LANGLEY, British Columbia – Saskatchewan midfielder Rebecca Weckworth scored the game’s only goal in the 75th minute to send the Huskies to the Canada West semi-finals and end the Vikes season.
The loss ends the Vikes playoff run and marks the second year in a row that the team has been eliminated in the first game of the Canada West Select Six.
Huskies goalie Kyleigh Vause made three saves, including a leaping stop late in the game on a Vikes free kick, to preserve the clean sheet and earn a spot amongst the Canada West final four.
“The first 20 minutes we were a little bit nervous,” said Saskatchewan coach Jerson Barandica-Hamilton. “We’re a young team and I thought being on this stage has been a learning curve for us all season. But once we got settled, I thought the last 20 minutes of the first half and definitely the second half, we played to our standards and our philosophy.
“Our girls put their bodies on the line and luckily, we happened to be the team that scored. But give Victoria credit. They’re a tough team and they’re very physical and very direct, which probably didn’t suit our style.
With the victory, Saskatchewan will face the No. 2-ranked Trinity Western Spartans in the first of two semifinals on Saturday afternoon in Langley. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. (PT) and the game can be seen live at www.canadawest.tv.
Taneil Gay had a quality chance to put the Huskies on the board in the 15th minute when she ripped a shot towards goal, but her effort went just wide left. Gay had another chance in the 33rd minute, but her attempt from the middle of the 18-yard box was stymied by Storie.
The Vikes best chance of the first half came off the foot of Elise Butler in the 36th minute, but this time a leaping Vause deflected the attempt clear.
With the Huskies pressing, Weckworth nearly scored, putting a hard shot on target from atop the box, but Storie dove to her left to make a highlight-reel stop.
With 15 minutes to play, Weckworth finally broke through for Saskatchewan. Hindmarsh put the ball into the area and Meagan Manson got a foot to it first, before Weckworth touched it in from in tight.
Douglas nearly equalised in the 85th minute when she whipped a free kick in on goal, but Vause got just enough of it to deflect it off the crossbar and over the net.
The game was evenly matched with the Huskies edging the Vikes 13-7 in shots, but UVic had seven corner kicks to the Huskies five.