The Trinity Western Spartans are one victory away from yet another appearance at the national championships.
The women’s soccer team defeated the UBC Okanagan Heat 3-0 on Saturday at TWU’s Chase Office Field.
The Heat were making their first-ever Canada West playoff appearance while TWU has made the playoffs the past 13 years.
The victory advanced the team to this week’s Canada West championships, which the Spartans are hosting as the top seed.
The team has a bye directly into Saturday’s semifinals and the top three of the six teams qualify for next week’s U Sports national championships in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
The Spartans, coming off an undefeated regular season (11-0-3) and ranked second nationally, scored three minutes apart in the first half of Saturday’s victory and then added a late goal.
Nicole Bolder opened the scoring in the 20th minute and Isabella Di Trocchio doubled the lead a few minutes later.
Kathleen Chin tallied late in the second half to complete the scoring while Ally Williamson stopped both shots she faced for the clean sheet.
“It was a tricky game because they’re a decent team and they’re very organized and defended us very well,” Spartans coach Graham Roxburgh said.
“I think they probably set out to frustrate us early on, which they did.
“It took a couple of good runs and intelligent moves and then a scrappy goal to get us going.
“But we’ve been working on our finishing and Nicole had a fantastic finish at the back post.
“That probably settled us down and the second goal, which was a great goal, really settled us down.”
The Spartans and the MacEwen Griffins both have byes into Saturday’s semifinals.
The quarter-finals will see the Manitoba Bisons face the UBC Thunderbirds in one and the Victoria Vikes against the Saskatchewan Huskies in the other.
Both of those games are on Thursday and the semifinals are set to be played on Saturday.
The gold and bronze medal matches will be played Sunday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.
“We love playing at home,” Roxburgh said.
“It’s a special place with special crowds. We’re comfortable and we’re familiar here. I think our players really enjoy playing here. But we have to be better than we were tonight.
“We know that there are some really good teams that are going to come here next weekend, so we have to be ready, but it should be exciting.”