LANGLEY, B.C. – The Trinity Western women's soccer team are the Canada West champions for the seventh time in program history, as the Spartans beat Victoria 2-1 in the gold medal match Saturday at TWU's Chase Office Field.
TWU centre-back Brooklyn Tidder (White Rock, B.C.) scored in the 53rd minute, pouncing on a rebound and potting her first of the post-season to put the Spartans up 2-0 and tally would prove to be the game-winning goal.
A 71st minute goal by Victoria's Georgia Bignold cut the Spartans lead in half, but TWU didn't allow the Vikes much in the way of quality chances down the stretch, holding on for the win.
Spartans rookie Kathryn Harvey (Coquitlam, B.C.) opened the scoring in the third minute.
The win puts the Spartans back on top of the Canada West conference after losing in the championship bout in each of the last two years. The last time TWU won the conference banner was in 2014.
The Spartans will now prepare for the U SPORTS Championship at the University of Manitoba Nov. 9-12. TWU will open the championship tournament Nov. 9 against the host Bisons at 4 p.m. (PT).
TWU got on the scoreboard early with Harvey converting in the third minute. Taking a low pass from Rachel Hutchinson (Cloverdale, B.C.) in the box, Harvey knocked it in on the short side, past Vikes goalie Puck Louwes.
From there, the Spartans went out on outshoot the Vikes 5-2 through the first 45 minutes.
Early in the second half, the Spartans pushed their lead to 2-0 when Tidder converted a rebound after a TWU free kick.
The Vikes eventually struck back in the 71st minute, with Bignold heading home a Stephanie Badilla Gutierrez free kick to make it a one-goal game.
While Victoria looked for the equalizer, the Spartans did well to keep the Vikes away from the TWU net. It wasn't until stoppage time when the visitors managed to generate another next shot. A shot by Victoria's Brea Christie flew wide right just beyond 90 minutes and that was as close as the Vikes would get.
TWU Head Coach Graham Roxburgh
"It's good to be back as (Canada West) champions. Obviously we've had many finals over the last 10 years and each one of them has a different story. I didn't think we were at our best tonight. We said we were going to struggle through it. We used a lot of energy last night to beat UBC. I was really pleased with our start and then we kind of had to gut it out towards the end of the first half. I thought we had a little more life in the second half. I can't say enough about people like Brooklyn and Liz (Hicks, Langley). Our back four defended so well. Brooklyn scoring that winner was awesome. She deserves it and the whole team deserves this."
On moving on the U SPORTS Championships
"You take it one game at a time. There are great teams that are going to be there. We get Manitoba in the first round so that will be tricky because they're the hosts and it's their home venue. When you get to nationals, you take it one game at a time. We'll be ready and we're excited but we need to heal up a little bit."
• The Spartans are now 7-5 all-time in Canada West championship finals, having played in 12 gold medal matches in the 17 years since the TWU women's soccer program joined U SPORTS.
• TWU has played in seven straight Canada West finals, winning four and losing three, and have contested nine of the last 10 Canada West gold medal games.
• The last time TWU and Victoria met in the conference final was in 2012, when the Spartans won 2-1 in Langley.
• TWU now has 13 Canada West medals, including seven gold, five silver and one bronze.