Women’s Soccer (With files from Jeff Sargeant, UBC Athletics): T-Birds score late to salvage draw with Cascades
A late equalizer by the UBC Thunderbirds prevented the University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team from claiming its first win of the young Canada West campaign.
Taking on the nation’s No. 9-ranked team at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium on Saturday evening, the Cascades took control in the 39th minute as rookie midfielder Bryana Buttar scored in spectacular fashion. That one-goal margin lasted until the 87th minute, when Sophie Damian’s goal allowed the T-Birds to escape with a 1-1 tie.
The Cascades (0-1-1) host their home openers this coming weekend, welcoming the Manitoba Bisons (Friday, 5:30 p.m.) and Winnipeg Wesmen (Saturday, 5:30 p.m.) to MRC Sports Complex.
“We went toe to toe with one of the top teams in the country tonight,” UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht noted afterward. “It’s a painful lesson to come away with just one point in that situation, but to come here to UBC and get a result is something I’m proud of.”
Buttar broke the ice on Saturday, intercepting an errant UBC pass and lofting a shot from 22 yards out while falling to the turf. It was perfectly placed, arcing over T-Birds keeper Emily Moore and coming down just under the bar.
The home side would put the pressure on UFV to end the half but went into the locker room down 1-0.
The Cascades had a golden chance in the 59th minute as Buttar once again found herself in a great position, and her shot from 20 yards was saved by Moore. The ball somehow came out of Moore’s hands after it hit the turf and UFV forward Simi Lehal pounced on it with the net open, but sent her shot high.
UBC mounted a strong push over final 30 minutes, as they steadily brought the ball inside the UFV half vying for the equalizer. In the dying minutes, senior midfielder Amelia Crawford played in a cross for Damian who slammed the ball home for the tying goal.
Taylor Nekic earned player of the game honours for the Cascades, turning in a strong performance alongside Marianne Spring at centre back, and goalkeeper Joven Sandhu was solid when called upon, finishing with five saves.
Men’s Soccer: Mainella’s injury-time goal gives Cascades a tie with WolfPack
Mikael Mainella came through in the clutch for the University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team, scoring in injury time to lift the hosts to a 1-1 draw with the Thompson Rivers WolfPack at MRC Sports Complex.
The WolfPack had grabbed a 1-0 edge on Josh Banton’s goal in the eighth minute, and carried that lead past the 90-minute mark. But off a long throw-in from Atle Koellmel, Manpal Brar won the ball and cut a pass back to the middle of the six-yard box, and Mainella arrived a split-second before TRU goalkeeper Jackson Gardner and a WolfPack defender and poked the ball home.
The result left the Cascades with a 1-2-3 record in Canada West play, while the WolfPack are 1-1-2.
“I just saw the ball go up, and I ran towards the net hoping to get a little poke across, and that’s what happened,” Mainella said with a smile afterward.
“We’re a bunch of muckers, and we really want to give it our best to the end. And I think we really showed that the past two games.”
The Cascades had the lion’s share of possession in the first half, but it was the WolfPack striking first. Banton intercepted a UFV pass and dashed into the box down the right, before hammering a top-corner shot, near post.
The hosts had a great look in the 36th minute as Brady Weir sent a ball across the box to Charandeep Rangi, but he sent his shot just wide of the left post.
TRU, No. 7 in the U SPORTS national rankings, found more traction after halftime, and generated chances off the counterattack with UFV pressing forward. In the 70th minute, James Fraser had a great look from the top of the box, but his low shot ran just wide of the left post.
That opened the door for the Cascades, and Mainella took advantage.
“I thought Mikael did well – he changed the game a bit,” Lowndes said. “He’s so athletic, and his pace and power causes problems. Right place, right time – we put him on with 10 minutes left and told him to go create something and make something happen, and that’s what he’s done.
“I think it’s huge to have that fight in your team that you don’t stop until that final whistle. As a coach, that’s what I want . . . they’ll put their bodies on the line and crawl off the field, and it’s fantastic. That’s what I want my program to be.”
The Cascades continue their homestand next weekend, hosting the Calgary Dinos on Friday and the Mount Royal Cougars on Sunday.