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UFV Women’s Soccer – Heat rally to edge Cascades in exhibition action

Fraser Valley (Dan Kinvig-UFV) – The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer squad started brightly, but the UBC Okanagan Heat battled back for a 3-2 preseason victory on Saturday afternoon.

The host Cascades built an early lead at MRC Sports Complex on goals from Harneet Dadrao and Jessica Fennell, but the Heat rallied with a trio of strikes – via Stefanie Young, Yvonne Manwaring and Rhema Batchondo – over a seven-minute span to claim the lead going into halftime, and they kept UFV at bay from there.

“The opposition was very organized, we were hit with a bit of adversity, and we just couldn’t come out of that funk as a result of being stuck in the same situation over and over,” Cascades head coach Niko Marcina analyzed afterward. “As a result, a couple of technical errors on our part in the back, and we fed off of that negative energy a little bit.

“We reset our mindset (at halftime), and the first portion of the second half, I thought we were a lot better. We fixed certain things out of the back, and the central midfield players who came on were effective and aggressive – Dani Bavaro and Jenna Mele were helping us out in possession.”

The Cascades, coming off a 5-0 exhibition win over UNBC on Wednesday, carried the play early, and Dadrao opened the scoring 10 minutes in. Heat goalkeeper Molly Race got a piece of Dadrao’s rising blast from the left, deflecting it skyward, but it came down in the UBCO net.

Fennell doubled the UFV lead in the 16th – Race dove to her right to make a spectacular save on Halle McCambley’s initial shot, but the ball caromed right to Fennell for the open-net finish.

The Heat found their footing at that point and dominated the balance of the first half. Young lit the fuse with a picture-perfect top-corner strike in the 25th minute; Manwaring drew UBCO level with a sharp-angle shot in the 30th; and Batchondo capped the comeback in the 32nd, intercepting a pass deep in UFV territory before slotting home a low shot.

The Cascades made a push in the second half, but were unable to connect on any of their chances.

UP NEXT: The UFV side continues its preseason preparations with a pair of road games in Burnaby vs. Simon Fraser University: Tuesday, Aug. 24, and Saturday, Sept. 11. Both games kick off at 7 p.m. The Cascades open their Canada West conference schedule with a pair of home games vs. the Victoria Vikes (Sept. 17 and 19, Rotary Stadium).

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