The Spartans finished out of the medal running at the Canada West playoff tournament, but wasn't for a lack of effort.
The Trinity Western University men's soccer team lost its final game of the 2012 season, falling 2-1 to Saskatchewan in the Canada West (CW) bronze medal match Sunday at the 2012 Canada West championship at Foote Field in Edmonton.
The Huskies got goals from fourth-year striker Scott Myrah and from Canada West first team all-star Brett Levis.
Fifth-year goalkeeper Mark Diakiw, playing in his final career CIS game, made four saves for the win.
Trinity Western's lone goal came off the foot of first-year defender Taylor Johnson.
First-year goalkeeper Andrew Hicks made four saves in the loss.
For graduating Spartans Spencer Schmidt, CW second team all-star Brayden Volkenant, Jason Wiens, and Andre Costa, the loss was their final Canadian Interuniversity Sport game.
Saskatchewan has now earned its second CW medal in the past three seasons after collecting silver in 2010.
Both of those medal showings occurred at Foote Field.
After the Spartans put together a promising 9-1-4 regular season - one that saw coach Pat Rohla named Canada West Coach of the Year - for the second straight year they find themselves finishing fourth at the conference championship.
Trinity Western finished the 2012 campaign with a record of 10-3-4, including regular season and playoffs.
"It was another disappointing loss," Rohla said. "The old adage says 'We didn't lose, we just ran out of time,' but in this case we ran out of bodies. I've never been around a team that was so beat up and continued to try as hard as they did. I am proud of them, but very disappointed we didn't get to bring home a bronze for our supporters, the university and the guys themselves.
The head coach said Mitchell Rohla was outstanding and Carlos del Aguila came in and did a really good job.
"I couldn't ask any more from the boys. They were banged up, bruised, played three games in three days, including 120 minutes back-to-back and then another game today," Rohla said, following the loss. "We did well and gave a good account, but just ran out of bodies."
There are bright lights about the TWU men's soccer program, Rohla said, so the team will take some from that and build on it.
"We have a good nucleus to work from. Tip of the cap to our four graduating seniors," Rohla said. "We are going to have to go and reload the pantry a little bit and find some special players."
The Huskies were primed to win Sunday's third-place tilt right from the get-go as defender Fabian Dale put the Huskies on the score board in the 38th minute when he perfectly volleyed a bouncing ball into the bottom right corner, and beyond the dive of TWU 'keeper Hicks for the 1-0 lead.
Trinity Western showed strong resolve after the break, and leveled the score just minutes into the second half.
Johnson, a first-year fullback, situated inside the Saskatchewan 18-yard box on a set piece, and redirected the free-kick from teammate Cameron past Diakiw in the 47th minute to knot the score at 1-1.
Levis, a sophomore from Saskatoon, restored his teams' advantage just five minutes later when he carried the ball on a 40-yard run, and then stroked it past Hicks for the game winner in the 52nd minute.
The Spartans were inches away from tying the score once again when third-year midfielder del Aguila chipped Diakiw only to hit the crossbar in the 57th minute.
Saskatchewan, however, was able to hang on to the 2-1 win.
GAME NOTES: Volkenant received a red card in the 68th minute and was ejected from his final CIS match.
The Spartans gave it all they had, but were unable to get past the University of Alberta in the CW semifinal Saturday afternoon at Foote Field in Edmonton.
The Golden Bears stopped the Spartans' quest for a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championship berth with a 3-1 win, to advance to the gold medal match and a ticket to the CIS tournament next week at Laval University in Quebec City.
The loss sent TWU to the CW bronze medal match for their final game of the season.
"It is a hugely disappointing loss under difficult circumstances. I don't think that we could have asked any more of our players considering the number of injuries that we have been hiding and protecting," commented a disappointed TWU head coach, Pat Rohla. "We were a little unlucky to come out on the wrong side of the score against a very good Alberta team. I thought we were very balanced and equally matched so credit to them for caring on."
Rohla said the Spartans are "hurting right now."
"But the content of the character of our team represented TWU soccer exceptionally well, coming back in both games. Our guys sacrificed themselves and their bodies for the program and the university," Rohla added. "We are beat up and hurt emotionally, but we understand that we have another game and we have to rise to the challenge and continue to represent, because that is what we are about."
Alberta leading scorer Marcus Johnstone notched the game winner in the first overtime time while midfielder Cameron Schmidt added an insurance goal in the final minutes of the second overtime.
Alberta defender Scott Gilroy opened the Golden Bears' scoring by converting on a penalty kick in regulation.
Volkenant had the lone goal for Trinity Western.
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