinity Western||29:23||Kalem Scott (1) (Mitchell Rohla)|
|UBC Okanagan||45:00||Cole Kingzett (2) (Austin Jones)|
|UBC Okanagan||54:07||Jorden Leib (3) (Logan Abbott)|
KELOWNA, B.C. – Now owners of the hottest four-game start among Canada West debut squads since 2009, the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s soccer team ousted the visiting Trinity Western Spartans 2-1 for their third win of the season Saturday night.
The momentum play for the Heat was a full-team effort that began with fancy footwork from Friday night’s hero Enzo Paal (2nd year, Coldstream, BC), who worked his way between two defenders to the middle lane before dishing left to sophomore Logan Abbott (Salmon Arm, BC) on the left side, who then deftly set the plate of fourth-year forward Jorden Leib’s second goal of the year to secure what would be the game winning goal 54 minutes in.
For his brilliance on the hockey-assist during the game-winning play in addition to the rest of his offensive hustle and harassment, Paal was awarded the Heat Player of the Game honour.
All this followed an 0-1 hole to start the game before rookie Heat forward Cole Kingzett (Penticton, BC) scored his second of the season in the waning seconds of the first half to knot things up 1-1 heading into the break.
“Credit to the boys, they scored a really nice goal … and then hung on until the end,” said Heat head coach Dante Zanatta, referencing Leib’s finish at the net.
Zanatta was also impressed by his team’s resilience, demonstrated now in back-to-back games this weekend fighting back from deficits. “It’s something you always want to coach—when there’s adversity, the guys get back up, compete, and fight,” he said. “It showed the character to compete.”
It was a strong and coordinated defense that really iced the win for the Heat, though, as they continually stifled much of any offensive rhythm and opportunity from the Spartans, largely giving second-year Heat keeper Chris “Tate” Cuthill (Delta, BC) breathing space. Cuthill would be forced into making only two saves for the night.
“We spent a lot of time in preseason away defending,” Zanatta said, explaining the increased attention to detail his team has displayed this year. “We’ve got to be pretty good defensively … and still need to get better.”
Winning three of their first four games in Canada West has been an impressive feat for the Heat, who now possess the confidence to take on perennial powerhouses in the UBC Thunderbirds and Victoria Vikes next weekend.
You’re not going to do that every week,” Zanatta said, commenting on his squad’s excellent comeback plays to earn the two victories. “[But] it’s great to have a couple wins—no one can take those points away from us.”
The Heat are now 3-1-0 for the season, sitting just behind the UBC Thunderbirds in second place in the Pacific Division. Meanwhile, the Trinity Western Spartans fall to 1-2-1, and sit in third behind both UBC teams.
The Spartans have next weekend off from Canada West play, and will next play at home Friday, September 26 in a rematch with the Heat. Meanwhile, UBC Okanagan is back at home for their last back-to-back this season on the Nonis Sports Field to host the Victoria Vikes Friday night at 6 p.m., followed by the UBC Thunderbirds Saturday at 7 p.m.
HEAT NOTES: In sweeping their opening weekend on home turf the Heat men's soccer team has become the second team at UBC Okanagan to complete such a feat--the men's volleyball squad won their first two games of the season at home before downing the UBC Thunderbirds to win their first three.