LANGLEY, B.C. – The No. 1-ranked Trinity Western women's soccer team advanced to the Canada West gold medal match for the eighth consecutive year after beating Alberta 3-2 in the semifinals Friday at Chase Office Field. With the win, the Spartans also earn a berth in the U SPORTS championship tournament.
The defending conference champion Spartans scored three goals in the first 12 minutes of the game, with markers from Kathryn Harvey (Coquitlam, B.C.), Elizabeth Hicks (Langley) and Rachel Hutchinson (Cloverdale, B.C.) to take a 3-0 lead. From there, the Spartans held off the Panddas, who got second half goals Mackenna Parks and Morgan Corbett, to earn the win.
The Spartans will host Calgary in the Canada West final Saturday at 5 p.m. (PT) at Chase Office Field.
The Dinos beat UBC in the other semifinal for their 15th consecutive victory this season.
Alberta and UBC will square off in the bronze medal match Saturday at 2 p.m. (PT) at Chase Office Field.
TWU's qualification for the U SPORTS championship also marks the eighth straight year the Spartans will play in the national tournament.
The Spartans got things going offensively in a hurry, with Harvey scoring in the second minute. From the middle of the box, the striker took a pass from Rachel Hutchinson and deflected the ball into the back of the net from just a few feet out. That goal sparked an offensive barrage.
In the seventh minute, Hicks was the beneficiary of a fortuitous bounce, as her long range shot was misplayed by Alberta goalie Rebecca Reif, bouncing over the head of the Pandas goalie and into the back of the net.
Then in the 12th minute, Hutchinson got in on the scoring as she took a quick pass from Amy Gartke (Edmonton) and ripped a shot from the top left side of the box past Reif.
With the three-goal margin in place, the game settled down over the course of the rest of the half, with TWU finishing with a 5-0 edge in shots on goal through 45 minutes.
The second half was a different story.
Alberta sparked the Pandas offence with Parks tallying in the 50th minute, beating TWU netminder Rachel Sydor (Tsawwassen, B.C.).
Then in the 63rd minute, Alberta struck again when Corbett slotted home the visitors' second of the night, making for an edge-of-your seat final half hour.
While TWU maintained possession for large swaths, the Pandas pushed late and had a stoppage-time free kick from just outside the box, but the offering was cleared and that was the last true chance for Alberta.
TWU Head Coach Graham Roxburgh
"I think I might need to hit the emergency room a little later on in the evening. That was a bit crazy, but credit to Alberta. I think we were a bit unlucky because we could have buried a few more chances. We played superb in the first half and we never really gave them a sniff. We just said if we don't give up the early goal in the second half and give them life, we'll be okay. Unfortunately, the ball took a weird bounce. Unfortunately that kid nipped in on Brooklyn (Tidder, White Rock, B.C.) and they slotted it and so credit to them. Then they made it tricky but I thought our girls handled themselves really well the last 15 minutes."
On playing in the Canada West Gold Medal Match
"It's always special. Calgary is really good, we know they're a formidable team and a formidable opponent. We'll have to pick up how we're feeling physically – that was a little harder than what we needed it to make it towards the end. There are four good teams in Canada West Final Four, so we're privileged and pleased to be in the final."
On earning a berth into the U SPORTS championship
"Yeah it's always special to go there. There are great teams and great programs across the country, so it's just fortunate we can be one of them now. I'm really happy for our seniors because now they get to have another week to their season. It's been a special group. We're a special team coming together and hopefully tomorrow can be a positive day, but I'm really pleased we're going to Ottawa."
• This weekend marks the Spartans 15th straight appearance in the Canada West Final Four.
• The Spartans are looking to take Canada West gold for the second consecutive year after beating University of Victoria in the final last year.
• TWU has played in the CW final in seven consecutive seasons, winning in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2017.
• All told, TWU has won seven Canada West championships and played in 12 conference finals since joining CW in 2001.