Women’s Soccer : Zacharuk sets Cascades’ assist record in home-opening win over Bisons

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team flexed its offensive muscles on Friday evening, topping the Manitoba Bisons 4-2 on home-opening night at MRC Sports Complex.

Bryana Buttar, Katie Lampen and Tavia Jasper found the net for the Cascades (1-1-1) over a 16-minute stretch to end the first half, and Simi Lehal rounded out the hosts’ scoring outburst in the 62nd minute. Jessica Tsai and Stefanie Young replied for the Bisons (1-2-0).

Cascades senior winger Brittney Zacharuk carved out a slice of program history, registering two assists on the night to give her 15 for her career and set a new all-time record for UFV women’s soccer. The previous record-holders were Shelby Beck (2011-15) and Danica Kump (2012-16), who both finished their careers with 14 assists.

“A bit of a rough start,” UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht said afterward, alluding to Tsai’s goal in the sixth minute to open the scoring. “We get caught not communicating, and give them an opportunity to hit a long shot on goal which they do well with. I think we were a little surprised with that, and it took us a while to get going. But once we got going, we got confident and became more assertive, and it led to a couple goal-scoring chances for us.”

Tsai broke the ice early on a Bisons counterattack, launching a shot from 35 yards out that arced over the head of Cascades goalkeeper Joven Sandhu and dropped into the net.

Cascades rookie midfielder Buttar drew the hosts even in the 29th minute, willing her way to the ball on a scramble in the box and firing home a low shot.

Zacharuk set up the next two goals – in the 41st minute, her cross found rookie Lampen on the doorstep, and she used her upper body to deflect it home. In first-half added time, Zacharuk’s free kick from the right wing found Jasper at the far post, and she slid in for the finish.

Lehal made it 4-1 in the 62nd, finishing from close range off a feed from Kailyn Halvorson. Young, in the 90th minute, clawed back a goal for the Bisons but it was too little, too late.

Afterward, Giesbrecht noted the significance of Zacharuk’s assists mark.

“She’s been such a good servant to our program, and a consistent contributor,” he said. “She’s always been a threat to create goals and score goals, and she’s definitely well worthy of being our assists leader.”

Zacharuk, for her part, said that etching her name in the Cascades’ record books was “something special.” She also took over sole possession of second place on the team’s Canada West-era career points list with 31, and is within striking distance of Monika Levarsky’s record (36) in that category.

“It’s a way just to help remember my career here at UFV,” she said.

The Cascades are back in action at home on Saturday, hosting the Winnipeg Wesmen (5:30 p.m., CanadaWest.tv).

Men’s Soccer : Dinos rally for 3-2 win over Cascades

In a game of wild momentum swings, the Calgary Dinos landed the last haymaker, rallying for a 3-2 triumph over the University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team at MRC Sports Complex on Friday evening.

Playing under a steady downpour didn’t dampen the offences any, as Eryk Kobza (2) and Sam Gagne tallied for the visiting Dinos (4-2-0) while Atle Koellmel and Nawaf Binsaleh repled for the Cascades (1-3-3).

The UFV side returns to action Sunday at home vs. the Mount Royal Cougars (1 p.m., CanadaWest.tv), and head coach Tom Lowndes said they’ll be relishing the opportunity to bounce back.

“You’ve got to put it behind you right away and go back to work,” he said. “The nature of this league is you play back-to-back games . . . and it gives you a chance to rebound. I don’t think tonight will make or break our season. Obviously it’s disappointing and frustrating, and the boys are upset. But we’ve got to put that behind us and get three points on Sunday and get back in the mix.”

It was a nightmarish start for the Cascades on Friday, as the Dinos raced down the field after the opening kickoff and put the ball into the back of the net. Kobza did the honours, cutting into the middle from the right wing and unleashing a top-corner laser from well outside the 18-yard box.

The Cascades had a golden opportunity to equalize in the fifth minute, as Brady Weir was knocked to the turf on a dash into the box. Gurmaan Jhaj stepped to the penalty spot, but Dinos goalkeeper Jake Ruschkowski came up with an incredible save diving to his left.

The hosts were undeterred, though, and Koellmel drew them level with his second goal of the campaign. He collected a pass from Trevor Zanatta at the top of the box and tucked a low shot inside the left post.

Weir was at it again in the 52nd minute, drawing a crowd – and a foul – in the box. Binsaleh took the PK this time, and he hammered a shot into the left side of the net.

Just three minutes later, the Dinos earned a PK of their own. UFV keeper Ethan Duggan dove to his right to parry Cristiano De Carvalho’s attempt, but Gagne was there to slot home the rebound.

Shortly thereafter, in the 62nd minute, Kobza restored the Dinos’ lead, heading the ball home from close range on a scramble off a corner.

Lowdnes felt his squad showed “signs of immaturity” in allowing a second-half lead to slip away.

“We kind of lost our shape a little bit and were a bit too open, and allowed them to create some pockets,” he analyzed. “Then we’ve made a mistake giving a penalty that we should never give away . . . it’s shifted the whole momentum of the game. It’s swung the pendulum back to them, and then we’re kind of up against it and fighting. But we didn’t stop until the final whistle. We were still creating chances, we were still looking to score. Again, it’s a credit to the group that they continue to do that. But obviously, it’s frustrating that we didn’t take anything from the game.”

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