The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team picked up its first win of the young Canada West season on Saturday evening, beating the UBC Thunderbirds 2-1 at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
Cascade defender Jade Palm headed home the game-winner in the second half, off a corner kick after the ball caromed off forward Shelby Beck. It was Beck’s second assist of the night – she also set the table for Monika Levarsky to open the scoring in the 14th minute.
Shayla Chorney replied for the Thunderbirds shortly after Levarsky’s goal, but UBC could not find an equalizer despite a strong push forward in the second half.
“It means a lot,” said Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht, whose team improved to 1-0-1 on the season. “Yesterday (in a scoreless tie with UVic) we felt we let one get away. . . To play a very good opponent in UBC today, to come out and get the result, it just speaks to the character the girls have and their whatever-it-takes mentality. I’m so proud of them.”
The T-Birds (2-1-0) were coming off a 2-0 win on Friday over the Trinity Western Spartans, handing TWU its first CIS home loss in nearly two years.
But it was the CIS No. 7-ranked Cascades who were the more dangerous team in the early going on Saturday. In the sixth minute, Danica Kump sent a ball across the mouth of goal where Brittney Zacharuk had her effort on goal knocked into touch by Thunderbirds’ keeper Olivia de Goede, who ranged quickly to her right to deny UFV of their first goal of the campaign.
UBC’s first chance to open the scoring came in the 14th minute when Shayla Chorney sent Taylor Shannik in on goal with a nice through ball. But Shannik’s shot sailed high.
The Cascades took full advantage of the missed attempt. Beck sent the ball into the box from the right side where Levarsky drove a hard, low shot to the far corner past the outstretched arms of de Goede.
UBC responded in the 20th minute, capitalizing on a corner kick. After Shannik delivered the ball into the box, Krista Whittaker sent the ball back across the grain where Chorney launched a looping header over Cascades goalkeeper Kayla Klim.
The Thunderbirds controlled play in the early part of the second half but were unable to find the back of the net. Instead, the Cascades added their second goal.
Off a Sunayna Samra corner kick in the 57th minute, Beck nudged the ball to Palm who got just enough of it to send it over the goal line.
“I went up, and there was a goalie and a player behind me, and I just flicked it over and it went in,” Palm recounted.
“My first year here I scored four goals, so I’m kind of aiming to top that this year. We’ll see how that goes.”
UBC continued to pressure the Cascades and thought they had a tying goal off the foot of Nicole Sydor in the 82nd minute, but she was adjudged to be in an offside position. That was as close as the T-Birds would come.
UBC’s Whittaker and UFV centre back Dayle Jeras were named game MVPs.
The Cascades are at home again next week to face the Thompson Rivers WolfPack (Friday, Sept. 18, 5 p.m.) and the UBC Okanagan Heat (Saturday, Sept. 19, 5 p.m.). Both games are at Abby Senior.
The T-Birds host the Alberta Pandas (Friday, 7 p.m.) and the UNBC Timberwolves (Saturday, 7 p.m.).
– by Russell Arbuthnot, UFV Cascades communications staff