WOMEN’S SOCCER (CANADA WEST FINAL FOUR)
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2009
NO. 2 TWU SPARTANS (3) VS THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA PANDAS (2) - OVERTIME
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SPARTANS SURVIVE IN OVERTIME TO DEFEND TITLE AT CIS NEXT WEEK
LANGLEY, British Columbia – Led by 2008 Canada West Player of the Year Nikki Wright’s (Cloverdale, B.C.) two goals and an assist the Trinity Western University Spartans defeated a very tough University of Alberta Pandas 3-2 in overtime Friday night in the Canada West semi-finals at TWU’s Langley, B.C. campus. The victory advances the Spartans to the Canada West gold medal match and a return trip to the CIS national championships. The Spartans will now have the opportunity to defend their title next week at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ont.
“All credit to Alberta, they played with passion, they played with fight and even when we were up another player they never quit and I thought that they were very unlucky that one team had to lose tonight because they deserve better than what they got,” comment TWU head coach Graham Roxburgh.
Alberta’s Carleigh Miller (St. Albert, Alta.) got the Pandas off to a good start against the higher ranked Spartans. In the 15th minute the Alberta defender was able to slot a ball into the left corner of the TWU net after she picked up a loose ball in the Spartans penalty area.
The Spartans got the equalizer with Nikki Wright’s first goal of the match. The Canada West first team all-star took a through ball from midfielder Rebecca Ferguson (Calgary) to break in alone on the Pandas net. Wright took a touch around a charging Sabina Bullard (Edmonton) and hit the ball into the lower left corner of the Alberta net to tie the match at 1-1 in the 37th minute.
The teams remained tied at the half. Then in the second half it looked like the game was turning towards TWU when Alberta’s Shalla Kadima (Edmonton) was sent off with her second yellow card of the night. But with the way the Pandas played the duration of the match you could not tell that they were down a player. Neither team was able to find the back of the net as they went into overtime tied at 1-1.
In the first overtime period it looked like Wright had the game winner in the 103rd minute. On a near carbon copy of her first goal, Wright was sent in the clear by Ferguson. This time she went down the right side and from the middle right side of the box she chipped the ball over the right shoulder of Bullard to give TWU a 2-1 lead.
Six minutes later the Spartans Daniela Gerig (Fort Langley, B.C.) got the eventual game winner. Wright and Gerig played a little give and go on overlapping runs near midfield, which sent Gerig in alone on the Alberta net. As Gerig went up the right side an Alberta defender and Bullard came out hard, but Gerig sent the ball into the far post as she was going to the ground to give TWU the 3-1 lead in the 109th minute.
“Nikki showed why she is one of the deadliest forwards when she is on, and she was on tonight,” comment Roxburgh on his all-Canadian forward. “We were able to get her in behind a couple of times and her finishes were fantastic”.
Alberta’s Heather Lund (Red Deer, Alta.) made things interesting in the 116th minute. The Pandas Veronique Mayer (Edmonton) hit a corner kick to the near post and a waiting, unmarked, Lund. Lund controlled the ball and with her back to TWU keeper Kristen Funk (Calgary) chipped the ball over her shoulder and into the right side of the Spartans net to make the final 3-2.
The Spartans ended the match with a 11-4 edge in shots and a 9-3 edge in corner kicks. During the season TWU had a 2-0-0 edge in their two matches with Alberta: winning 1-0 on Sept. 13 in Alberta and winning 3-0 on Oct. 23 at home in Langley.
TW returns to the CIS championship for the fourth time in six year including titles in 2004 and 2008. The Spartans last Canada West title was in 2006.
TWU will play the UBC Thunderbirds, who beat Victoria 1-0 in the earlier semi-final, at 6 p.m. Saturday evening at TWU for the CW title, while Victoria will play Alberta tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. at Langley’s MAP field.
About CWUAA “Canada West is consistently the most decorated of the four conferences in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), winning at least 10 CIS national titles every year since 1997-98. Comprised of 14 schools, from the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, the CWUAA produces numerous major award winners and Academic All-Canadian student-athletes each year, with many going on to athletic success around the globe in pro leagues and events such as the Olympics, Paralympics or Universiade Games.”