VANCOUVER, BC – The Trinity Western Spartans might just be one of the best teams Canadian university soccer has ever seen. Led by Head Coach Graham Roxburgh, the Spartans won Canada West Gold on Saturday night, defeating the UBC Thunderbirds 1-0 to complete an undefeated 15 game conference season.
Hosting the Canada West Final Four after winning their division, the TWU Spartans pushed past a stingy Saskatchewan Huskies side to qualify for Saturday’s final. They met and beat the defending U SPORTS National Champion UBC Thunderbirds in an all Lower-Mainland Showdown.
The Spartans did not make it easy on themselves; however, trading chances throughout the match, the home side left it until the 88th minute of 90 to open the scoring in the final, sending their exuberant home crowd home happy.
Kathryn Harvey netted the winning goal, sliding the ball past UBC’s Emily Moore; however, the T-Birds appealed on the play. On the initial goal-kick that started the play, TWU midfielder Makenna Dieterich appeared to play the ball with her forearm before leaving the ball to Sierra Halderson, who sent a potentially offside pass to Harvey.
While UBC pushed for the final two minutes and additional time, the Jesse Symons coached side could not find an equalizing goal and wil head to the U SPORTS National Tournament as the second seed from Canada West, likely facing Acadia or StFX.
“That’s a special one, obviously because of the circumstances over the last two years. I couldn’t be more pleased for Elizabeth Hicks (Surrey, B.C.) and the seniors,” said TWU’s Roxburgh, as the program claimed its 9th all-time title. “I told Rob Giesbrecht that this game would probably go to overtime with eight minutes left, but if we got Harvey central, she would get past UBC one more time. Sierra Halldorson put in an amazing ball, Harvey’s finish was great.
Despite not scoring, UBC’s attack pulled together several high-quality chances. Vanessa Tome nearly opened the scoring in the 60th minute but fired her attempt right at the Spartans goalkeeper, while Katalin Tolnai’s late free-kick didn’t threaten as she wanted.
With the win, the Spartans stay in form and will have a week off before Nationals; meanwhile, UBC will have to rebound similarly to how they did in 2019 when they won the U SPORTS National title despite losing the Canada West Final.
MacEwan make history
The MacEwan Griffins will join the powerhouse TWU Spartans and UBC Thunderbirds on a trip to Cape Breton, NS, for the National Tournament in mid-November, after defeating the Saskatchewan Huskies 2-0 to win Canada West Bronze. While the Spartans and T-Birds are familiar teams at the tournament, the Griffins are going for the first time in program history.
“We knew we weren’t going to make any mistakes this time. We wanted to create history,” said MacEwan senior midfielder Samatha Gouveia to MacEwan Athletics. “ I think we just wanted to make sure we played harder than we did yesterday and fixed all our wrongs from the past. We just came together as a team. Our passion and heart that we left on the pitch shone through today.”
Although they will not be one of the top-seeds at the U SPORTS Championships, parity has shown throughout the season and could see the Griffins making an unexpected run.
Whatever the Spartans, Thunderbirds, or Griffins do on the Cape Breton pitch will be easier than ever to watch for Canadian sports fans, who can tune in for free to CBC Sports.