The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team finally found the offensive outburst they’d been craving, as they beat the Winnipeg Wesmen 6-1 on Saturday evening at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
The CIS No. 10-ranked Cascades had felt, of late, that while they’d been generating plenty of scoring chances, they hadn’t had proportional success at actually depositing the ball in the back of the net.
They had no such issues on Saturday, ensuring that graduating players Jade Palm, Dayle Jeras and Shelby Beck enjoyed their final home game as Cascades. Brittney Zacharuk (two goals, one assist) and Danica Kump (one goal, one assist) both had multi-point games, and Beck added two assists after the trio of fifth-year athletes were honoured in a pregame ceremony. UFV backup goalkeeper Emily Harold picked up her second win in as many starts.
The Cascades improved to 8-3-1 on the season, good for third place in the West Division. Brianna Krieger scored the lone goal for the Wesmen, who were out-shot 26-2 and fell to 1-10-1.
“It was emotional, but I tried not to let the emotions get the best of me,” Beck said afterward, reflecting on her Senior Night. “I really wanted to be strong for the team, and come out as a team and just kill it like we did.
“I’m hoping that we get high enough up (in the standings) so that it won’t be the last time playing on this field,” Beck added, alluding to the Cascades’ goal of hosting a playoff game. “But it if is, I’m glad it ended this way.”
Kump opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Zacharuk centered the ball from the left wing and found the fourth-year midfielder, who finished calmly into the right side of the net.
The Cascades’ second goal of the evening was found in the 33rd minute on a stunning volley from Monika Levarsky. Kump’s cross into the box ended up at Levarsky’s feet, and she struck the ball flush and watched it sail into the netting behind Wesmen goalkeeper Justina Jarmoszko Jarmoszko.
Beck found Zacharuk streaking down the left wing in the 45th minute. In alone, Zacharuk picked her spot on goal and placed the ball into the far side of the net to make it 3-0.
The Cascades further expanded their lead just moments before the halftime whistle. UFV’s Sunayna Samra delivered a corner kick into the penalty area where Beck got on the end of it. It glanced off a Winnipeg defender on its way in, and the referee ruled it an own goal.
After Zacharuk scored her second of the game early in the second half, the Wesmen broke Harold’s bid for a clean sheet in the 83rd minute. Harold made the initial save off Kamele Fletcher’s strike from distance, but Brianna Krieger pounced on the rebound and floated the ball into the net to get the Wesmen on the board.
Beck earned her second assist of the evening on Gurneet Dhaliwal’s goal in the 85th minute as the Cascades cruised to victory in front of a rambunctious crowd.
UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht lauded the play of Zacharuk, a rookie midfielder from Delta, B.C. She has four goals and five assists on the season, and her nine total points are tied for sixth-most in Canada West.
“Britt’s finding her form, and she’s a tough player for our opponents to deal with,” he said. “She’s got a good combination of size and strength, and she’s pretty skillful as well. She’s really starting to grow in her confidence, and it’s been really exciting to see her develop throughout this season.”
Giesbrecht was also had praise for Harold, who has been very good for the Cascades this season.
“She organized things quite well, and distributed the ball quite well,” Giesbrecht said. “She’s an outstanding goalkeeper, and the role of the backup keeper is difficult. Part of her job is to push our starter, and I think the quality that Emily’s shown in her development has pushed Kayla (Klim) to be better. They’re a great partnership, and it’s awesome that Em got a game and a half this weekend. She did really well. I’m proud of her.”
UFV wraps up its regular-season schedule next weekend with a pair of huge road games against the UBC Thunderbirds (Friday, 5 p.m.) and the UVic Vikes (Saturday, 5 p.m.).
– by Russell Arbuthnot, UFV Cascades communications staff