Kelowna, BC - Although the first every UBCO Homecoming created a great atmosphere for the match, the Heat men's soccer team were in for a tough task on Saturday afternoon, eventually falling to the #1 ranked team and their sister-school in the UBC Thunderbirds by a 2-0 scoreline.
The match would also feature as part of the first annual UBC Okanagan Homecoming event, sponsored by RBC.
The Thunderbirds would take the lead in the first half when reigning Canada West rookie of the year Victory Shumbusho fired home a right footed shot off the inside post that found the back of the net. Riley Pang would net the second goal of the match just after halftime, heading in a free-kick to the bottom left corner.
Keeper Nicholas Reitsma would do his best to keep UBCO in the match, as the netminder saved eight of the 10 shots he faced on the afternoon.
The Thunderbirds had already clinched the top seed in the Pacific Division prior to the match, while the Heat were previously eliminated from postseason contention.
One of the biggest scoring opportunities came in on the 15th minute for the Heat, when midfielder Nikhil Reddy seized a turnover pass outside the box, creating a three on two opportunity. He passed the ball to Corbin Beauchemin for a strike in the penalty area which sailed just wide.
The Thunderbirds would take the early advantage thanks to a goal from Victory Shumbusho off a little half-volley that bounce off the post and went it.
The Thunderbirds finished off the first half with six shot attempts compared to just two for the hometown Heat as they would take a 1-0 lead.
As the game heated up in the second half, the Thunderbirds and the Heat put on a more physical competition by combining for 21 fouls, including two yellows cards on Thunderbirds players Nick Fussell and Shumbusho. The Thunderbirds scored another goal in the 47th minute as a Riley Pang header would give the Thunderbirds a two goal lead to secure the victory.
In the 69th minute the Heat would get their best opportunity, as Christian Taylor would get a header on target but it was saved by T-Birds keeper Jason Roberts.
Despite several attempts in the second half, the Heat could not score on Thunderbirds' territory leading to a two goal loss.
Sadly, a bank of fog kept UBC President and Vice-Chancellor, Santa Ono, from attending on the day, but the rest of the enthusiastic crowd in attendance enjoyed the soccer match between the two UBC teams on a perfect Saturday afternoon in October.
Prior to the match Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Okanagan campus, Deborah Buszard, and UBC Okanagan Director of Athletics and Recreation, Tom Huisman, spoke to the crowd welcoming all to the first ever UBC Okanagan Homecoming sporting event.
At the half RBC, the presenting sponsor of Homecoming, got the crowd active on the field, and just before the second half began, RBC and UBC Okanagan announced that RBC will be the title sponsor to the 2019 scholarship breakfast.
Graduating senior Shaun Pilcher was unable to play in the match due to a hamstring injury but commented on the young Heat team and what its meant to him to be a part of the program.
The Heat will close out their 2018 campaign tomorrow afternoon against Victoria Vikes starting on 1 p.m. on the Nonis Sports Field. Prior to the match, senior players Shaun Pilcher and Bret Depner will be honoured for their careers with the program. The Thunderbirds will play their last match of the season on the road against Thompson Rivers at 1 p.m in Kamloops.
~ Steven Lin, Heat Sports Information
Greystoke Photos from the Homecoming Match