The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer team earned a hard-fought victory Sunday in a penalty kick shootout over the UBC Thunderbirds to capture the school’s first U Sports national championship.
A crowd of 2,400 was on hand at Hillside Stadium to take in the match — many of whom stormed the field after Kamloops product Domenico Comita iced the game with a goal in the seventh round of the shootout.
"I'm glad that we can be the standard-bearer and bring this title home because it shows that you can get it done at a small school," TRU head coach John Antulov said after the game.
"I've believed that since day one when I took over, that just because you're at a small school doesn't mean you can't get it done."
The game was scoreless until overtime, when Alesandro Comita — Domenico’s brother — beat UBC netminder Peter Whyte 10 minutes into extra time. The goal was set up by Jost Hausendorf, who went on a solo run and played a cross that Comita buried.
Daniel Kaiser scored the equalizer for UBC 14 minutes later and TRU, down a man since the 69-minute mark, held on for five hectic minutes after that to force penalty kicks.
TRU goaltender Jackson Gardner was stellar in net, making six saves and standing tall in the shootout.
"The guys never put their head down, they just battling and fought. They looked at each other and said let's be resilient," Antulov said.
"We displayed dogged defending all the way through and for us to defend the way we did one man down against a team that scores the way they do just shows unbelievable character."