It took seven years for them to do it, but the Trinity Western University’s men’s soccer team finally posted a victory over the Victoria Vikes.
The Spartans edged the Vikes 2-1 Saturday at Centennial Stadium in Victoria, marking the first TWU victory over UVic since a 3-0 victory on Sept. 27, 2009.
Langley’s Elie Gindo scored the game winner in the 76th minute, as the nationally No. 8-ranked Spartans improved to 5-1 on the season.
The loss drops the Vikes to 1-3 in Canada West play.
In between their victories over the Vikes, the Spartans had gone 0-6 versus Victoria.
“We had a great response tonight. The boys came out flying and we were all over them in the first half. And we were a bit unlucky to not be ahead going into the break,” TWU head coach Mike Shearon said. “The second half was more even and we had to continue to work for everything. Which is what we talked about before the game. When you have a setback you half to work super hard to get your ground back.”
The Spartans came out dominant, looking every bit as strong as their number eight ranking in the nation suggested they would. They were able to control the game by pressing high up the field and maintaining possession of the ball.
It didn’t take the Spartans long to turn that pressure into a goal.
Six minutes into the game, TWU’s third year midfielder Elijah Adekugbe beat his defender and played a dangerous ball into the box that fifth year defender Taylor Johnson easily directed into the net.
For the next 20 minutes the game turned into the Noah Pawlowski show.
The fifth-year goalkeeper for the Vikes turned himself into a brick wall, stopping everything that came near his net and ending the first half with nine saves on his way to compiling 13 saves in the game.
TWU keeper fifth year keeper Andrew Hicks was solid for the Spartans when challenged and finished the night with five saves to earn the win.
The hard work of Pawlowski and his defence paid off when the Vikes were able to find a way to tie up the game in the 26th minute.
A rare foray forward for the Vikes resulted in a free kick from a dangerous position. Paulo Dait delivered a perfect ball into the box and a Spartans defender was forced to pull down his man, resulting in a penalty kick for the Vikes.
It was Dait that stepped up to the spot to take the kick. His shot to the left was well saved by Hicks in net for the Spartans. Fortunately for the Vikes, the rebound fell right to Dait and he was able to score on the second try, levelling the game at 1-1.
The second half was a more evenly played match.
The Vikes’ best scoring chance of the half came when Michael Baart and Xavier Araujo worked a counter-attack perfectly in the 65th minute, and only a desperation save from Hicks stopped the Vikes from taking the lead.
Unfortunately for the Vikes, Pawlowski wasn’t able to stop everything.
In the 76th minute the Spartans earned themselves a corner kick by Adekugbe.
Adekugbe then played the ball to the top of the box to third year midfielder Joel Waterman, who then swung the ball into the box where fourth-year midfielder Elie Gindo headed the ball into the left side of the net to give the Spartans the 2-1 lead.
The Vikes continued to battle throughout the last ten minutes, nearly equalizing off of a corner kick of their own in the last minute of play.
With the loss the Vikes won one game and lost one game during the first two matches of their current four game home stand.
The Spartans finish the weekend road trip 1-1 after falling 4-0 to UBC Friday night in Vancouver.
“I’m super proud of the boys tonight,” Shearon said. “Everyone worked excellently from the back line and Hicks making a PK save and was unlucky on the rebound all the way to the front where Elie Gindo was beast out there tonight, Elijah and Joel were great. And the two rookies, Low and Johnson were two of the better players on the field, which shows that we have good depth on our team.
He added, “The boys are together are excited and we continue to work for everything that we get and it is good to leave the island with three points.”
FINAL WHISTLE: TWU is 13-15-3 lifetime in CW conference play against Victoria… Spartans are 5-11 when playing in Victoria… After holding a 16-4 edge in shots in the first half, TWU finished the night outshooting Victoria 24-8…the Spartans had nine corner kicks to the Vikes four…