ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia – The Trinity Western Spartans and University of the Fraser Valley Cascades went toe-to-toe in a Thanksgiving Sunday barnburner, with the Spartans clawing out a 3-2 victory at MRC Sports Complex.
Fifth year forward Seina Kashima's (Burnaby, B.C.) goal in the 64th minute stood up as the game-winner, and third year defender Elizabeth Hicks (Surrey, B.C.) and fifth year midfielder Kathleen Chin (Calgary) also scored as the U SPORTS No. 3-ranked Spartans improved to 9-1-0.
TWU fifth year keeper Rachel Sydor (Tsawwassen, BC) made one save for the win, while UFV's Joven Sandhu made four saves in the loss.
Gurneet Dhaliwal and Marianne Spring replied for the Cascades (3-5-2), and reigning Canada West women's athlete of the week Brittney Zacharuk notched two assists.
The hosts got off to a flying start, opening the scoring in the fifth minute. Brittney Zacharuk sent a cross in from the left wing, and Gurneet Dhaliwal went airborne for a sensational left-footed finish from close range.
A tough break for the Cascades led to a go-ahead goal for TWU in the 56th. UFV defender Taylor Nekic slipped on the wet turf in the box and slid into the Spartans' Kathleen Chin. The referee pointed to the penalty spot, and Chin stepped up and sent her shot into the right side of the net.
The Cascades answered right back, leveling the score in the 59th. Zacharuk sent a corner in, and Cascades third-year centre back Marianne Spring soared for an emphatic header. It was Spring's first career Canada West goal.
Kashima, though, restored the Spartans' advantage in the 64th. UFV keeper Joven Sandhu came up with an outstanding initial stop on a close-range effort by Kashima, and the ball deflected out to the right wing. TWU fifth year defender Amy Gartke (Edmonton) was there to send a cross back into the box for Kashima to finish.
The Cascades had a couple good looks to tie the game once again. Spring nearly reprised her earlier goal, connecting on a header off a corner, but the Spartans cleared the ball off the goal line. Later on, Harneet Dadrao had a free kick from just outside the box, from the left, but her shot went just over the bar.
TWU Head Coach Graham Roxburgh
On the game
"A really hard battle," Spartans head coach Graham Roxburgh summarized. "I thought UFV's aggressiveness set the tone early, and it took us a few minutes to collect ourselves. We were disappointed by the early goal (against), because we didn't start as well as we could corporately. Our work rate was good today, but their aggressiveness made it tough for us to play in spaces. But as the game kind of got stretched, we started passing the ball more, and I thought Seina's goal to win it was fantastic."
- Kashima now leads Canada West in both assists (9) and points (16) and is tied for second in goals (7).UBC Okanagan only managed one shot in the second half to TWU's eight.
- The Spartans and Cascades last met in last year's CW quarter final, with TWU winning 1-0.
- The last time TWU lost to UFV was in the 2010 CW quarter final, which the Cascades won 3-2 in a shootout. Since then the Spartans are 15-0 against the Cascades.
The Cascades and Spartans are back in action next weekend at home, facing common opponents. On Friday, the Mount Royal Cougars visit the Cascades, and the Alberta Pandas face the Spartans. On Saturday, it's Alberta at UFV, and Mount Royal at TWU.