UBC men’s soccer was held to a loss and a draw by the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) Timberwolves in a weekend doubleheader at Thunderbird Stadium.
In Friday's opener, UBC created several early scoring chances, the best being a Victory Shumbusho header that was blocked on the goalline by UNBC. The T-Birds could not capitalize on their fast start and would fall behind in the 37th minute. UNBC striker Michael Henman, the Canada West top scorer, fired a speculative shot from 25 yards that beat UBC goalkeeper Axel Thulin Lennselius at his near post. The Timberwolves would grab a second in the 41st from the penalty spot by Cody Gysbers after Henman was bundled over in the box by Eric Lajeunesse.
UBC would continue to dominate both possession and shot totals in the second half, and pulled a goal back in the 70th minute. Shumbusho pounced on a poorly cleared corner to rifle one in. Despite continuing to apply pressure on the UNBC net, the T-Birds were unable to grab an equalizer, resulting in a 2–1 final score for UNBC.
With both teams making several changes in the lineup for Saturday’s match, attacking chemistry was perhaps lacking in the first half. The best chance of the half fell to UBC’s Markus Kaiser, whose well-hit volley forced UNBC goalkeeper Daniel Zadravec into a flying save.
In the second half, UNBC thought they had taken the lead in the 64th minute. A through ball found right winger Gregor Smith, whose shot was partially saved by Lennselius but continued to trickle goalwards. After a goalmouth scramble and last-ditch save on the line from Lennselius, the referee waved play on, and the game remained scoreless.
From then on, it was all T-Birds as they attempted to break down a stubborn UNBC side, who was content sitting deep and soaking up pressure. Logan Chung, a standout performer for UBC in both matches, controlled the T-Birds's attack and had a well-hit strike from 30 yards that forced Zadravec into a good save.
Despite sustained pressure in the last twenty minutes, the T-Birds were unable to find a goal needed for the three points and had to settle for a 0–0 final.
“[UNBC] came in here and played well this weekend … they defended well. They defended in numbers,” said head coach Mike Mosher when asked about his side’s difficulties converting shots to goals. “Maybe some of our shots we can do better with it … that’s something we need to look at in the week going ahead.”
Through the two matches, the T-Birds outshot UNBC 42–13, but it was the Timberwolves who came away with a better result from the doubleheader.
Still firmly in a playoff spot with a record of 5–3–1, the T-Birds's next two matches are a home-and-home series with the University of Victoria Vikes, away on October 6 and at home on October 8.