Cascades, Vikes battle to scoreless draw in season opener

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team mounted a strong push in the second half of their Canada West regular season opener against the Victoria Vikes on Friday afternoon at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.

But the Cascades were unable to find the back of the net despite several glorious chances, and the game ended in a scoreless draw.

“It was a tough battle – it always is against UVic,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said afterward. “I thought it was quite even in the first half, and I challenged my team to play with a bit more intention as opposed to hope. I thought that turned it for us – I thought we had the ball in their end a lot more, so territorially we had the advantage and we had more shots at goal. We still maybe lacked that final bit of quality to create the scoring chance that leads to a goal.”

The Cascades (0-0-1) wrap up their weekend schedule with a tilt against the UBC Thunderbirds on Saturday (6:15 p.m. at Abby Senior). The Vikes (0-1-1) are also in action tomorrow – they visit the Trinity Western Spartans at 5 p.m.

UFV's Danica Kump looks to elude a UVic defender on Friday.

UFV’s Danica Kump looks to elude a UVic defender on Friday.

UFV, ranked No. 7 in the CIS national poll, had a strong start on Friday and very nearly opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Off a Sunayna Samra corner kick, Tristan Corneil took a volley from 10 yards out that drilled the crossbar.

The Vikes came back down and had a great chance of their own in the 10th minute. Cascades keeper Kayla Klim made the initial save, and on the rebound, Danica Kump cleared a UVic shot off the goal line.

In the 19th minute, the Vikes’ Emma Greig got a good look at goal off a corner, but Klim was up to the task.

The second half was all UFV – they outshot UVic 9-2, including five shots on target. But Vikes keeper Meaghan Storie was razor-sharp, and her best work came in the 51st minute. With Shelby Beck swooping in on a partial breakaway, Storie moved laterally with the Cascades striker and dove to parry her shot. Gurneet Dhaliwal continued the flurry of chances with a drive to the left post, but Storie smothered it.

“We had a few scrambles, we had a couple half-breakaways and that kind of stuff where we very easily could have scored and maybe should have scored,” Giesbrecht said. “But we’ve got to keep believing, keep trusting, and do it for 90 minutes as opposed to 45.”

Klim’s clean sheet consisted of two first-half saves, while her Vikes counterpart Storie registered five stops.

The Cascades will look to find a bit more finish against UBC on Saturday.

“UBC’s a really athletic team – they have some really good forwards,” said Dayle Jeras, who had a strong game at centre back on Friday for the Cascades. “So we have to be ready in the back. We have a really good core of us in the back with our three defenders and our two holding mids, and everyone played really, really well today.

“We just have to really get our attack going. That’s something we sometimes do struggle with, but it’s definitely a group effort, it’s not just up to the forwards. We just have to start on our front foot and trust each other, and go at them right from the beginning.”

– with files from Russell Arbuthnot, UFV Cascades communications staff

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