Spartans settle for Canada west silver after falling to UBC in final


LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western’s women’s soccer team lost for the first time in 2016 and in doing so was forced to settle for a Canada West silver medal as the Spartans dropped a 3-0 decision against UBC Sunday at Chase Office Field.


Playing in a rematch of last year’s conference championship game, UBC once again got the better of the Spartans, with Amelia Crawford, Jasmin Dhanda and Rachel Jones scoring for the visiting Thunderbirds. Last year, the Spartans lost 1-0 against UBC in the Canada West final.


After going 13-0-3 in the regular season and playoffs, the Spartans allowed the opposition to score three goals for the first time all year.


Despite the result, TWU will now move on to the CIS championship tournament, which will be hosted by Acadia in Wolfville, N.S. Nov. 10-13. The Spartans, who have played in seven of the last eight Canada West championship games, will be looking to play in the CIS championship match for the fifth consecutive year.


“We’re obviously disappointed to lose a championship on our home park,” said TWU coach Graham Roxburgh. “I thought UBC were very clinical in their finishing and took advantage of some mistakes that we made corporately. I thought the telling goal was the second goal right before halftime because after the first goal, I thought we were very good for about 20 minutes and a bit unlucky not to equalise or even go ahead because we had a few half chances and a golden chance. But in soccer, you have to take your chances and they did.


“But I’m very proud of our team. They showed a lot of character and class. Sometimes you lose on the field, but we definitely showed our character in terms of our fight tonight.”


The Spartans have now won 12 Canada West medals.


UBC opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Crawford took a cross from Meagan Pasternak and beat Spartans goalie Ally Williamson (Langley), who finished the game with seven saves.


The Spartans pushed back and had several close calls, but were unable to find the back of the net before Dhanda doubled the T-Birds lead in the 43rd minute. Sydney Jennings sent a ball into the box and Dhanda struck it to the low left corner.


Out of the break, TWU pressed once again to get back into the game, but the Spartans efforts proved fruitless.


With time winding down, Jones scored UBC’s third goal of the night, converting a pass from Jennings in the 88th minute.


T-Birds goalie Marlee Maracle made three saves for the clean sheet.


UBC has now won 15 Canada West championships.


“In the second half, had we scored early, that might have been a different outcome or at least a different second half,” Roxburgh said. “I thought the game fizzled out and we didn’t really generate much momentum after 20 minutes. Some of that is the way they played but we also were just trying to find anything to generate a chance and we got more and more frustrated and stopped thinking.


“But the good news is we earned the right to go to nationals and tomorrow is a new day. With this group of classy players and group of character players, we’ll rise another day.”


The T-Birds and Spartans will be joined by Saskatchewan as the Canada West representatives at the national championship, after the Huskies beat MacEwan 1-0 in the bronze medal match.


Game Notes: TWU is 1-1-1 against UBC this year, including a win and a tie in regulation…prior to Sunday, the only other time the Spartans allowed more than one goal this year was in a 3-2 win over Fraser Valley Oct. 7.


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