The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team had the UBC Thunderbirds on the ropes, but the defending national champions battled back to earn a 2-2 draw on Friday evening at MRC Sports Complex.
A pair of goals by Amanda Carruthers – her second and third of the young season – staked the host Cascades to a 2-0 lead, but the T-Birds (1-0-3) rallied on strikes from Jasmine Mander and Meghan Douglas in the latter stages of the second half.
The Cascades (1-1-2) are back in action at home on Saturday vs. the UVic Vikes (5:30 p.m.), while the T-Birds (1-0-3) travel down the road to Langley to face the Trinity Western Spartans (5 p.m.).
“It’s that cliché of 2-0 being the most dangerous lead in sport,” UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht said afterward. “We seemed to let off a wee bit when we got that second goal and paid the price for it. It’s unfortunate.”
UBC hadn’t allowed a single goal over their first three games of the Canada West campaign, but Carruthers dented the T-Birds’ twine in the 22nd minute. Midfielder Sunayna Samra played Carruthers through on a breakaway, and the fouth-year forward from Calgary calmly slotted the ball past UBC keeper Marlee Maracle.
The Cascades went up 2-0 in the 68th minute – Gurneet Dhaliwal’s corner kick found Carruthers at the far post, and she headed it home.
But just over a minute later, the T-Birds cut the deficit in half, as Aman Shergill’s shot from 25 yards out was deflected home by Mander.
Carruthers had a great chance to restore the Cascades’ two-goal lead and complete the hat trick when she was played through down the right side, but Maracle came charging out to cut down the angle and smother her hard shot.
That save loomed large when UBC’s Douglas took a pass from Meagan Pasternak and fired a shot from the top of the 18-yard box that went just inside the post to the left of Cascades keeper Kayla Klim.
“I think we were pretty pumped that we were up 2-0 on UBC, but they responded really well,” Carruthers analyzed. “They came back really quick and kind of caught us on our back foot. We’re usually on our front foot for the next five minutes after we score a goal, but it seemed like they caught us off this time.
“There’s nothing we can do about it now, so we just need to get ready for the next game and go as hard as we can and get a win tomorrow.”
Kara Delwo’s return to the lineup was a positive sign for the Cascades. The 2014 Canada West first team all-star has worked her way back after a second major knee surgery in three years, and she lined up at right back and played the entire first half.
“She was begging to play more in the second half, but we thought we’d let wisdom prevail there and manage her minutes a bit more coming off the injury,” Giesbrecht said. “It’s so inspiring, she’s worked so hard. She hasn’t played in a long time, and she’s a leader for us.
“We’re very happy for her, very proud of her.”