Saturday, October 29th, 2016
Foote Field, Edmonton, AB
SCORING 1 2 FINAL UBC Okanagan (0-1-0) 0 0 0 Alberta (1-0-0) 0 1 1
EDMONTON, AB – The UBC Okanagan Heat men’s soccer team’s season is over after a 1-0 loss to the University of Alberta Golden Bears at Foote Field in Edmonton on Saturday afternoon.
The Alberta side were in control much of the game, holding a sizeable advantage in time of possession, as well as in shots. The Bears finished the game with 14 shots and seven shots on goal, while the Heat finished with three shots, none of which were on goal.
Heat keeper Mitch McCaw made six saves in the match, the most impressive of which was made against a penalty kick taken by Canada West leading scorer Ajeej Sarkaria. Golden Bears keeper Connor James recorded no saves on the day.
UBC Okanagan recorded the first shot of the game early, with Luke Warkentin redirecting a Nikhil Reddy corner kick in the 10th minute. The shot went wide, and the only other shot for the Heat in the half would come nearly 20 minutes later, when Spencer Young put a shot high over the crossbar in the 28th.
The first real scoring opportunity of the game came in the 29th minute, when Alberta was awarded a penalty kick after Tolu Esan was taken down just inside the Heat 18-yard box. The kick was taken by the Bears’ leading scorer Ajeej Sarkaria, who led all Canada West in the regular season with 19 goals and 25 points in 16 games. Sarkaria put his shot toward the bottom right corner of the Heat net, but Mitch McCaw made a diving save going to his left, keeping the game scoreless.
The first goal of the match came in the 65th minute. First year Golden Bears defender Noah Cunningham got his head on a corner kick from fifth year Bears defender Niko Saler and directed it into the near corner, giving Alberta the 1-0 lead.
First year Heat forward Zach Rachynski had an opportunity to tie the game up late, after controlling a ball off of a rebound from Bears keeper Connor James in the 81st minute. The ball bounced to Rachynski out of a scramble in the box, but he couldn’t get a full boot on it and put it well high and over the crossbar.
The loss for the Heat means the end of their 2016 season, while the Golden Bears will move on to play in the Canada West Final Six on November 3-6.
~ Grayson Leahy, UBC Okanagan Heat