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Cascades Soccer Fall To Saints In NCAA Exhibition

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team dropped a 2-0 exhibition decision to the St. Martin’s University Saints on Thursday in Olympia, Wash.

The Cascades, 4-2 winners on Wednesday over the Western Washington Vikings, were playing their second game in two days against an NCAA Div. II opponent.

Head coach Rob Giesbrecht elected to rest several of his veteran starters and gave extensive playing time to his reserves. The Cascades thought they’d opened the scoring when rookie forward Simi Lehal hammered a shot from 20 yard out into the top corner, but it was called offside. The host Saints got on the board on a counterattack midway through the second half, and added a second goal off a corner in the final minute.

“Good test for us to play in games on consecutive days,” analyzed Giesbrecht, who divided the goalkeeping chores between Emily Harold (first half) and Risa Venuto (second half). “We struggled to find the level of intensity we played with in the previous night’s game, and we were second-best in a lot of physical challenges. It’s a great learning opportunity for us – these games are about developing depth in the squad and giving players the opportunity to step up. While it’s never enjoyable to lose and not play as cohesively as we would like, I think in the long term we will look back on this as a positive experience.”

The Cascades continue their preseason road swing against the Seattle Pacific University Falcons (Saturday, 11 a.m., Seattle) and the Pacific Lutheran University Lutes (Sunday, 4 p.m., Tacoma). Seattle Pacific is an NCAA Div. II program, while Pacific Lutheran plays in NCAA Div. III.

Giesbrecht’s side wraps up the preseason with a home date against the Concordia University Cavaliers, another NCAA Div. II squad from Portland, Ore. That game goes at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27 at MRC Sports Complex, Field 4.

The Cascades open the Canada West regular season Sept. 2 against their local rivals, the Trinity Western Spartans (5:30 p.m., MRC Sports Complex, Field 4).

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