LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western’s Krista Gommeringer (Calgary) scored just over a minute into the game, which set the tone for a Canada West quarter-final match that saw the Spartans women’s soccer team control play from start to finish and earn a 3-1 win over UBC Friday at Rogers Field.
The win earns the Spartans a spot in the Canada West Final Four, which will be hosted by TWU Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, and puts the two-time defending CIS champions within one win of a berth in the national tournament. With two Canada West representatives going to nationals, the winners of the two semifinals both will qualify for the championship tournament.
“I thought it was a really tough game mentally, just staying in it,” said Spartans first-year defender Amy Gartke. “I think our team really fought together and we played really well as a team. There were some lulls in the game, but I think we really pulled through.”
Gommeringer’s goal in the second minute of play got TWU on the board and gave the Spartans the momentum they would hold largely throughout the rest of the game.
UBC’s Madison Guy equalised in the 19th minute, but less than four minutes later, Stephanie Chin (Calgary) put TWU ahead for good.
Alessandra Oliverio (Calgary) notched her fourth goal of the season from the penalty spot in the 51st minute to give TWU an insurance marker.
The Spartans controlled play throughout the contest and, up until the final 10 minutes of the game, UBC rarely threatened the TWU net. The T-Birds put the Spartans under pressure late, but were unable to get a shot on net.
“It was a crazy ending, but I’m incredibly pleased with our team,” said Spartans coach Graham Roxburgh. “UBC didn’t really come out of their shell until the last 10 minutes. I’m a little bit surprised that they did that because they have some very potent offensive weapons. But credit to them. They made it a game towards the end and it got a little nervy.
“I was really happy with the way we played for the first 65 minutes and it was crucial to get the third goal.”
TWU will now await the result of the Prairie Division quarter-finals to see who its Canada West semifinal opponent will be.
The only negative to an altogether impressive night for the Spartans was a pair of yellow cards and subsequent red card that Gommeringer picked up in the 90th minute. Gommeringer was sent off early and will be forced to sit out the first game of the Final Four.
TWU goalie Christina Oliverio (Calgary) only faced one shot all night to earn the win while UBC netminder Emily Wilson stopped three of the six shots she faced in the loss.
Gommeringer opened the scoring when she took a Kristen Santema (Coquitlam, B.C.) through ball and from the left side cut in and whipped a shot to the bottom right corner.
After that, TWU continued to press as the T-Birds executed a defensive game plan that saw the visitors sit back with the hope of a goal in transition.
In the 19th minute, UBC got exactly what they were looking for, as Guy found a loose ball in the box from five yards out and buried her opportunity amidst a scrambled box of players to even the score line.
However Gommeringer, who was a dominating presence throughout the evening, went back to work shortly thereafter. Jenna Di Nunzio (North Delta, B.C.) sent a ball into the box from the right wing to Gommeringer and the Spartans striker took a quick touch before sending it to Chin, who slammed it past Wilson.
It wasn’t long after halftime that TWU got its third of the night and, essentially, put the game to bed.
Gommeringer raced through the middle and charged her way into the box before being knocked down to earn the penalty kick.
As she did three times on three attempts in the regular season, Oliverio slotted the penalty kick home.
“Krista was superb tonight,” Roxburgh said. “We saw a great ball from Kristen in to Krista on that first goal to settle us down. We got knocked back with a sloppy giveaway and a poor corporate defensive goal. But then to get right back in, I can’t say enough about our team tonight.”
UBC didn’t press until the very late stages and even then, didn’t manage a single shot on target in the second half. Both Nicole Sydor and Jasmin Dhanda had quality opportunities but both of their attempts – Sydor in the 86th minute and Dhanda in second half stoppage time – went wide right.
Game Notes: The Spartans have advanced to the Canada West Final Four for the 11th straight year…this will be the third time in the last four years that TWU has hosted the Final Four.