LANGLEY, B.C. – The No. 1-ranked UBC Thunderbirds scored a pair of second half goals to pull away for a 3-2 win over No. 9 Trinity Western Saturday at Chase Office Field.
Kristian Yli-Hietanen, who was the Canada West Men's First Star of the Week last weekend, scored twice for UBC (12-0-2), including what would turn out to be the game-winning goal in the 69th minute.
After Victory Shumbusho put the T-Birds head in the 55th minute, Yli-Hietanen extended UBC's lead to 3-1. The Spartans (8-2-4) pushed back, with Jacob Low (Port Moody, B.C.) scoring to make it a one-goal game in the 77th, but that was as close as TWU would get. Joel Waterman (Aldergrove, B.C.) had a chance to tie the game in the waning moments, but UBC goalie Jason Roberts came up with a critical save.
Domenic Poletto (Calgary) scored TWU's other goal in the 44th minute.
Both of TWU's losses this season have come against UBC, with the T-Birds beating the Spartans 3-0 in their second game of the year.
TWU finished the game with a 7-4 edge in shots on goal, but Roberts made five saves to earn the win. The Spartans Sebastian Colyn (Langley) faced four shots in the loss.
UBC opened the scoring in the eighth minute, with Yli-Hietanen taking a through ball from Manraj Bains in the middle of the park and blasting it past Colyn.
With TWU holding a slight edge in first-half possession, the home side broke through in the 44th minute when Poletto knocked the ball down to himself in the box and sent a left-footed strike to the low right corner.
At the break, TWU had a 3-2 edge in shots on goal and a 7-4 advantage in total shots.
UBC's Shumbusho put the visitors ahead just 10 minutes into the second half, whipping a shot past Colyn off the left wing.
Then, with just over 20 minutes to play, Yli-Hietanen tallied his 10th goal of the year, with Shumbusho providing the helper.
Low made the final 15 minutes interesting when he converted, with Pedro Paz Duarte (Brasilia, Brazil) picking up the assist.
TWU Head Coach Mike Shearon
"We played the No. 1 team in the country and we came up a bit short. They did some good things at the beginning and it took some time for us to figure it out, but I think in the end we were probably a bit unfortunate not to get a tie tonight. But, that's the way soccer goes.
"I think it was a matter of figuring out where their rotations were going. I mean we had a bit of a disjointed lineup, with Leighton (Johnson, Strathmore, Alta.) playing centre back and Vaggeli (Boucas, Langley) out, and a few different pieces in different spot. At the end, we put pressure on them with hard work from our young guys. Gordon Grice (Burnaby, B.C.) put in a shift for 45 minutes and Pedro came in and worked hard and got an assists. And J-Low did was J-Low has been doing."
• TWU had a 15-8 advantage in total shots.
• Poletto and Low are tied for the team-lead in goals, with seven apiece.
• Low has now scored in four of TWU's last five games.
• Prior to Saturday's game, the Spartans honoured graduating seniors Leighton Johnson (Calgary), Matthew Roxburgh (Langley), Austin Kasian (Calgary), Joel Waterman (Aldergrove, B.C.), Josh Hardy (Burnaby, B.C.) and Vito Poletto (Calgary).
• The last time TWU hosted UBC, the Spartans won 2-1 (Oct. 20).
TWU will play its final game of the regular season Wednesday at Thompson Rivers (3 p.m.). The game was rescheduled from Aug. 26 after smoke in Kamloops, B.C. forced the postponement.