The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team authored a highly impressive bounce-back performance on Sunday afternoon, knocking off the Calgary Dinos 1-0 on the road.
Twenty-four hours earlier, the Cascades had struggled mightily in a 5-0 loss to the Lethbridge Pronghorns. On Sunday, Amanda Carruthers’s goal in the 13th minute and a 10-save shutout from goalkeeper Emily Harold highlighted the first victory of the Canada West regular season for UFV (1-2-1).
“As a coach, I was looking forward to how our players would respond, because I could see in their eyes that they weren’t satisfied with their performance yesterday,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. “We showed great character and determination, and we held a very good opponent at bay.”
Carruthers and Brittney Zacharuk linked up to open the scoring in the early minutes. Fifth-year forward Carruthers – a Calgary product – won the ball and got it to Zacharuk, and she sent a through ball for Carruthers to run onto. Carruthers slotted home a bottom-corner shot as she entered the penalty area for her third goal of the season.
The Dinos (1-2-1) were coming off a signature win on Saturday, 3-0 over the Trinity Western Spartans. They tested the Cascades’ defence throughout, attempting 20 shots compared to 10 for UFV, and directing 10 of those on target.
But the Cascades’ backline, featuring Karlee Pedersen, Simi Lehal, Jasmine Mangat and Kelsey Mitchell, held up well under pressure, and Harold also sparkled in what Giesbrecht termed a “fantastic” performance. Her most noteworthy stop came in the 77th minute, when she snared Montana Leonard’s well-taken free kick.
Giesbrecht also lauded the leadership of third-year midfielder Zacharuk, who battled through an injury to give her team 64 gritty minutes.
“We were just more mature (than yesterday) in our approach to the game, and our girls were in a better mindset,” Giesbrecht said. “We’re a young team and we’re banged up, so we’re going to learn tough lessons like yesterday. It’s so encouraging to see the girls respond to some adversity. Calgary is a very good team – they’re so athletic and fast, and they were coming off a big win. I can’t say how proud I am of the girls.”
The Cascades are back in action on the road next week, taking on the MacEwan Griffins on Friday and the UNBC Timberwolves on Sunday.