After knocking on the door throughout the game, the University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team finally broke through with a pair of late goals to defeat the Alberta Pandas 2-0 on the road Friday evening in Edmonton.
Jade Palm opened the scoring in the 80th minute, and Monika Levarsky added the insurance marker in the 90th as the Cascades earned the first Canada West regular season win in program history at Alberta’s Foote Field. UFV goalkeeper Kayla Klim made seven saves en route to her third shutout of the campaign, tied for the most in Canada West with UBC’s Olivia de Goede.
The CIS No. 6-ranked Cascades improved to 4-0-1 on the season, good for first place in the West Division, while Alberta fell to 1-3-1.
“I’m proud of my team for persevering and showing some maturity,” said UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht, whose team had been unable to convert on several golden scoring chances in the first half. “I think an immature team gets frustrated by a lack of production from all the positive play. But we kept persevering. We knew if we kept getting the ball in good areas, we’d get production from our attacking players.”
The Cascades dominated the early portion of the game, doing everything but score. Senior striker Shelby Beck had a point-blank look in the 12th minute off a feed from Danica Kump, but her shot sailed over the crossbar.
In the 20th minute, Levarsky’s ambitious shot from distance went off the bar, and Gurneet Dhaliwal and Kump had shots from in tight that were foiled in spectacular fashion by Pandas keeper Cassie Bazzarelli.
The second half featured fewer scoring chances, but the Cascades finally solved Bazzarelli in the late going. Off a UFV free kick, the ball was cleared to Cascades right back Palm, who unleashed a strike from 30 yards out that found the net at the back post. It was her second goal of the campaign.
“She put herself in a good situation, and she struck it with confidence,” Giesbrecht said of Palm, who was UFV’s player of the game. “She had a very strong game today.”
Levarsky notched her second of the season to salt the game away. Centre back Dayle Jeras cleared the ball ahead and it sprung Levarsky on a breakaway. The sophomore striker made no mistake, coolly slotting home a low shot.
The Cascades travel to Prince George on Saturday in preparation for a Sunday date with the UNBC Timberwolves. Game time is 12 p.m.