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LANGLEY, British Columbia – The defending Canada West champion Trinity Western women’s soccer team opens the year as the top-ranked team in the conference and will begin its regular season this weekend, when the Spartans host Victoria Friday and UBC Saturday.

Coming off an impressive 2017 campaign that also included a U SPORTS bronze medal, the Spartans only lost one starter from last year’s roster and will once again be a threat to take a run at a national title.

Kickoff for all home games is at 5 p.m. (PT) and all home games can be seen at

“I think Canada West is going to be more competitive this year than ever before. I think there are great teams in both divisions. Obviously we return the bulk of our core, so I’m really excited to see how we can improve on how we played last year. While we had some injuries in preseason and haven’t really seen our best lineup on the field yet, the team worked really hard and we played some good competition, so hopefully that has prepared us for the intensity of the season. I think, if we work hard this year, we can be in the mix again at the end of the season.”

With the graduation of Christina Oliverio, fifth-year netminder Rachel Sydor (Tsawwassen, B.C.) will fulfill the Spartans goaltending duties this season. Sydor started three games last year and is a veteran of the Spartans program, but this year will be her first opportunity to take the reins as the undisputed starting goalie.

The backline has returned entirely intact, with starters Brooklyn Tidder (White Rock, B.C.), Elizabeth Hicks (Langley), Kristen Sakaki (Surrey, B.C.) and Aliya Coy (Calgary) all back. It was this group that helped TWU set a Canada West record for the longest shutout streak in conference history, at 924 minutes, last year. While that mark will be hard to duplicate, the Spartans will certainly have a defence that can rival any in the conference.

The midfield will feature a very familiar trio, with Jenaya Robertson (Delta, B.C.), Amy Gartke (Edmonton) and Kathleen Chin (Calgary) making up a formidable unit. All three were instrumental in last year’s success, in terms of both the 36 goals TWU scored and the nine goals the Spartans allowed. Look for first-year Sierra Halldorson (Winnipeg), who can also play on the backline, to push for midfield minutes and gives TWU depth in what is already an area of strength within the team.

Up front, Roxburgh has plenty of options, with the attacking duo of Seina Kashima (Burnaby, B.C.) and Rachel Hutchinson (Cloverdale, B.C.) set lead the offence. The duo combined for 11 goals and 13 assists last year over 13 games and will once again be a constant threat on the wings. With veterans like Gabi Short (Calgary), Kathryn Harvey (Coquitlam, B.C.) and Danae Derksen (Tsawwassen, B.C.) joined by first-year Makenna Dieterich, the Spartans, who scored the second most goals of any team in Canada West last year, will once again be a dangerous offensive force.

2017 CW regular season record: 10-3-1, 1st in Pacific Division
2017 CW post-season record: 3-0, 1st
Head coach: Graham Roxburgh (20th)

Last CW championship / total CW championships: 2017 / 7
Last U SPORTS championship / total U SPORTS championships: 2013 / 5

2017 CW regular season ranks:
Offence: 36 goals, 2nd
Defence: 9 goals against, 4th

2017 CW regular season leaders:
Goals: 7 – Rachel Hutchinson, F
Assists: 8 – Seina Kashima, F
Points: 12 – Rachel Hutchinson & Seina Kashima, F
Wins: 8 – Christina Oliverio, GK
Shutouts: 8 – Christina Oliverio, GK

Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last team):
Sierra Halldorson / M / 1st / Winnipeg / Glenlawn
Maddie Low / F / 1st / Port Moody, BC / Heritage Woods
MaKenna Dieterich / F / 1st / Langley, BC / Langley Fundamental
Syd Duquette / M / 1st / Winnipeg / Glenlawn

Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):
Christina Oliverio / GK / Calgary / 5

Fri. 7 Victoria * 5:00 PM
Sat. 8 UBC * 5:00 PM
Fri. 14 at Manitoba * 4:00 PM
Sat. 15 at Winnipeg * 5:00 PM
Fri. 21 MacEwan * 5:00 PM
Sat. 22 UNBC * 5:00 PM
Sat. 29 at TRU * 1:00 PM
Sun. 30 at UBCO * 1:00 PM

Fri. 5 UFV * 5:00 PM
Sun. 7 at UFV * 2:00 PM
Fri. 12 Alberta * 5:00 PM
Sat. 13 Mount Royal * 5:00 PM
Fri. 19 at UBC * 6:30 PM
Sat. 20 at Victoria * 5:00 PM

Thur. 25 Play-In Game
Sat. 27 Quarter-Final Match

Nov. 1-3 Canada West Final Four
Nov. 8-11 U SPORTS Championship (Ottawa)

About TWU
Recognized for quality, TWU has received seven consecutive A+ rankings for Quality of Teaching and Learning, holds three Canada Research Chairs, and wins national championships in CIS sports. More importantly, lives are changed at TWU through its whole-person, Christ-centred approach to education. With a wide array of undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree-completion programs, TWU equips leaders of character and competence to make a positive impact in the lives of others.

About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 10 sports in the Canada West conference, including women’s and men’s soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field. TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men’s hockey. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans have won 11 U SPORTS team championships and 25 Canada West team championships.