Trinity Western Spartans bounce UFV from women’s soccer playoffs

A 2-1 loss Sunday eliminated the UFV Cascades from the Canada West postseason picture.

For the third year in a row, the University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team saw its season come to an end with a one-goal loss to the Trinity Western Spartans in the Canada West quarter-finals.

The Cascades played the No. 2-ranked team in the nation tough on their own pitch on Sunday afternoon, but the Spartans secured a 2-1 victory with Jenaya Robertson’s goal in the 62nd minute the difference. They advance to the CW Final Four in Edmonton next weekend, hosted by the MacEwan Griffins.

Delta’s Brittney Zacharuk, in what would turn out to be the final game of her highly decorated five-year career, scored the Cascades’ lone goal in the 56th minute, temporarily leveling the score after TWU’s Rachel Hutchinson had broken the ice in the first half.

“We battled hard, and I’m very proud of how we played,” Zacharuk said afterward. “Even going a goal down in the first half, our mindset didn’t change. We knew we were still in it.

“Down 2-1, we were still going at them, and I’m so proud of this team and the mindset. I can’t wait to see where they go from here.”

Hutchinson, who had scored TWU’s lone goal in each of their previous 1-0 quarter-final wins over UFV in 2017 and 2018, opened the scoring in the 21st minute off a corner. She found her way to a loose ball in the six-yard box and blasted it home.

The Cascades made some lineup changes at the half – among them, shifting Zacharuk to left back to combat Hutchinson’s pace on the right wing. The UFV squad surged, and Zacharuk provided a moment of brilliance in the 56th when she scored directly from a corner, wrapping the ball around the near post.

However, CW goal-scoring leader Robertson rescued the Spartans seven minutes later, running onto a pass from Syd Duquette and slotting the ball past Cascades keeper Andrea Perkovic from 15 yards out.

The Cascades continued to press, owning the majority of territorial play down the stretch, but were unable to find the finishing touch in the final third.

“First half, I thought we were just too passive in how we attacked,” UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht summarized. “We were just hopeful … It really played into their hands and allowed them to attack us more.

“Second half, I thought our mindset was more confident and we played with more conviction. We got players forward and we got corners.

“The girls played their hearts out, and I’m really proud of them.”

UFV’s roster includes Chilliwack’s Katie Lampen, Yasmina Enneddam and Mackenzie Silbernagel.

Lampen was a rookie sensation this season, collecting seven goals in 14 games.

Silbernagel didn’t play at all after injuring her knee in preseason action and Enneddam was used sparingly, seeing 127 total minutes on the UFV defence.

All three are Sardis secondary grads.

The Trinity Western roster also includes Chilliwack’s Olivia Nichol (goalkeeper), Grace Van Den Brink (midfield) and Shaila Weflen (forward).

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