A Kathryn Harvey goal in the opening minutes of the second half helped the Trinity Western Spartans to a 1-0 victory over the Laval Rouge et Or in the second quarterfinal 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’s Joëlle Gosselin 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. Mireille Patry thumped a shot from the top of the box, which was blocked by Brooklyn Tidder. 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 Aliya Coy 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 goalkeeper Rachel Sydor 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.
Trinity Western became only the third team to shutout the high-powered Rouge et Or this season. Laval registered 11 shots, none of which found their way past Sydor in goal.
“It was a battle,” said Tidder, who was named Player of the Game for the Spartans. “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.”
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.
Players of the Game
- Trinity Western: Brooklyn Tidder
- Laval: Laurie Couture-Dallaire