Zacharuk, Dhaliwal ignite the offence in Cascades’ 3-0 win at TRU

UFV’s Vanita Bhullar protects the ball against pressure from a TRU opponent on Sunday. (Andrew Snucins / TRU Athletics photo)

It took a while for the University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team to find traction against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Sunday afternoon in Kamloops, but a pair of fourth-year veterans helped the Cascades turn the tide.

Brittney Zacharuk and Gurneet Dhaliwal took turns assisting on each other’s goals late in the first half, and Zacharuk added her second goal of the match in the 75th minute. Goalkeeper Joven Sandhu made seven saves for her first career clean sheet as the Cascades leveled their record at 3-3-2, good for fifth place in the Pacific Division of Canada West. The eighth-place WolfPack fell to 1-7-0.

“We did well today playing against a much-improved TRU side – they are far more dangerous than they have been in the past,” UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht said afterward. “We had to go with the ‘bend but not break’ mentality for a while. They got behind us quite a bit in the first half and got some set pieces, but I thought my girls did very well defending it. Towards the end of the first half we started to click offensively and maintained possession of the ball in the attacking third.

“It was nice to see Brit and Gurns combine on two goals late in the first half. We’re a young team, and we need to rely on our veterans to step up and deliver, and they did.”

The Cascades broke the ice in the 39th minute. Dhaliwal delivered a sensational through ball right into the path of an onrushing Zacharuk, and she slid the ball past TRU keeper Danielle Robertson.

Three minutes later, Zacharuk returned the favour. Taking a pass from Kelsey Mitchell on the left wing, she found Dhaliwal unmarked at the top of the six-yard box for a tap-in.

Zacharuk notched her third goal of the weekend – she also scored in Saturday’s 3-1 win at UBC Okanagan – midway through the second half. Meghan Rose sprung Jashan Sandhar down the right wing with a deft touch pass, and Sandhar eluded a TRU defender along the goal line before slipping a pass to Zacharuk, who was all alone in front for the finish.

Zacharuk was the Cascades’ player of the game, and Giesbrecht also lauded the play of Kailyn Halvorson and Harneet Dadrao. Halvorson, a sophomore defender from Vernon, B.C., had family at both weekend games in the Interior, and she played 90 minutes for the first time in her Cascades career vs. TRU. Dadrao, meanwhile, overcame illness to provide an effective presence in the midfield.

Up next for the Cascades is a home-and-home with local rival Trinity Western – next Friday on TWU’s Langley campus, and Sunday at MRC Sports Complex.

– with files from Larry Read, TRU Athletics

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