Surrey’s Jasmin Dhanda of the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds was the tournament MVP at the CIS women’s soccer nationals last week.

Locals clash head-on in CIS national final

Soccer players from Surrey/Delta prominent at University of British Columbia, Trinity Western

Local talent was at the forefront at the CIS women’s Soccer Championship tournament last weekend at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

The host UBC Thunderbirds, with seven players from Surrey/Delta, were up against the Trinity Western University (TWU) Spartans in the championship game of the eight-team tournament. Three Spartans are from Surrey, one is from North Delta.

The Thunderbirds prevailed 3-0 in Sunday night’s final. Midfielder Taylor Shannik of North Delta scored the game’s final goal, and was named a tournament all-star. Surrey’s Jasmin Dhanda of UBC received the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award.

Both teams went into the match with five championships in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), seeking a record-setting sixth national title.

UBC, which hasn’t been in the national championship tournament since 2010, advanced to the semifinal round with a 1-0 win over the Calgary Dinos in a quarterfinal match Thursday afternoon, getting the winning goal in the 89th minute.

The T-Birds then blanked the Sherbrooke Vert et Or 2-0 in Saturday’s semifinal round. Dhanda set up Amrit Berar for the winning goal in the 21st minute, then scored an insurance tally 16 minutes later.

The Spartans, seeded fifth, began their tournament with a 2-0 victory over the Cape Breton Capers. Rachel Hutchinson of Cloverdale assisted on the winning goal by Jenaya Robinson of North Delta just six minutes into the game.

The Spartans then survived an 11-player shootout decision Saturday evening over the Laval Rouge et Or, after the two sides played to a 1-1 draw.

Just prior to the tournament, the CIS announced its award winners for the 2015 season.

Hutchinson was named the CIS Rookie of the Year after she finished the season tied for fourth in Canada West scoring with 11 points, including five goals. Playing at both midfield and forward, she registered a hat trick in an 18-minute span in a 3-0 win over the Alberta Pandas in Edmonton on Sept. 27.

“Rachel had a fantastic first year and gave us an offensive spark out wide. She has the ability to finish and the ability to cross and create lots of chances for her teammates,” said Spartans head coach Graham Roxburgh. “When she scored that hat-trick against Alberta, I think it brought her to life and since then, she has been one of our more dangerous players.”

North Delta’s Vanessa Kovacs of Trinity Western was a CIS First-Team All-Star at midfield. Kovacs, a graduate of Burnsview Secondary, started 10 of 14 games with the Spartans and scored four goals to go with one assist and was also a Canada West First-Team All-star.

The two other local players on the Spartans roster were midfielder/defender Robertson and defender Vanessa Wiebe of Surrey.

UBC’s Dhanda was also a CIS Second-Team selection at striker. The Surrey native tallied nine times in 16 games with the T-Birds, and was a Canada West First-Team All-star.

Other local players on the T-Birds included Canada West Second-Team All-stars Aman Shergill (defender) of Surrey, midfielders Jasmine Mander and Nicole Sydor of Delta, midfielder Reetu Johal of Surrey and defender Nadia Langenberg of Delta.