Abbotsford – The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer squad opened its exhibition schedule with an impressive showing on Wednesday evening, blitzing the UNBC Timberwolves 5-0 at MRC Sports Complex in Abbotsford.
In the Cascades’ first preseason action against a Canada West conference opponent, Simi Lehal notched a second-half brace, and Halle McCambley, Harneet Dadrao and Jenna Mele scored one goal apiece. UFV goalkeepers Joven Sandhu (first half) and Andrea Perkovic (second) combined on the clean sheet.
“They were phenomenal,” Cascades head coach Niko Marcina said of his squad afterward. “They met every task and challenge that we asked of them at the beginning of the game, and they rose to the occasion. I think they were extremely excited to play conference competition, and the fact they were succeeding in the earlier parts of the game, I think they fed off of that energy and they came out with a successful result. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
The Cascades were buzzing from the opening kickoff, dominating possession and putting pressure on the visiting T-Wolves. It took until the 18th minute, though, before they broke through. McCambley opened the scoring off a set piece, heading Avery Tulloch’s corner just over the outstretched arms of UNBC keeper Brooke Molby.
Less than a minute later, Dadrao made it 2-0. Jessica Fennell came dashing in from the left and slipped a pass to Dadrao at the top of the six-yard box with a defender on her back, and she spun to her left and fired a low shot past Molby.
The Cascades poured in three more goals after the break, with Lehal leading the charge. In the 51st minute, the fifth-year forward took advantage of a UNBC defensive miscue, intercepting a pass deep in the 18-yard box and smashing a shot into the top corner.
Rookie Jiya Kaila set up the next two goals, picking up assists on strikes by Jenna Mele (56th minute) and Lehal (77th). Lehal had a chance to complete the hat trick in the late going, but sent the ball off the crossbar.
Up next, the Cascades face the UBC Okanagan Heat on Saturday (2 p.m., MRC Sports Complex).