Zacharuk’s goals, Sandhu’s saves spark Cascades to 2-0 road win over UVic

Brittney Zacharuk and Joven Sandhu were among the heroes as the University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team punched its post-season ticket with an impressive 2-0 road win over the Victoria Vikes on Friday evening.

Zacharuk accounted for both goals, giving her nine on the season and moving into a tie for first in Canada West with UBC’s Danielle Steer. Sophomore goalkeeper Sandhu, meanwhile, counted a penalty-kick save among her six stops on the night, as she banked her third shutout of the campaign.

The Cascades improved to 5-5-3 for 18 points, good for fifth in the Pacific Division, while the fourth-place Vikes fell to 6-6-1 (19 points). Both teams play their Canada West regular-season finales on Saturday, and UFV has a chance to overhaul the Vikes for fourth if they can beat the UBC Thunderbirds (6:30 p.m. in Vancouver, and the Vikes lose or tie vs. the Trinity Western Spartans.

“It gives us confidence,” said Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht, whose team will appear in the Canada West post-season for the seventh consecutive year. “We talked about different scenarios for getting into the playoffs, and I said to the girls, why don’t we just do it ourselves? They were excited about that. UVic is always a challenging opponent, and it was quite competitive.”

The Vikes had a couple good chances in the first half. In the 36th minute, Georgia Bignold’s corner kick would hit the far post before being cleared off the line UFV defender Amber Korner.

In the dying moments of the half, the Vikes were awarded a penalty kick. Not only did Sandhu stop the shot from the reigning U SPORTS female athlete of the week Rachel Baird, she recovered in time to deflect the rebound out of harm’s way.

The Cascades would be given their own opportunity to take the lead from a penalty kick early in the second half. After Simi Lehal was taken down the in box, Zacharuk made no mistake and gave the Cascades a 1-0 lead in 53rd minute.

Zacharuk would score her second of the night in the 67th. Harneet Dadrao’s through ball was placed perfectly, allowing Zacharuk to run onto the pass and fire it inside the far post past Victoria goalkeeper Puck Louwes. That would be all the Cascades would need.

“Brittany has been on fire this year,” Giesbrecht noted. “She has really stepped up her game this season and has led by example. She has been outstanding for us and her second goal tonight showed how she has developed into a strong finisher.”

Giesbrecht also lauded the play of his reserves – Tripat Sandhu, Kailyn Halvorson, Kate Fisher and Lehal all made their mark on the game off the bench.

– with files from Braedan Willis, UVic Athletics

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