One dream was dashed but another remains very much alive at the CIS women's soccer championship.
The host Victoria Vikes were dealt a harsh blow as a result of a 1-0 loss to the Trinity Western Spartans in a Friday night semifinal played before a boisterous home crowd at Centennial Stadium.
But Queen's University's hopes for an unprecedented third straight national crown remains within grasp thanks to the Gaels' 4-1 thumping of the Ottawa Gee-Gees earlier in the evening.
The Vikes' loss was a crushing defeat for fifth-year goalkeeper Stephanie Parker and the other graduating seniors, who will have to regroup for the bronze medal game on Sunday at 11: 30 a.m.
"I couldn't be happier to have been a part of this team," said Parker, who was consoled afterward. "It was a disappointing end, a bit of a heartbreaker. One mistake cost the game. It's just too bad, we had a very good team, but we'll be ready for the bronze."
Natalie Boyd, on a diving header on a cross from Jil-ian Dietrich in the 35th minute, provided the only scoring for the Spartans, who were coming off a 2-1 win over the Vikes in the Canada West final last Saturday. Trinity Western also had a 1-0 win in regular-season play in Victoria in which Boyd scored from the penalty spot.
"In fairness, it's two great teams. It's too bad we had to play each other in the semifinal," said Spartans coach Graham Roxburgh, who was elated with the win. "Credit to my kids. Credit to both teams, to be honest. They gave everything. Both teams played their hearts out.
"We knew it would come down to one or two chances. We buried one of our early chances and then hung on."
Kristen Funk kept a clean sheet in the Spartans' net. Victoria's best chances came early as Emma Greig's header was off the mark in the sixth minute and Jackie Harrison failed to finish in tight on Funk in the 65th.
"That's the best performance they had against us all year," said Vikes coach Tracy David. "They shut us down every step of the way."
Trinity's opponent in the 2 p.m. final Sunday will be the Gaels, led by a pair of second-half goals by Breanna Burton, whose brief retreat to the bench late in the first half - just after collecting a yellow card - didn't seem to faze the second-year striker.
Substituted back on to start the second, the Ottawa native bounced back with two goals in the opening 10 minutes.
"She was a handful and a half, for sure," Queen's coach Dave McDowel said of Burton. "Some really good finishing with some terrific goals, and we'll take that any day."
Tied 1-1 at the break, the Gaels owned the second half against the Gee-Gees, who had a win and tie against Queen's this season.
"I couldn't be more proud of what they did, beating a very good Ottawa team," McDowel said.
For good measure, Riley Filion brilliantly curled in a free kick from outside the box in the 80th minute for the fourth Queen's goal, looping downward under the bar beyond helpless Gee-Gees keeper Cynthia Leblanc.
Ottawa's Gillian Baggott - the CIS player of the year - opened the scoring with a long free kick that sneaked by Queen's keeper Madison Tyrell in the 22nd minute.
Alexis McKinty tied it up for Queen's in the 29th minute on a rocket off a rebound originating from a free kick.
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