The Trinity Western Spartans notched a record-tying fifth national title with a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Carabins in the gold-medal final of the 27th CIS women’s soccer championship, Sunday evening at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Centre.
It marks the fifth time in program history, all in the past decade, that the Spartans have hoisted the Gladys Bean Trophy, and the second time they have defeated the Carabins at Varsity Centre for the title. The two teams met in the championship finale the last time U of T hosted in 2009, when Trinity Western edged the Carabins 1-0 (4-2 PK) for the crown.
“Credit to Montreal, they defended extremely well,” said Graham Roxburgh, in his 15th season as the Spartans head coach. “They created a lot of problems for us that we were struggling to deal with. We knew it was going to take one chance and if we scored it might open things up a little bit.”
Third-year midfielder Vanessa Kovacs of North Delta, was one of five Spartans named to the tournament 11 and earned 2013 championship MVP honours.
“I’m speechless right now,” said Kovacs, a 2013 CIS all-Canadian. “Especially winning back-to-back it’s pretty fantastic right now. As soon as we started the quarter-final it was just one game at a time and every game we gave our all and it was just fantastic.”
“We think Vanessa is one of the best players in the country,” added Roxburg. “She’s just battled so hard through adversity and injuries and frustration and she just never quits. She’s the heart and soul of our midfield and she deserves everything she gets.”
Second-year forward Krista Gommeringer of Calgary scored the game’s lone goal, her third of the tournament, in the 59th minute as she received a cross from fifth-year forward Alicia Tesan of Vancouver and slid with a Montreal defender to kick it into the back of the net.
The CIS all-Canadian striker scored two goals in leading the Spartans to a 3-0 win over the OUA champion Laurier Golden Hawks in Thursday’s quarter-final match and shares the tournament lead in scoring with Laval’s Léa Chastenay-Joseph.
Trinity Western maintains a perfect 5-0 standing in national final appearances and ties UBC’s record of five CIS titles with the victory. Overall, the Canada West has claimed 15, which accounts for over half, while the AUS and OUA have earned the title five and seven times, respectively, in the 27-year history of the CIS women’s soccer championship.
In search of the RSEQ’s first women’s soccer national title, Montreal earns their third silver medal in as many CIS gold-medal match appearances, all in the last five seasons. The Quebec champions end their season with an outstanding 15-2-2 record.
The Spartans landed a pair of players on the Canadian Interuniversity Sport all-star teams.
Vanessa Kovacs was named a first team all-star while Krista Gommeringer was selected a second team all-star. The pair were honoured at the CIS all-Canadian banquet on Nov. 6 in Toronto.
In 2012, Gommeringer was the Canada West rookie of the year and both a CIS and Canada West first team all-star.
Kovacs, a third-year midfielder, was also a CIS tournament all-star last season as the Spartans won the national championship.