Women’s Soccer: Cascades, Vikes battle to 2-2 draw
Abbotsford – (Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics) In a game of wild momentum swings, the UFV Cascades and Victoria Vikes ended up locked in a 2-2 tie at MRC Sports Complex on Friday evening.
Fifth-year forward Amanda Carruthers scored both goals for the host Cascades (0-0-1) in their Canada West regular-season opener, while the Vikes (1-0-1) got goals from Caitlin Millham and Stephanie Badilla Gutierrez.
The two teams are both back in action on Saturday evening – the Cascades hosting the UBC Thunderbirds (5:30 p.m., MRC Sports Complex), and the Vikes visiting the Trinity Western Spartans (5 p.m.). Both games can be viewed online at CanadaWest.tv.
“I’m proud of our fight today,” UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht said afterward. “We’re a new team – very young, very inexperienced. But I love the fact that we battled hard for the 90 minutes.”
It took the lion’s share of the first half to produce a goal, and it was the Vikes who broke through in the 41st minute. The visitors played a long pass ahead to the top of the Cascades’ 18-yard box, and goalkeeper Emily Harold collided with a teammate as she came out to play the ball. Both UFV players hit the ground, but Millham remained upright and slotted the ball home.
The Cascades responded in auspicious fashion, equalizing less than a minute later. Brittney Zacharuk played a ball ahead and Carruthers gave chase. Vikes goalkeeper Puck Louwes beat Carruthers to the ball, but her clearing attempt went off the onrushing UFV striker and rolled in.
Carruthers made it 2-1 in the 57th minute. Off a Cascades corner, Zacharuk tracked down the ball and sent it to Harneet Dadrao on the left wing, and the rookie midfielder played a gorgeous cross to Carruthers for a close-range finish at the far post.
The Vikes equalized in the 68th through Badilla Gutierrez, who found a seam in the UFV defence, took a pass from Emily Lieuwen, and deposited a low shot past Harold.
Giesbrecht felt it was a rather ragged performance from his squad, but noted the work rate was there, led by Carruthers.
“Amanda has a great engine – she works and she works and she works, and she’s a goal-scorer,” he said. “The first goal was just pure hard work, and the second goal was getting to a good area. And what a ball by Harneet Dadrao on that cross . . . that’s a kid with a very bright future.”
“It felt good to score two goals,” Carruthers said. “The first one was a bit of a grind, which was a main focus of ours – we want to get those greasy goals. On the second goal, Harneet had fantastic service, and that’s something we’ve been working on a lot – that service into the box and finishing.”
Giesbrecht directed additional praise to fullbacks Kelsey Mitchell and Karlee Pedersen, and to sophomore holding midfielder Marianne Spring who was making her first-ever Canada West start.
Men’s Soccer: Cascades blank Heat to earn first conference win
The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team used its home opener as a springboard to its first victory of the young Canada West season, shutting out the UBC Okanagan Heat 2-0 on Friday evening at MRC Sports Complex.
Brady Weir got the ball rolling early for the hosts, opening the scoring in the second minute of the game. Rookie winger Charlie Lovell gave the Cascades an insurance marker in the 59th minute, and goalkeeper Alex Skrzeta backstopped UFV’s first clean sheet of the campaign.
The Cascades (1-1-1) and Heat (1-2-0) are back in action tomorrow, albeit facing different opponents. UFV hosts the Thompson Rivers WolfPack (8 p.m., MRC Sports Complex), while the Heat visit the Trinity Western Spartans (7:15 p.m.).
“We were good tonight,” UFV head coach Tom Lowndes said afterward. “I thought we looked rampant on the counterattack and caused them a lot of problems, and I thought we defended really well. To get a clean sheet – the first clean sheet of the year – was massive as well, and I thought the boys put a great shift in defensively and limited them to some long-range efforts. I’m just really proud of the way we defended, and also how we took our chances.”
Weir linked up with Jun Won Choi to give the Cascades a lead shortly after the opening kick-off. Choi, from the left wing, sent a ball across the front of goal to Weir, and the third-year midfielder from Pitt Meadows placed his ensuing shot perfectly: off the far post and in.
Heat keeper Mitch McCaw, a Canada West all-star last season, kept his team within a goal for the next 55 minutes bridging halftime. Most notably, early in the second half, he dove to parry a hard shot from Lovell who had come streaking down the right wing.
But Lovell found the range shortly thereafter, rising to head home a terrific cross from fellow rookie Parman Minhas.
It was a nice moment for Lovell, who came all the way from Billericay, England to join the Cascades this fall but missed the team’s first two road games due to strep throat.
“It’s an amazing first game, first goal,” he marveled afterward. “To be fair, it (the ball) surprised me as it came over – I thought one of their defenders was going to get it. Then I just hit it, and next thing I know it’s in the back of the net and I’m running off in a celebration.”
All eight of the Cascades’ conference wins last season were via clean sheet, and Friday’s effort represented a return to form after UFV opened the campaign with a 1-0 loss at UBC and a 2-2 draw at UVic. The Heat did not register a shot on target.
“That’s something we talked about after the first weekend – getting back to being stingy defensively and limiting the chances teams have on us,” Lowndes said. “For us to give up three goals in two games (vs. UBC and UVic) was not good enough. I’m proud of how we defended tonight . . . and the work rate was first-class.”