OTTAWA– Third year forward Kathryn Harvey (Coquitlam, B.C.) scored in the 58th minute of the second half to lift the Trinity Western Spartans to a 1-0 victory over the Laval Rouge et Or in the second quarter-final match of the U SPORTS Women's Soccer Championship.
The match started at a furious pace, with both teams putting their opposition's backline under serious duress. Laval was able to work the ball to the top of the box, where a long drive by Kim Tremblay was thrashed over the net.
It looked as though the half would end without any major chances, but with five minutes to go Laval fifth year forward Joëlle Gosselin (Quëbec, QC) headed a corner kick toward goal. Her attempt looked like it was going to find the cobwebs, but it was cleared off the line by a Spartans defender.
The Rouge et Or had another good opportunity on the stroke of halftime. Second year forward Mireille Patry (Quëbec, QC) thumped a shot from the top of the box, which was blocked by fourth year defender Brooklyn Tidder (White Rock, B.C.). The defender sacrificed her body to keep the game scoreless.
The second half started much like the first, with neither team able to break through. Trinity Western were able to combine down the left flank, and second year defender Aliya Coy (Calgary) centered the ball for Harvey. It was a slick, one-touch finish from the third-year forward to put her team ahead in the 58th minute.
Laval aimed to respond immediately. Spartans fifth year goalkeeper Rachel Sydor (Tsawwassen, B.C.) made a point-blank save, and defender Elizabeth Hicks cleared the rebound opportunity off the line. Despite the deficit, Laval showed they were still very much in the game.
The balance of power leveled out in the second half, as both teams were evenly matched.
Even with the RSEQ runners-up throwing everything they had at them, the Spartans backline held firm and didn't allow a shot in the final 15 minutes.
Laval registered 11 shots, none of which found their way past Sydor in goal. TWU had five shots, three on net, of which second year keeper Myriam Labrecque (Lëvis, QC) stopped two.
TWU Head Coach Graham Roxburgh
"It feels really good to get the win. Laval is a very worthy opponent with great players. We worked really hard on denying time and space. And I thought our kids battled tremendously well."
"I knew that once we got through the early part, especially against the wind, that we would settle down. We bent a little late in the half, but didn't break. There were lots of heroic efforts. Couple of players put their bodies on the line to block shots."
"At half time I said that now we can play and we did. I could run through my entire lineup, every kid had a fantastic game today. I'm super pleased. It's an honour to be at the U SPORTS championship and we do not take it for granted, although we like coming here."
Player of the Game Brooklyn Tidder
"It was a battle,we've come against Laval several times at the National Championship. We knew what their strengths and their weaknesses were, and we really stuck to the game plan today."
- Today's match was the third time that TWU and Laval have met at the national championship. TWU won the last meeting 2-1 in the championship semi-final at UBC. Laval won 5-0 the year before in the national championship match in Quebec City.
- Trinity Western became only the third team to shutout the high-powered Rouge et Or this season. It was the Spartans ninth shutout win this season.
- The Spartans are now 8-3 in championship quarter final matches, 2004 was an opening round tie when there were only six teams at the championship.
- Today's game was TWU's 33 championship contest since 2004. They are 24-8-1.
The Spartans advance to the semifinals for the second time in as many years, and will face the Cape Breton Capers on Saturday, while Laval will take on the Western Mustangs on Friday in the consolation bracket. Both games begin at 10 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. PT. It will be the fourth time, 3-0, that TWU has faced CBU at the national championship.