Spartans down Thunderbirds to secure first seed

VANCOUVER, BC – A top of the Canada West table clash saw the UBC Thunderbirds suffer their first loss of the season against the Trinity Western Spartans, on a weekend where they only earned one point. Finishing off their home games on a bit of a sour note, the women’s soccer team will look to bounce back next week in Victoria. 

Here’s how the games went. 

Game 1: October 15th 

The first match took place under rainy skies, as UBC and TWU traded chances at the start. Soon though, the T-Birds found some of their stride and rhythm, gaining most of the possession and generating better opportunities. Ella Nuttall-Smith found herself with two cracks at goal, but were defended well by the Spartans. 

TWU managed to get a good spell of play moments later, with a flurry of chances that just didn’t find the back of the net. The game remained static until Katalin Tolnai had two glorious chances in the 41st, the Thunderbird unfortunately not finding any glory. The half came to a close, a tight physical affair between the two best teams in Canada West. 

The second half proved to be much of the same, a complex chess game between the two sides. UBC found themselves pushed back a bit, with whatever adjustments the Spartans made at the half working wonders. 

Indeed, it was the 76th minute when the deadlock was broken. TWU defender Tilly James got the ball around 20 yards out, before absolutely unleashing a strike that found its way past Emily Moore. The intensity ramped up a notch, with the game finishing with 23 fouls from both teams. 

Despite some late chances, it was Trinity Western that secured the 1-0 victory over the T-Birds. Dropping their first game of the year, the next day’s matchup would become critical. 

Game 2: October 16th

On a night in which the T-Birds honoured their graduating seniors, the two teams battled to a scoreless draw. The rain was pouring even harder than the day before, and the teams came out to battle even harder. 

The Spartans were the ones to get off to a strong start, as a Harvey strike forced Moore to make an excellent stop in the 4th minute. As the game progressed, UBC seized most of the better chances, though the TWU players proved to be extremely stingy. 

Danielle Steer was held off the scoresheet, though she managed to still create many chances for herself. She forced Spartan keeper Hannah Miller into an excellent save in the 22nd, while the ensuing created enough chaos in the 23rd for a TWU goalline clearance to save the day. 

The best chance of the game would come in the second half though, as Steer was sprung in alone bearing down on Miller. The 85th-minute strike was just tipped wide by the keeper, and unfortunately, that was how the game ended. 

A scoreless draw might feel anti-climatic, but the battle of the Canada West giants proved to have far-reaching consequences. With a draw and a loss, this means that the Spartans claim the first seed, and UBC can do no better than finish in 2nd. 

The Thunderbirds return for their final regular-season games in Victoria, taking on the Vikes next Friday and Saturday. Kickoff is set for 5 PM on Friday and 3:30 PM on Saturday.

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