SPARTANS SET TO HOST UBC FRIDAY IN CANADA WEST FINAL FOUR

SPARTANS SET TO HOST UBC FRIDAY IN CANADA WEST FINAL FOUR

LANGLEY, B.C. – The odds to win one of the most hard-earned championships have changed.

It’s right there in the marquee.

The 2017 Canada West Women’s Soccer Final Four takes place at Chase Office Field in Langley this weekend, when the host Trinity Western Spartans battle the UBC Thunderbirds (5:30 p.m. PDT) and the Victoria Vikes take on the MacEwan Griffins (2:30 p.m. PDT) in semifinal action Friday, followed by bronze (2:30 pm PDT) and gold medal (5 p.m. PDT) matches on Saturday.

All four games can be seen live on www.canadawest.tv.

Both finalists qualify for the 2017 U SPORTS Women’s Soccer Championship in Winnipeg, hosted by the University of Manitoba, Nov. 9 -12.

For the last two seasons the Canada West champ was decided at the Select Six, where half a dozen teams would gather for a four-day grind, playing as many as three matches.

Now it’s back to an all-out, two-day blitz featuring a quartet of sides that represent the best of the best.

UBC is looking to capture a third consecutive Canada West championship crown and get back to nationals, where UBC won gold in 2015 and silver last year. Many players from those teams are still with the T-Birds, who have a compliment of seven fourth- or fifth-year student-athletes.

As part of Canada West’s new playoff format, the opening week of the post-season featured both play-in and quarter-final matches at four sites. The T-Birds traveled to Saskatoon, where they knocked off Manitoba 3-1 on Friday, before up-ending the host Saskatchewan Huskies 3-0 two days later.

The quartet of sides left standing have more than earned spots at Final Four. Combined, they have a 75% win percentage (42-11-9) spanning the Canada West regular and post-seasons.

Semifinal 1: GMU vs. VIC

Friday, Nov. 3 at 2:30 p.m. PDT
Chase Office Field

After beating Mount Royal in a play-in match then authoring a quarter-final upset of the top-seeded Alberta Pandas 2-1 in Edmonton last week, MacEwan is on the verge of reaching the U SPORTS Women’s Soccer Championship for the first time in school history. The two-time Canada West champion Vikes, who gutted out a 1-0 result at home against Calgary in the quarter-final round, are looking to make their first trip to nationals since 2012. Victoria (9-1-4) is unbeaten over the last eight weeks, and had the fewest losses in Canada West during the season, while tying Pacific Division-leader Trinity Western with 31 points.

At 8-5-1, The Griffins finished fourth in the division standings. Goalkeeper Puck Louwes played every minute between the pipes for the Vikes and allowed only six goals, backstopping the Pacific’s stingiest defense, though MacEwan ‘keeper Emily Burns is no slouch, either, with a sparkling 0.66 goals against average over 14 regular season appearances. In the teams’ lone 2017 meeting, Sept. 30 at Centennial Stadium, Victoria beat MacEwan 1-0. That was a fourth straight loss and marked a turning point for the Griffins, who have since gone 6-1-1 including the post-season.

Semifinal 2: UBC vs. TWU

Friday, Nov. 3 at 5:30 p.m. PDT
Chase Office Field

This is a rematch of the T-Birds’ 3-0 triumph in 2016 Canada West gold medal game, which also took place on the Spartans’ home pitch in Langley. TWU, which reached Final Four by beating Fraser Valley 1-0 in a quarter-final at Chase Office Field last Saturday, topped the Pacific Division standings with a 10-3-1 record for 31 points – just one point ahead of the third-place T-Birds (9-2-3). No other Canada West sides scored nearly as much as these offensive juggernauts; both averaged more than 2.5 goals per game, UBC leading the conference with 37 goals, the Spartans ranking second with 36.

UBC senior Jasmine Dhanda, the 2015 U SPORTS Championship MVP, scored a conference-best 14 goals in 14 matches, and added six helpers to lead all players with 20 points. TWU boasts remarkable scoring depth, with seven players this season tallying at least four times. UBC swept the season series with TWU, handing the Spartans their only home loss, 3-0 on Sept. 8, then defeating them 2-0 in Vancouver on Oct. 21 to wrap their schedule. Since 2002, these two perennial powerhouses have combined to win Canada West gold 11 times, and the national championship nine times.

MEDAL ROUND

Bronze medal game - 2:30 p.m. PDT at Chase Office Field

Gold medal game - 5 p.m. PDT at Chase Office Field

TRINITY WESTERN UNIVERSITY SPARTANS

2017 CW regular season record: 10-3-1, 1st in Pacific Division

2017 record vs. Final Four teams: 0-2-0 vs. UBC, 1-0-0 vs. GMU, 1-0-1 vs. VIC

Last CW championship / total CW championships: 2014 / 6

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, Forward

Assists: 8 – Seina Kashima, Forward

Points: 12 – Rachel Hutchinson and Seina Kashima, Forwards

Wins: 8 – Christina Oliverio, Goalkeeper

Shutouts: 2 – Christina Oliverio, Goalkeeper

Key performer:

Jenaya Robertson

Midfielder

4th-year

Delta, B.C.

As the team’s captain, Jenaya Robertson led TWU to a Pacific Division title, helping a young lineup – one that features just two fifth-year players – keep the Spartans tradition of success very much alive and well. The fourth-year midfielder was a steadying force throughout the season and played a key role in helping at both ends of the pitch. Individually, she tallied four goals to go with two assists, but her work from box to box was critical to the Spartans success. With Robertson patrolling the middle of the park, the Spartans set the Canada West shutout streak record at 10 matches and 924 minutes.

UBC THUNDERBIRDS

2017 CW regular season record: 9-2-3, 3rd Pacific Division

2017 record vs. Final Four teams: 0-1-1 vs. VIC, 2-0-0 vs. TWU, 1-0-0 vs. GMU

Last CW championship / total CW championships: 2016 / 15

Last U SPORTS championship / total U SPORTS championships: 2015 / 7

2017 CW regular season ranks:

Offence: 37 goals, 1st

Defence: 10 goals against, 5th

2017 CW regular season leaders:

Goals: 14 – Jasmin Dhanda, forward

Assists: 9 – Aman Shergill, forward

Points: 20 – Jasmin Dhanda, forward

Wins: 6 – Marlee Maracle, goalkeeper

Shutouts: 6 – Marlee Maracle, goalkeeper

Key performer:

Jasmin Dhanda

Forward

5th-year

Surrey, B.C.

The fifth-year striker finished her final Canada West regular season in style leading the conference in goals with 14, points with 20, game winning goals with six, and shots on goal with 37. Dhanda set a new conference record for career points finishing with 70 over her five years with the ‘Birds surpassing former T-Bird Janine Frazao’s mark of 63.

MACEWAN UNIVERSITY GRIFFINS

2017 CW regular season record: 8-5-1, 4th Pacific Division

2017 record vs. Final Four teams: 0-1 vs. VIC, 0-1 vs. UBC, 0-1 vs. TWU

Last CW championship / total CW championships: Highest finish - 4th in 2016

Last U SPORTS championship / total U SPORTS championships: /

2017 CW regular season ranks:

Offence: 18 goals, 7th

Defence: 10 goals against, T5th

2017 CW regular season leaders:

Goals: 3 – Brittany Costa, midfielder / Kaylin Hermanutz, midfielder / Meagan Lemoine, midfielder / Raeghan McCarthy, forward

Assists: 4 – Meagan Lemoine, forward

Points: 7 – Meagan Lemoine, forward

Wins: 8 – Emily Burns, keeper

Shutouts: 7 – Emily Burns, keeper

Key performer:

Emily Burns

Goalkeeper

3rd-year

Sherwood Park, Alta.

A Canada West second-team all-star in 2016, Burns had another fantastic season for the Griffins as she played all but 20:23 of the team’s minutes during the regular season. She had eight wins and seven shutouts in 14 games, posting some of the top numbers across the board in the conference (0.65 GAA, 59 saves and an .868 save percentage). She led the Griffins to two playoff wins, including making a key save off a penalty kick that helped MacEwan eliminate Mount Royal University.

UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA VIKES

2017 CW regular season record: 9-1-4, 2nd Pacific

2017 record vs. Final Four teams: 1-0-1 vs. UBC, 0-1-1 vs. TWU, 1-0 vs. GMU

Last CW championship / total CW championships: 2008 / 3

Last U SPORTS championship / total U SPORTS championships: 2005 / 1

2017 CW regular season ranks:

Offence: 26 goals, 5th

Defence: 6 goals against, 15th

2017 CW regular season leaders:

Goals: 9 – Kiara Kilbey, Forward

Assists: 4 – Emily Lieuwen, Midfield

Points: 10 – Kiara Kilbey, Forward

Wins: 9 – Puck Louwes, GK

Shutouts: 10 – Puck Louwes, GK

Key performer:

Emily Lieuwen

Midfield

4th-year

Ladner, B.C.

Central midfielder Emily Lieuwen has been at the centre of the Victoria Vikes’ women’s soccer success for 2017. The fourth year is competing in her last season and has started and played all but seven minutes of the regular season to finish with two goals and four assists. Co-captain Lieuwen’s two-way work ethic is felt on both sides of the ball and will be key as the Vikes head into the Canada West Final 4.

-TW-

View: Mobile | Desktop