Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – For the second time in three days, a second-half offensive outburst carried the Trinity Western Spartans past the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades in Canada West women's soccer action.
On Friday evening in Langley, the Spartans had scored four times after the break en route to a 5-0 triumph over the Cascades. In Sunday afternoon's rematch at MRC Sports Complex, after an evenly contested first half, TWU once again struck four times over the final 45 minutes to pull away for a 4-0 win.
Amy Gartke, Rachel Hutchinson, Seina Kashima and Danae Derksen scored for the Spartans, who improved to 8-2-0 and leapfrogged the UBC Thunderbirds and Victoria Vikes to seize first place in the Pacific Division. The fifth-place Cascades fell to 4-4-2.
"I thought in the first half, we competed really well," Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. "We were far more confident than we were the other night – leaked a few chances, but Emily (Harold, Cascades goalkeeper), when called upon, made a couple good saves. We played with confidence, and we were excited.
"Then that first goal they got kind of took the wind out of the sails for some of us. We've got to be mentally stronger. We've got to face adversity with more belief in ourselves."
In the first half, both teams had promising forays but few outstanding scoring chances were generated. In the 18th minute, UFV's Janelle Henke found some room down the right side, but her shot went over the net. Later on, TWU's Danae Derksen had a clean look at goal from just inside the box, but Harold dove to her right to make the save.
After the break, the Spartans found traction. Gartke opened the scoring in the 52nd minute, volleying the ball home off Danielle Thune's cross. Then in the 58th, Hutchinson ran onto a pass from Kashima and slotted a low shot past Harold. In the 64th, the roles were reversed – Hutchinson's initial shot was stopped by Harold, but the rebound landed on Kashima's boot for an easy finish. Derksen rounded out the scoring in the 69th, deflecting Hutchinson's corner into the top of the net from close range.
"We need to know that 1-0 down, we're not defeated," Giesbrecht said. "We were very soft after that. The first goal was a nice goal that they scored, but we really gifted them the other goals, I thought. The corner, the penetrating passes, they're things we can easily correct. But you've got to buckle down, and we didn't do that at all.
"When one team loses their confidence, the other team gains more and more. It's hard, and you can't let your opponent do that. You've got to win that mental battle, and we didn't do that today."
The Cascades are at home next weekend, welcoming the Saskatchewan Huskies on Friday and the Regina Cougars on Saturday. The Spartans have the inverse schedule, hosting the Cougars Friday and the Huskies Saturday.