It was the Monika Levarsky show under the Friday night lights at MRC Sports Complex, as the University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team defeated the UNBC Timberwolves 5-0.
Levarsky assisted on the Cascades’ first goal of the night, which came off the foot of Shayla Phipps, and it was the precursor to a scoring binge of her own. The third-year forward from Surrey, B.C. would go on to score four times to stake the hosts to an insurmountable lead before heading to the bench for the night in the 61st minute.
Desiree Caruso added a sixth UFV goal in the 88th minute, and Emily Harold picked up her second straight clean sheet as the Cascades improved to 5-1-2 in Canada West conference play. UNBC fell to 0-7-0.
Friday’s result enabled UFV to leapfrog the Alberta Pandas (4-1-2) for second place in the Pacific Division. The Pandas, coming off their first loss of the campaign on Friday by a 2-0 score at Trinity Western, visit MRC Sports Complex on Saturday for a 5:30 p.m. tilt with the Cascades. UNBC, meanwhile, visits Trinity Western on Saturday in a 5 p.m. start.
“The girls really played assertively in the first half and put UNBC under a lot of pressure,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht noted. “I thought we could have been a lot tidier in finishing – we could have scored more in the first half. But we were able to make a lot of changes and got everybody at least half a game tonight, which is great. We saved some legs for tomorrow night, and gave girls a chance to play.
“I’m really happy with the girls, how hard they worked, and we got six goals, so it’s a good night.”
Levarsky, the Cascades’ top goal-scorer last season with seven, opened the regular season on a rare scoring drought, going goalless over the first six games. She got her first goal last Saturday in a 3-0 road win over Thompson Rivers, then broke through in a big way vs. UNBC.
“It feels good,” Levarsky said. “I was a little frustrated not scoring in the beginning, but I finally found my rhythm. I took my shots and took my opportunities.
“I really prepared mentally for this game, and made sure I came on my front foot and made an impact on the game, with myself and the players around me.”
Phipps and Levarsky combined to get the Cascades on the board in the sixth minute – Levarsky beat a UNBC defender down low and cut it back into the path of Phipps for the finish. It was the rookie’s second goal of the campaign, and Levarsky’s sixth assist, second-most in Canada West.
Levarsky made it 2-0 in the 21st minute, turning in the box and rifling a rising shot past UNBC keeper Liana Toopitsin. She got another four minutes later, taking a breakaway pass from Amanda Carruthers, working her way around Toopitsin and rolling the ball into the open net.
Levarsky stayed hot in the second half, completing the hat trick by hammering a shot that Toopitsin got her fingers on, but not enough of to keep out.
The T-Wolves’ best chance of the night came in the 61st minute when Julia Babicz hit the crossbar and Harold dove to smother Rhianne Ferdinandi’s follow-up effort. The Cascades took the ball the other way and Simi Lehal sprung Levarsky on a breakaway, and she slotted home a low shot into the corner.
Caruso rounded out the scoring on a 35-yard free kick.
“We’ll come out of this confident, but we know tomorrow’s going to be a battle,” Giesbrecht noted. “Alberta’s a good side – they nicked points off UBC and UVic last weekend, and they gave Trinity a good game tonight. . . . They’re going to be well-organized and tough to break down. We’ve got to make sure we play with an assertive mentality and take it to them.”