The No. 2-ranked Trinity Western women’s soccer team is moving on to the Canada West Final Four for the 16th year in a row after beating Fraser Valley 2-1 in the quarter-finals Sunday at Chase Office Field.
Playing in the final home game of her career fifth-year captain Jenaya Robertson , who was recently named a Canada West First Team All-Star, scored the game-winning goal in the 62nd minute to secure TWU’s spot in the Final Four.
Playing the Cascades in the Canada West quarter-finals for the third straight year, fifth-year Spartan striker Rachel Hutchinson, who was also a First Team All-Star, opened the scoring in the 21st minute, before Second Team All-Star Brittney Zacharuk equalised for UFV in the 56th minute.
With the win, TWU will now face local rival UBC in the semifinals next weekend at MacEwan University, with the winner both advancing to the Canada West final and earning a berth in the U SPORTS Championship tournament, which will be hosted by the University of Victoria.
Hutchinson, who had scored the lone goal in in each of their last two quarter-final matchups with UFV, sparked the TWU offence when she found her way to a loose ball inside the six-yard box and blasted it to the top right corner.
Just 10 minutes into the second half, an early surge from the Cascades proved fruitful as UFV earned a corner to the left of TWU netminder Hannah Miller. Taking the corner, Zacharuk curled her cross directly into the back of the net.
However, it was Robertson coming to the Spartans rescue seven minutes later, taking a pass from Syd Duquetteand making no mistake from 15 yards out, slotting it home past the Cascades lone remaining defender and UFV keeper Andrea Perkovic.
From there, the Spartans held off the Cascades, limiting UFV to just two total shots (14-2) over the course of the game to pick up their third win of 2019 against their local rivals.
Miller finished the night with one save, while UFV goalie Perkovic didn’t register a save with TWU scoring on both of its shots on net.
TWU Coach Graham Roxburgh said the team knew going in that it be a different game than the regular season.
“The playoffs are differen,” Roxburgh commented.
I thought (UFV) played extremely well and were very aggressive. It’s a good crosstown rivalry. “
“I’m super proud of our team. We battled hard out there. I’m really proud of the way we responded after giving up a goal. It was a great corner by them, but we responded really well and then defended well afterwards. Rachel had a great game and Jenaya did what she’s always done and that’s scoring the big goal in the big moment. And it’s not just Jenaya’s goal-scoring – it’s winning headers in midfield and it’s getting into tackles and playing the intelligent pass. I think she’s the best player in Canada West right now.
“The work rate from Rachel and Gabi (Short, Calgary) up front was superb. I thought Sierra Halldorson (Winnipeg) was our best player today in terms of poise and the service in the corner and her decision making. The whole group gave their hearts today.”
· The Spartans beat UFV 1-0 in the quarter-finals in both 2017 and 2018.
· Last year, Hutchinson scored the overtime winner in the quarter-final to send TWU to the CW Final Four, where the Spartans went on to win their second consecutive conference title.
· The two-time defending conference champion Spartans are now one win away from advancing to the Canada West championship match for the 11th time in the last 12 years.
· In the regular season, TWU beat the Cascades 5-1 at home and 3-0 at UFV.
· The last time the Cascades beat TWU was in the Canada West semifinals in 2010 when UFV beat the Spartans 3-2 on penalties.
· Robertson had a TWU single-season record 14 goals during the regular season.
TWU advances to the Canada West Final Four, where the Spartans will play UBC in the semifinals Nov. 2 hosted by MacEwan in Edmonton Nov. 2-3.