WSOC weekend preview: Challenges await on first road trip

That’s why they call it the beautiful game. #enoughsaid #wow #serviceandfinish @harneet_dadrao @amandacarruthers_

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Saturday: Cascades (0-1-1, 5th in Pacific Division) at Lethbridge Pronghorns (0-1-1, T-6th in Prairie Division), 2:15 p.m.

Sunday: Cascades at Calgary Dinos (0-1-1, T-6th in Prairie), 2:30 p.m.

Webcast: canadawest.tv

The jaunt through Southern Alberta is relatively unfamiliar for the Cascades – the last time they faced Lethbridge and Calgary on the road was five years ago (Sept. 22 and 23, 2012). Of UFV’s current crop of players, only senior defender Karlee Pedersen was along on that trip.

It’s a big weekend for all three teams involved – the Cascades, Pronghorns and Dinos are all in search of their initial wins of the young Canada West season.

“This weekend is going to be a challenge for us,” UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. “It’s always tough going to Lethbridge and Calgary – they’re two tough places to get points, and we haven’t been there in years.

“The key thing is that our girls are focused on the task – on doing their job really well, and not distracted by playing tough opponents on the road. Lethbridge, getting a point on the road in Edmonton last weekend (a 0-0 draw vs. the Alberta Pandas), is coming in on a high. And Calgary is a talented team – they’ve been the best team on the Prairies the last few seasons, and they’re always a tough opponent.”

Players to watch: Cascades fifth-year forward Amanda Carruthers had an exceptional opening weekend. She notched two goals in last Friday’s 2-2 draw with the UVic Vikes, and set up UFV’s lone goal on a savvy free kick in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the UBC Thunderbirds. This week is a homecoming for Carruthers – the Calgary product is a graduate of Foothills Composite High School and played her youth soccer at Calgary Foothills Soccer Club. For the Pronghorns, fifth-year midfielder Nikki Furukawa scored exactly half of her team’s 12 goals last season, and she’s notched Lethbridge’s lone goal through two games this year. Dinos fourth-year forward Natalie Arnett is another proven goal-scorer with the potential to cause problems for the Cascades. Last season she racked up seven goals and was named a Canada West second team all-star.

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