NEW WESTMINSTER – The top six teams in Canada West women's soccer are headed to Trinity Western University this week, as the conference's Select Six championship tournament opens Thursday, November 3 at Chase Office Soccer Field in Langley, B.C.
2016 marks just the second year of the Select Six format, after the conference expanded from the existing four-team format beginning last year in Saskatoon.
Looking to keep their title defences – both Canada West and national – alive are the UBC Thunderbirds, who captured both championships in 2015.
It'll be a tougher road to gold this season for UBC, who earned a bye into the Select Six semis last season by virtue of topping the West Division standings in 2015. The Thunderbirds will need a win in their Thursday quarter-final matchup against Manitoba to earn a semifinal berth.
UBC nearly missed out on the Select Six all together, as they needed a heroic three-goal outburst from Aman Shergill in the second half of their play-in game against Alberta to earn a 3-2 victory and a ticket to the conference championship tournament.
Manitoba also needed a major individual effort to make it to the Select Six, as goalkeeper Maddie Wilford stopped 13 shots against the Prairie Division leaders from Calgary, as the Bisons earned a 1-0 win and their first trip to the conference championship tourney since 2008.
In the other Thursday semifinal, the Saskatchewan Huskies take on the Victoria Vikes in the first meeting of the season between the two sides.
The Huskies enter the contest after downing Regina 2-0 in their play-in game, while the Vikes fought off a late Fraser Valley comeback to win their play-in game 3-2 last weekend.
Awaiting the winner of the quarters are the host Trinity Western Spartans – Pacific Division regular season champs – and the MacEwan Griffins – Prairie Division runners-up behind Calgary.
Both teams know their semifinal games on Saturday hold dual importance, as the winners will automatically earn one of three Canada West berths to the national championship, hosted by Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia November 10-13.
The third and final CW berth will be decided by the conference bronze medal game. Both medal games are slated for Sunday.
For a complete look at each Select Six team, click here for the full championship preview.
Viewers will be able to watch every Select Six game on CanadaWest.tv with a tournament pass for $10.00 CAD.
NOTE: Should weather force any games to be moved to a secondary field, webcasting will not be available. Partial refunds will be extended to tournament pass holders.