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Spartans pull away, top gritty TWolves 5-2

The Trinity Western Spartans showed why they’re the top-ranked team in U SPORTS, topping the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves 5-2 on Friday, October 4th, in Prince George, B.C.

Despite a gritty, tenacious effort from a TWolves side playing at home, the Spartans used three second-half goals to stretch their record to a conference-best 8-0-1.


“I think the Timberwolves gave us a hard-fought battle. They made us work for that win,” said TWU’s Kristen Sakaki, postgame. “As a team we stayed in the battle, stayed in the fight, and ultimately came through with our goals. We are thankful, for sure.”

Trinity Western struck just nine minutes into the game, when Kathryn Harvey converted a Rachel Hutchinson cross into an open net. The goal was her fifth of the season.


The TWolves responded later in the half, when Jenna Wild and Sofia Jones played give-and-go, springing the San Francisco native, who beat goalkeeper Hannah Miller from ten yards out. The goal was the third of the season for the speedy third-year.

UNBC looked to be heading to halftime with a 1-1 score, until TWU was awarded a free kick from the top of the box. 2018 Canada West 2nd Team All-Star Jenaya Robertson made no mistake, bending it around the wall and past an outstretched Doyle for her sixth of the campaign.

“It’s going to be an emotional day, on Sunday,” said Payne, postgame. “We are going to play UFV, and bring this momentum. We hope to finish this, compete hard, and get the results that we want.”

“We have been practicing those a lot, so it was nice to see those go in the back of the net,” said Robertson. “We have had those chances a lot, but to see those get placed where they need to be put is awesome.”

In the second half, the ultra-athletic Spartans continued to hem UNBC in with their speed, creating a number of chances that Doyle did well to turn away. However, in the 60th minute, the Spartans were rewarded after some sustained pressure. After some scrambly chances in the box, the ball came out to Kristen Sakaki who hammered it with her left foot, finding mesh for her first goal of the season.


“It has been a drought for me,” said Sakaki. “The last two years I haven’t scored, so I was really happy to finally get that goal.”

“Madi did amazing. They were pretty relentless with their shots,” said the Timberwolves’ Kaya Oro Martin. “They are incredibly athletic, but they’re also really good soccer players. They know how to take advantage of opportunities around the box


The TWolves showed great resolve after going down three goals, and just four minutes after the Sakaki marker, UNBC’s Canada West All-Star Paige Payne got on the board. The forward, who was playing defense because of injuries, weaved her way to the 28-yard mark and crushed it top corner, beating a helpless Miller. The goal delighted to 200 in attendance, and drew the game to within two.

That’s as close as the Timberwolves would come, however, and Rachel Hutchinson put the exclamation mark on the TWU victory, scoring on a free kick from 30 yards out, on a ball that fooled Doyle.


When the final whistle blew, shots on goal favoured the visitors 12-5. TWU improved to 8-0-1 with the victory, while the defeat dropped the Timberwolves Canada West record to an even 3-3-3.

“They have some amazing players. Their goals were top class,” said UNBC’s Payne. “Kudos to them, those are hard ones for any goalie to save. We went through practice this week and gave it our all. Despite the score, we kept pushing and played great soccer.”


The Spartans will travel east to clash with the Calgary Dinos on Sunday, in a battle of the only two undefeated teams in the conference, while the Timberwolves play host to the Fraser Valley Cascades, in their final home game of the regular season.

“It’s a huge game coming up, and we are really excited,” said Robertson. “It will be a great game to test ourselves, see where we’re at, and keep growing and building. That’s really what it’s about right now in the season.”

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