The University of Victoria Vikes women's soccer team will go into the CIS national championship as the second best team in the Canada West and will thus take a lower seed heading into the upcoming eight-team event.
Coach Tracy David's Vikes dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker to the Trinity Western University Spartans at the Canada West championship final in Langley on Saturday night, battling back from a 2-0 deficit, only to fall a goal short.
To make matters worse, injuries and ejections could affect both clubs this week.
"It was a very physical battle out there tonight," said David, who will now refocus on nationals. "It was very tough and costly as both teams suffered injuries. It was an emotionally charged game, but I'm so proud of my team who fought and fought."
Trinity Western's Vanessa Kovacs was given a red card for a hard tackle on Emma Greig. Victoria's Janelle Smith was also injured on another challenge and was taken to hospital after suffering a leg injury.
David was ejected from the game in the second half and, like Kovacs, could miss the first game of nationals.
Canada West rookie of the year Krista Gom-meringer opened the scoring for Trinity Western in the 25th minute and upped the advantage to 2-0 in the 68th minute. Carsen Machin replied with a goal in the 75th minute for Victoria.
The victory means the Spartans will be the higher seed for the national tournament that begins on Thursday in Victoria.
The Vikes and Trinity Western will be joined by Ottawa, Laurier, Cape Breton and Dalhousie with two more national slots to be determined today.
The Vikes will open the CIS tournament on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Centennial Stadium no matter who the opponent will be.
Victoria won a marathon on Friday night, outlasting the UBC Thunderbirds 1-0 (9-8) in penalty kicks. Both teams went 10 shooters deep before Victoria finally finished off their rivals in a spirited game.
Eight Vikes' shooters were successful from the penalty spot before Bijou Leavins finally finished it off. After eight UBC tallies, Vikes goalkeeper Stephanie Parker stopped Madison Guy and was then called upon to finish off the game, but her shot went wide.
Parker then halted Taryn Lim's offering before Leavis ended it.
"It was a pretty even game with both teams having chances throughout regular time," David said of Friday's thriller. "It was a really physical and hard-fought game for us."
VIKES GO WINLESS IN FIELD HOCKEY
The women's field hockey team lost 1-0 to the No. 2-seeded Toronto Varsity Blues on Saturday, finishing the CIS national tournament 0-4. Victoria, a young team that went into the five-team tournament as the No. 4 seed, scored just once in four games and allowed 13 goals against.
"We have 11 rookies and that was the way we needed to end," Vikes head coach Lynne Beecroft said of the final gritty effort. "They played with heart and energy and passion. Hopefully we can go forward from here and see ourselves in the next CIS championship."
It was the Vikes' 31st national championship appearance.
Kathleen Leahy was named Victoria's player of the game, while goalkeeper Kathryn Williams earned the nod for Toronto. Tegan Stairs had the lone goal.
Toronto will face the UBC Thunderbirds in today's final with the west coast team playing in its fourth consecutive McCrae Cup final.
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