September 11, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western women’s soccer team has made Rogers Field into a fortress of domination of late. It’s been more than two years since the Spartans lost at home in a regular season or playoff contest and, with an 18-game winning streak on the line, TWU will look to continue that run against Victoria and Fraser Valley this Friday and Saturday.
Coming off a 0-0 draw with UBC, the Spartans – whose last loss at Rogers Field came Sept. 10, 2011 against the Thunderbirds – will be not only looking to maintain their impressive home record, but will also be searching for their first win of the 2013 season.
After the typically high-scoring Spartans were devoid of both goals and, for the most part, offensive chances against UBC, the blue and yellow will look to get back on track this weekend when they host two of their most heated rivals.
Saturday’s season-opener saw the Spartans put just one shot on target in what was a defensive saw-off in which UBC was similarly held to just five total shots and two on target. So for the Spartans, who averaged 3.67 goals per games last year and have only been shutout once in each of the past three seasons, their focus this weekend will no doubt be on improving their attack as they look to find the back of the net for the first time this year.
This weekend will also be an opportunity for a relatively new-look Spartans side to enjoy the comforting confines of Rogers Field for the first time in 2013. With players like Caitlin Haines, Sarah Hannigan, Alessandra Oliverio and Isabella Di Trocchio stepping into larger roles, the team has a different vibe than in years past. While regulars like Natalie Boyd, Alicia Tesan, Colleen Webber, Vanessa Kovacs, Jennifer Castillo, Krista Gommeringer and transfer goalie Rachel Bedek will form this team’s core, the success of the Spartans will largely be predicated on the strength of its complementary parts.
And now, with TWU kicking off its home regular season schedule, the Spartans have a chance to prove their worth against a pair of unbeaten teams in No. 4 Victoria and Fraser Valley.
The Spartans have won six straight regular season or playoff games against Victoria, including last year’s Canada West final and the CIS semifinal. The Spartans have taken points in three straight regular season games against UFV.
VICTORIA VIKES (1-0-0)
CIS ranking: No. 4
Canada West Standings: 3rd (tied)
Last weekend: UNBC 4-1, W
Streak: 1 win
2012 Canada West record: 9-2-1, 2nd
2012 Canada West tournament: 2-1, 2nd
2012 CIS tournament: 2-1, 3rd
The Vikes opened their Canada West campaign with a dominant 4-1 win over UNBC in which the score line, in fact, flattered the Timberwolves.
Victoria outshot UNBC 30-1 over the span of the 90-minute contest and despite the Timberwolves scoring on their only shot of the game, when the final whistle blew, the Vikes had proven to be the far superior side on both the pitch and the scoreboard.
Not surprisingly, it was the midfield tandem of Jaclyn Sawicki and Jackie Harrison leading the Vikes in their season opener as Harrison tallied twice and Sawicki once against UNBC. Those two, along with fellow Canada West all-star Brigitte Greig, will be looked upon to lead the Vikes this season and will certainly be players to watch against TWU.
Up front, last year’s Canada West leading goal-scorer Emma Greig was held off the score sheet in the season-opener, but you can expect she’ll be a focus for TWU as she proved ever-dangerous last year in tallying regular season 14 goals.
Victoria’s biggest loss from last season is goalkeeper Stephanie Parker. She’s been replaced by fifth-year Tanya Jones, whose first real test of the year will be Friday at Rogers Field.
The last time the Vikes beat TWU was Nov. 1, 2009, when Victoria earned a 2-0 regular season win.
FRASER VALLEY CASCADES (1-0-0)
CIS ranking: NR
Canada West Standings: 3rd (tied)
Last weekend: UNBC 2-0, W
Streak: 1 win
2012 Canada West record: 6-5-1, 7th
2012 Canada West tournament: 0-1, 5th (tied)
2012 CIS tournament: N/A
The Cascades opened the season with a 2-0 win over UNBC, but if not for the play of Timberwolves goalie Jordan Hall, the scoreboard would have shone a whole lot brighter in UFV’s favour.
The Cascades outshot the Timberwolves 25-4 and fired 15 shots on target. Unfortunately for UFV, Hall was good for 13 saves.
This weekend, when UFV travels to Langley for what will be their second game in as many nights against a CIS Top 10 opponent, after playing No. 7 UBC Friday, the Cascades will no doubt have a big challenge ahead of them.
The Cascades, who will rely on second-year goalie Kayla Klim, following the graduation of Chantelle Biagioni, will be in tough against an offensively-gifted Spartans squad. Fortunately for UFV, Klim was solid in her first outing of the year, making three saves to earn the shutout and get the Cascades off on the right foot.
Offensively, defender Jade Palm, who transferred to the Cascades this year from Langara College, and Danica Klump scored for UFV in its season opener and UFV will be hoping for more of that magic Saturday at Rogers Field. While neither Carly Neeson, nor Danika Snook, found the score sheet in the season-opener, expect both to play big roles against TWU. Snook didn’t have a shot in 59 minutes of play but Neeson had a game-high five shots, three of which hit the target.
In the middle of the park, prized recruit Carley Radomski, who played all 90 minutes in her UFV debut, will get her first opportunity to impact the burgeoning rivalry that is TWU vs. UFV. However, if she is to help the Cascades to a win, she’ll have to make history. In seven regular season games, UFV has never won on the road against TWU, posting a record of 0-5-2. The last time the Cascades beat TWU in a regular season contest was Oct. 3, 2010, when they knocked off the Spartans 2-1.