TRU takes victory over UBC on opening night

TRU will host the U Sports Men’s Soccer Championship in November and Friday’s result – a match-up triumph over the four-time defending conference champions – suggests it has the potential to be a contender

TRU WolfPack goaltender Jackson Gardner sabotaged the ball on the field, knowing the almighty boot could coincide with the final whistle that would send shockwaves through the Canada West soccer ranks.

The fourth-year shooter from Chilliwack could never have predicted what happened next.

Propelled by a strong wind, the ball bounced in a loop off the head of a UBC Thunderbirds defender, who headed it into his own net – the own goal sealing a 2-0 victory for the Pack Friday in front of about 500 fans. at Hillside Stadium.

TRU will host the U Sports Men’s Soccer Championship in November and Friday’s result – a triumph over the defending four-time conference champions – suggests it has the potential to be a contender.

“If there’s anything this team has, it’s the fight and that’s the battle,” Gardner told TRU Sports Information. “It’s something that Coach John [WolfPack head coach John Antulov] always tries to soak up our culture and I think we showed that today.

UBC played with the wind in the first half and decisively won the battle for territory and possession.

The WolfPack defense – led by Josh Banton, Jan Pirretas Glasmacher and Elijah Dos Santos – held for the most part and when they didn’t, Gardner (and his cadre) was there to outsmart the T-Birds.

Wind-powered TRU were able to attack with more consistency early in the second half and were rewarded in the 63rd minute when Marco Favaro swung in a delicious cross.

Ryan Lewis headed Favaro’s offering off the crossbar and it ricocheted, bounding across the goal line before the spin of the ball sent it back into the penalty area and into the keeper’s grip. UBC.

A few seconds later, the referee signals to signal a good goal.

The WolfPack held their ground after the go-ahead, defending feverishly, making substitutions and adopting time-wasting game strategies to milk the clock.

The chaos in the WolfPack’s 18-yard penalty area in the 82nd minute should probably have resulted in an equalizer.

Gardner did well to fend off a T-Birds cross, but his clearance fell on an opponent and the ball was hit hard, hitting the post before setting up beautifully for another UBC forward, who pumped up his point-blank effort over the bar. and half way to Knutsford.

“It was a total team effort tonight,” Antulov told TRU Sports Information. “We used 16, 17 guys and everyone came in and did the job they had to do, whether it was for five, 15 or 90 minutes. The plate and fought and that’s what you have to do. do against teams like this if you want to get results.”

TRU (1-0-0) hosts Victoria (0-1-0) on Saturday, a 7 p.m. start at Hillside Stadium.

The UBC Okanagan Heat (0-1-0) host the T-Birds (0-0-1) on Saturday in Kelowna.

MAGIC MEN?

Read about the Pack’s hopes of scoring more goals in 2022 here.