SPARTANS SHUTOUT UBC TO ADVANCE TO CANADA WEST FINAL, NATIONALS

LANGLEY, B.C. – Trinity Western will play in the Canada West Gold Medal Match for the ninth time in the last 10 years, after the Spartans beat UBC 3-0 in the conference semifinals Friday at Chase Office Field. The victory also earns TWU a berth in the U SPORTS national championship tournament for the seventh consecutive year.

Rachel Hutchinson (Cloverdale, B.C.) scored twice for the Spartans, while Elizabeth Hicks (Langley) tallied a late insurance marker in the 81st minute to seal the victory.

The Spartans will host Victoria Saturday at 5 p.m. (PT) in the Canada West Gold Medal Match. The game will be streamed live at www.candawest.tv.

Hutchinson opened the scoring in the 25th minute before finding the back of the net again in the 63rd minute.

Meanwhile, the Spartans midfield and defence put together an impressive performance, holding both Jasmin Dhanda, who was recently named the Canada West Player of the Year, and Aman Shergill, who was a Canada West First Team All-Star, off the scoresheet.

Spartans netminder Christina Oliverio (Calgary) was forced to make just one save en route to the clean sheet. UBC's Marlee Maracle stopped three of the six shots she faced.

For the Spartans, the win was a measure of retribution, as UBC had beaten TWU in each of the last two Canada West finals and had earned wins in both of their regular season meetings this year.

TWU was on the front foot from the get-go, pressing the T-Birds early on and were eventually rewarded when Hutchinson took a pass from Seina Kashima (Burnaby, B.C.) beat her defender and slotted a shot from inside the box past Maracle.

The goal seemed to elevate TWU's energy, as the home side continued to push its agenda throughout much of the first half.

UBC found its footing late in the opening frame, generating a few chances just before halftime, but Emma Cunningham's 37th-minute shot was the only one to find the target.

Early in the second half, it looked like the field was starting to tip the T-Birds way, but TWU held the UBC attackers largely in check before Hutchinson struck again. TWU's regular season goal-scoring leader corralled a rebound at the top of the box and knocked a left-footed offering past a helpless Maracle.

From there, the play once again tilted TWU's way.

Hicks put the result in the books in the 81st minute when she found her way to a bouncing ball in the box from a corner kick and buried it into a gaping net.

QUOATABLE
TWU Head Coach Graham Roxburgh
"Obviously I'm delighted and a bit relieved. I think those are two great teams. It's unfortunate we had to play each other in the semifinal, but you have to beat the best team in order to get to where you want to be. We knew we had a chance tonight. I thought our game plan wasn't the prettiest soccer, although to be honest, after we went up one goal, I thought we settled down and moved the ball well. They have weapons – Aman and Dhanda are special – and they have some very composed players. Brienna Shaw is a special defender. Credit to them because they've had an amazing season, but tonight was our night.

"I work rate was superb. Because they are so good on the ball, we worked really hard not to give them time and space. We turned this into more of an aggressive, high-press game. Our midfield tonight – Amy (Gartke, Edmonton), Kat (Chin, Calgary) and Jenaya (Robertson, Delta, B.C.) – was unbelievable. That's the best performance I've ever seen from Jenaya. It was a captain's performance."

NOTABLE
• The Spartans will be aiming for the seventh Canada West championship, having last captured the title in 2014.
• The last time TWU and Victoria met in the conference final was in 2012, when the Spartans won 2-1 in Langley.
• TWU and UBC have met in the Canada West playoffs in each of the last four years, with each team winning twice.
• The T-Birds hadn't been shutout since a 1-0 season-opening loss against Victoria.
• Since entering U SPORTS in 2001, TWU has played in 11 Canada West championship games and has a record of 6-5.

-TW-

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