On a foggy Thursday evening at Terry Fox Field, the men’s soccer team picked up a crucial 3-1 win over the University of Mary (UM) Marauders.
Their fourth straight win sees the Clan jump to third place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) standings, with the remaining pair of games to be played with a home advantage.
Thursday night’s match got off to a slow start in the rain and fog, but was not without excitement. Joel Malouf looked deadly after moving from his familiar post at right back to striker, and could have fired in an early lead in the opening minutes if not for the Marauders’ keeper, Michael Frenzel. Ryan Dhillon added to the Clan’s pressure with an effort shortly afterwards, stopped again by Frenzel.
However, it was the Marauders who capitalized on their chances first, as Marauder midfielder Aaron Brennan was gifted space outside the box to thump in a 25-yard strike past Clan goalkeeper Brandon Watson. The Clan looked frustrated at the setback, with many players getting vocal to motivate a response.
Late chances in the final minutes of the first half would come, as Calvin Opperman’s dangerous shot into the area was blocked by the defence, before Jovan Blagojevic nearly headed home an equalizer from Joseph Martin’s cross.
After surviving the onslaught before the break, the Marauders could not escape a stunning comeback initiated by the play of Jovan Blagojevic.
Less than 10 minutes into the second half, the Coquitlam native used his crafty footwork and deadly finishing to equalize. Immediately after, the captain scored again, achieving his conference leading 16th goal in
Cristiano Ronaldo-like fashion (celebration included).
“He’s playing like a senior that has the ability to be a professional,” said head coach Alan Koch — who recently saw his SFU goal scoring record, notched as a player in 1998, overtaken by Blagojevic. “He’s turned games around and he’s been doing it all season long, he turned it around tonight and we’re grateful we get the three points.”
Following the brace by the Clan’s number nine, Niko Schroettle buried the winning result, after heading in a corner kick from Robert Hyams in the 61st minute of play.
“These guys are mature enough now,” added Koch. “I think we learned early in the season that we were looking too far ahead, now we just go one game at a time, we took care of business, and we know Saturday’s game is just as big so we’ll need to take care of business again.”