Cougars rally in second half to tie Cascades

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team controlled the play for much of the night, but settled for a single point in a 1-1 draw with the Regina Cougars on Saturday at MRC Sports Complex.

The Cascades took a 1-0 lead on Brittney Zacharuk’s 30-yard strike in the 19th minute, and had number of chances to extend the lead but were held at bay. The Cougars took advantage, leveling the score on Daniela Castro’s goal off a set piece in the 63rd minute.

The Cascades (4-4-4) maintained fifth place in the Pacific Division, while the Cougars (0-6-6) picked up their Canada West-leading sixth tie of the campaign. They sit eighth in the Prairie Division.

“It’s frustrating,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said afterward. “I thought we were good in a lot of ways, but it showed immaturity in not being ruthless in our attack, being content being ahead in the game. We should have learned that lesson last night (a 2-2 draw with Saskatchewan after leading 2-0), but unfortunately it’s taken us a while to learn some of these lessons.

“We’ve got to be better – we’ve got to finish chances, and we’ve got to create higher-quality chances.”

Zacharuk opened the scoring on an outstanding strike – she caught Cougars keeper Ashton Lowry off her line and fired home a shot from distance. Janelle Henke picked up the assist.

UFV had many other dangerous forays – they outshot Regina 8-3 for the game, and had a 9-1 edge in corners, but were unable to find that final touch in the final third.

Goalkeeper Emily Harold was one of six Cascades honoured on Senior Night.

That left the door open for the Cougars, and they equalized on a free kick by Brooke Schlossarek that Castro headed inside the far post.

The Cascades put Regina under pressure immediately following the goal, but Lowry leaped to poke away Simi Lehal’s free kick which was headed for the top corner. Shortly thereafter, Lehal’s header off Zacharuk’s corner kick sailed over the bar.

UFV keeper Emily Harold came up big in the dying minutes to secure the point for her squad. On a counterattack in the 85th, Regina’s Kyra Vibert got a partial breakaway, but Harold came charging out and made the stop.

Harold and Castro were their teams’ respective game MVPs.

The Cascades honoured six players in a pregame Senior Night ceremony: Harold, Karlee Pedersen, Desiree Caruso, Risa Venuto, Amanda Carruthers and Amber Korner.

“It’s disappointing we couldn’t give them a win tonight, but they’re six special kids who have done a lot for our program,” Giesbrecht said. “We can’t thank them enough for all they’ve done.”

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