Adekugbe scores twice in Spartans’ convincing win over UNBC

TWU completed a weekend sweep over the University of Northern BC in a battle of Canada West men’s soccer rivals.

The Trinity Western University men’s soccer team took all six points from its trip to Prince George, capping the weekend with a 2-0 win over UNBC Saturday at NCSSL Field.

Elijah Adekugbe scored both goals for the Spartans and TWU goalie Andrew Hicks earned the clean sheet to give the visitors their second win in as many days. The victory came on the heels of a 2-1 season-opening win Friday night.

Adekugbe tallied late in the first half on a brilliant strike that that tucked in off the crossbar. He doubled TWU’s lead in the 69th minute when he converted a penalty kick.

“Elijah had another fantastic game,” said Spartans coach Mike Shearon, who is now 2-0 as the TWU bench boss. “His first half goal was an individual piece of brilliance. I thought we struggled in the first half and UNBC was tough to break down, but in the second half we took it to them a lot more. In the end, getting six points up here is huge. UNBC is a very difficult team to play. I’m very proud of the boys. They worked hard and committed to the cause.”

Hicks made five saves, including a second half penalty kick stop on UNBC’s Francesco Bartolillo.

“Hicks was fantastic for us tonight,” Shearon said. “Elie Gindo was good again. Sebastian Wingfield and Mitchell Urzinger did a lot of running tonight and did really well and, of course, the back four did well to get the shutout.”

TWU was largely the better side throughout, outshooting UNBC 11-5, and held much of the game’s possession. In the first half, the Spartans had a pair of top drawer scoring opportunities from Vito Poletto (Calgary), but it took until just before the first half whistle before Adekugbe broke through with curling strike.

Both teams were reduced to 10 men early in the second half after a scuffle in the Timberwolves box saw both UNBC’s Tofa Fakunle and TWU’s Poletto shown straight red cards.

With the Spartans pushing for an insurance marker, Adekugbe came up with the cushion, scoring his third goal of the weekend with just over 20 minutes to play.

In the 85th minute, the Timberwolves had a chance from the penalty spot to make it a one-goal game, but Hicks made a perfect read on Bartolillo’s offering, diving to his left to make the save.

The Spartans return to Langley next weekend to host UBC Okanagan (Sept. 2) and Thompson Rivers (Sept. 3) at Chase Office Field. Both games will be streamed live at www.canadawest.tv.

FINAL WHISTLE: Connor Noftle returned to UNBC for the first time since transferring to TWU and started both matches at outside back. Rookie Caleb Johnson got the first start of his career at outside bac. The last time the Spartans travelled to Prince George, in 2014, they dropped both games against UNBC, losing 5-3 and 1-0. Last year, TWU hosted UNBC and earned back-to-back wins, 4-0 and 2-1, over the Timberwolves

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