By Mark Janzen, Trinity Western University
LANGLEY, B.C. – Coming off the bench, Trinity Western striker Rachel Hutchinson (Cloverdale, B.C.) scored the game-winning goal in the 107th minute to give the No. 1-ranked Spartans a 1-0 win over Fraser Valley in the Canada West Quarter-Finals Saturday at Chase Office Field. With the win, the defending conference champion Spartans advance to the Canada West Final Four.
After a scoreless 90 minutes, Hutchinson came back on the pitch as a substitution and had the goal-scoring impact the Spartans were hoping for, taking a pass from Seina Kashima (Burnaby, B.C.) on the right flank and slotting it home to the low left corner.
The victory marked a piece of déjà vu, as it was also Hutchinson scoring the lone goal in TWU's quarter-final win over UFV last year.
The Spartans will now host the Canada West Final Four Nov. 2-3 at Chase Office Field.
With TWU having a 12-3 edge in shots on goal, it was a special performance from the Cascades goalie Joven Sandhu that kept the visitors in the game. Sandhu finished with 11 saves, including several of the highlight-reel variety.
TWU fifth-year goalie Rachel Sydor (Tsawwassen, B.C.) made three saves to earn the clean sheet.
The Spartans go things started quickly, nearly opening the scoring in the first minute when Kat Harvey (Burnaby, B.C.) had a point blank chance that was stopped by Sandhu. It was a sign of things to come.
Shortly after, UFV's Harneet Dadrao put an in-tight shot just wide of the TWU net for what was arguably the visitor's best chance of the opening half.
TWU had a number of chances throughout the opening 45 minutes, including back-to-back shots on goal from Jenaya Robertson (Delta, B.C.) in the 20th minute, but once again, both were stopped by Sandhu.
The Spartans outshot the Cascades 8-2 and had a 5-1 edge in shots on goal in the first half but Sandhu was up to the task on several occasions, keeping the game scoreless through 45 minutes.
Both teams had chances in the second half, with the Cascades showing more go-forward early on, forcing Sydor to make a few key saves. At the other end of the park, the Spartans came close on more than one occasion, including an early chance that sliced through the middle of the box off the foot of eina Kashima but the Spartans couldn't get on the end of it.
In the 68th minute, the Cascades nearly found a loose ball just a few yards off the goal line, but a sliding Kat Chin (Calgary) knocked the ball to safety for the Spartans.
The Cascades Jashan Sandhar had a wonderful chance in the 86th minute, zipping down the right side of the field and breaking in on Sydor, but she sent her shot just wide of the left post.
Fraser Valley continued to push for the winner in the late stages, finishing the second half tied 2-2 in shots on goal.
Sandhu was at her best in overtime, holding TWU off the board until Hutchinson finally broke through in the early stages of the second overtime.
Head Coach Graham Roxburgh
"Certainly, we made it difficult on ourselves early. We generated some glorious chances and we had rebound after rebound. But soccer is a funny game and if you don't bury your chances and you keep a team alive, then they begin to gather some steam and some hope and some courage. Credit to them because they played a hard game and made it tough on us. I do think we probably deserved to win by two or three goals but towards the end of regulation, they had the better of the chances. Both teams played desperate and both teams fought hard and both teams had courage.
"Seina played a wonderful pass on the winning goal and Rachel, who is coming back off an injury, slotted her chance and held her nerve. We're relieved that we're through and we dodged a bullet tonight, but credit to UFV because they played us really tough."
• The Spartans are now one win away from advancing to the Canada West championship match for the ninth time in the last 10 years.
• UFV and TWU faced off in the Canada West quarter-final last year with the Spartans, winning 1-0 en route to capturing the conference title.
• TWU earned 3-1 and 3-2 win over the Cascades during the 2018 regular season.
• The Spartans had won 18 straight games against UFV, including regular season, playoffs and spring. The last time the Cascades beat TWU was in the Canada West semifinals in 2010 when UFV beat the Spartans 3-2 on penalties.
The Spartans will await the winner of Sunday's quarter-final game between Alberta and MacEwan. TWU will host the winner in a semifinal Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. (PT).
Recognized for quality, TWU has received seven consecutive A+ rankings for Quality of Teaching and Learning, holds three Canada Research Chairs, and wins national championships in CIS sports. More importantly, lives are changed at TWU through its whole-person, Christ-centred approach to education. With a wide array of undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree-completion programs, TWU equips leaders of character and competence to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 10 sports in the Canada West conference, including women's and men's soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field. TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men's hockey. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans have won 11 U SPORTS team championships and 25 Canada West team championships.