Cascades’ Pedersen a conference all-star, Dadrao named all-rookie

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer program had two athletes honoured on Wednesday as Canada West announced its award-winners – one at the end of her career, the other just getting started.

Fifth-year left back Karlee Pedersen was voted a second-team all-star by the conference’s coaches, while first-year midfielder Harneet Dadrao was picked for the all-rookie team.

For Pedersen, the all-star recognition is a fitting finale to an outstanding Cascades career which spanned six seasons (including an injury redshirt year in 2015) and was highlighted by a Canada West silver medal and a fourth-place finish at nationals in 2014. The UFV program made the playoffs every year during her tenure.

The homegrown Abbotsford product was a dynamic and reliable force on the Cascades’ backline as a senior, and her veteran influence was critical in guiding the program through a rebuilding year. Pedersen was limited to just 10 of 14 regular-season games due to injury, and in light of that, the all-star nod is a powerful testament to how well she played when healthy and to the respect she’s earned around the conference.

“I’m very proud of her,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. “She’s been such a dependable player for us over her time here. Coming off an ACL injury in 2015, she wasn’t quite herself on the pitch the next season. So for her to find her best form in her final year was pretty cool. We were a young team this season, and she was such a great example of what it takes to excel at this level.”

Dadrao was one of three Cascades to start all 14 regular-season games – sophomore defenders Kelsey Mitchell and Simi Lehal were the others – and her positive play in the midfield was pivotal as UFV earned a sixth consecutive playoff berth. The Surrey, B.C. product registered two assists and finished second on the team with 17 shots.

“She really improved a lot throughout the year,” Giesbrecht said of Dadrao. “She’s so skilled, she’s a smart player, and she’s a competitor. It took her some time to adjust to the physicality of Canada West women’s soccer, and she persevered through it. I’m really excited about her future. We see her developing into a highly productive attacking player.”

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