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.