A goal from Jenaya Robertson in the 83rd minute lifted the Trinity Western Spartans to a 2-1 victory over the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades in the first game of the Canada West women’s soccer regular season on Friday evening.
Playing in rainy conditions at MRC Sports Complex, the Spartans (1-0-0) opened the scoring early in the second half on a penalty kick by Isabella Di Trocchio, but the Cascades (0-1-0) equalized less than seven minutes later courtesy Danica Kump.
Trinity Western, No. 3 in the CIS national rankings, got the winner after Seina Kashima sent a ball through the box that eluded a series of Cascades defenders and came to Robertson at the top of the box. She unleashed a shot that found the bottom right corner, just out of the reach of UFV keeper Kayla Klim.
“I’m really proud of the girls for how hard they fought,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. “I thought we played really well at times, but broke down once or twice, and you can’t do that against a team of the class of our opponent tonight. But I liked how we got back in the game, and started to use some of our athleticism and pace going forward.”
The scoreless first half was a soggy affair – a steady drizzle began in the 25th minute, and became a downpour as halftime neared.
The Spartans were awarded a controversial penalty kick in the 50th minute – UFV defender Karlee Pedersen was judged to have handled the ball in the area, but the home team felt the ball had in fact hit her in the chest. In any event, Di Trocchio stepped to the spot and sent a hard shot towards the bottom right corner. Klim got a piece of it, but the ball trickled off her fingertips and inside the post.
Monika Levarsky and Kump combined to level the score for the Cascades. Levarsky was sent in on the left side, and whipped the ball across the goalmouth to a hard-charging Kump, who blasted a shot under a diving TWU keeper Ally Williamson.
The Cascades found some traction at that point, but were unable to net another, opening the door for Robertson in the late going.
The next games for both the Cascades and Spartans come on the road next weekend. UFV faces the Regina Cougars on Saturday, and the Saskatchewan Huskies on Sunday. The Spartans play the inverse schedule, taking on Sask on Saturday and Regina on Sunday.