LANGLEY, British Columbia – The No. 1 Trinity Western women’s soccer team will host No. 10 Fraser Valley this Friday in the Spartans final home game of the regular season.
The Spartans enter the weekend with a 9-0-1 record and can secure first place in the Pacific Division with a win or a tie against the Cascades. Having already earned home field advantage for the quarter-finals, clinching top spot would grant the Spartans the opportunity to host the Canada West Final Four should they advance past the quarter-finals.
Friday’s game starts at 5 p.m.
The Spartans regular season ends Sunday when they travel to play UBC.
TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (9-0-1)
CIS ranking: No. 1
Pacific Division Standings: 1st
Last weekend: Victoria 1-0 W, UBC 3-0 W
Streak: 8 wins
2013 Canada West record: 8-1-3, 3rd (tied)
2013 Canada West tournament: 2-1, 2nd
2013 CIS tournament: 3-0, 1st
Since the start of the season, the Spartans have been aiming to top the Pacific Division. This weekend, they can do just that by collecting at least one point on Friday night.
The Spartans are coming off a critical weekend in which they beat then No. 4 Victoria and long-time rival and likely first round playoff opponent UBC.
SHUTTING THE DOOR
The Spartans enter this weekend with four clean sheets in their last five outings. Last weekend’s results were of particular note as the Spartans shutout Victoria – the highest scoring team in Canada West at the time – and UBC, with goalie Christina Oliverio (Calgary) making a combined seven saves in the wins. This all comes after TWU allowed a goal in each of its first five games.
Jessica King (Liverpool, England) has been a topic of discussion all year, and for good reason. She has been Miss. Clutch since the opening kickoff as she now has 10 goals, which has her tied for the conference lead, and six game-winning goals. Last weekend, she opened the scoring in both games and was named both the Canada West 1st Star of the Week and the CIS Female Athlete of the Week. Coming into the weekend, she has scored 37 per cent of the Spartans goals.
Vanessa Kovacs (North Delta, B.C.) may not get the flashy statistics, but her effectiveness in the midfield is one of the main reasons behind the Spartans success this year. She has been the Spartans engine in the middle of the park and has arguably TWU’s best player this year. She’s a difference maker every time she’s on the field and will be one of the key cogs in the Spartans playoff run.
FRASER VALLEY CASCADES (7-1-2)
CIS ranking: No. 10
Pacific Division Standings: 2nd (tied)
Last weekend: UBC 0-0 T, Victoria 1-1 T
Streak: 2 ties
2013 Canada West record: 5-4-3
2013 Canada West tournament: 0-1, 5th (tied)
2013 CIS tournament: N/A
Since a 2-1 loss against the Spartans in their season-opener, the Cascades have gone unbeaten in nine games, posting a record of 7-0-2. Following a weekend in which they earned a pair of draws with both UBC, 0-0, and then No. 4 Victoria, 1-1, the Cascades jumped into the CIS Top 10, at No. 10, for the first time this year.
AIMING TO HOST
The Cascades enter this weekend tied for second in the Pacific Division and are looking to secure a home playoff date. While nabbing top spot from the first place sitting Spartans is still possible – UFV will need to win both of its games this weekend and hope for a favourable result in the game between UBC and TWU – the more realistic goal is to host a quarter-final game. That will ultimately come down to UFV’s last game of the year, against Victoria, but collecting points Friday against the Spartans would put the Cascades in a strong position heading into Saturday’s season finale.
Fraser Valley comes into Friday’s tilt as the best defensive team in the Pacific Division, having only allowed five goals in 10 games. Other than the 2-1 loss to TWU, the Cascades haven’t allowed more than one goal in any of their other nine games. Goalie Kayla Klim leads the team with five clean sheets.
The tandem of Monika Levarsky and Shelby Beck have combined to score 10 of the Cascades 16 goals this season, with Levarsky tallying six and Beck notching four. Levarsky’s six goals have all come in the last eight games and she has only been held goalless in two of those contests. She was also UFV’s lone scorer in the Cascades 1-1 tie with Victoria last Saturday.