The University of Fraser Valley Cascades were five minutes from securing an important win in Canada West Women’s soccer, but a late Sofia Jones goal helped the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves salvage the game, as the UFV and UNBC played a 1-1 draw, Sunday, October 6th, in Prince George, B.C.
Chances were tough to come by in the early going between two sides looking to possess the ball, but it was UFV who got on the board in the 20th minute. Katie Lampen passed a ball towards the net that looked relatively harmless, however UNBC defender Lydia Lavigne and goalkeeper Brooke Molby had a miscommunication on who would take the ball. Cascades captain Brittney Zacharuk took advantage, sneaking in and bating a helpless Molby for her third of the season.
“We started the game hard, and were looking to bounce back after our loss,” said Cascade Bryana Buttar. We started really hard and pressed up really hard.”
The TWolves were forced to make some adjustments on the fly, as defenders Lydia Lavigne and Julia Babicz were forced to leave the match with injuries, causing long delays in play. It also meant coach Neil Sedgwick would need to change his side’s formation, and utilize his team’s bench.
“It obviously shakes them up, because they were worried about their player,” said UFV’s Tavia Jasper. “We were worried about their player as well. It impacts your head in the game, but that is something you can control, keeping your head in the game.”
The Cascades took control the rest of the opening stanza, earning a total of seven corner kicks in the half. Marianne Spring and Lampen had solid opportunities, and Molby was forced to make some quality saves to keep the deficit at one.
“They definitely use their speed up front,” said UNBC’s Mara McCleary. “They have some great wingers who solidly get those crosses in every single time they get up there. It was a challenge for our defense, so that was well done by them.”
Fraser Valley possessed the ball for much of the second half, but the Timberwolves did well to limit the quality of their opposition’s scoring chances. Veteran UNBC defenders Mara McCleary and Mikaela Cadorette were crucial in slowing the visitors, but most attempts to counter attack were swallowed up by a Cascades midfield and backline.
That is, until, minute 85. McCleary found some space and took it, before sending a ball ahead to a streaking Sofia Jones. A Cascades defender went to play it back to goalkeeper Joven Sandhu, but Jones was able to get to the bouncing ball before beating the charging keeper. The goal was the fourth of the campaign for the San Francisco product.
When the final whistle blew, shots favoured the visitors 17-5. Sandhu made two saves, while Molby turned away six shots. With the draw, the Cascades record now sits at 2-3-5, while UNBC is 3-3-4.
“It’s hard to put into words how frustrating it is to blow a game,” said Jasper, postgame. “We were in their end a lot, and they switched to three in the back because they needed numbers forward. That goal hurt a lot, because we needed those points.”
Next weekend, Faser Valley will take on the #1 team in Canada, the Trinity Western Spartans in a home-and-home series, while the Timberwolves visit the undefeated Calgary Dinos for a pair of matches.
“We take the way we grinded out these games, and the way we have finished strong in these games,” said McCleary, postgame. “They will be another tough team. Another physical, athletic team. We will grind out every game, and get what we can from every single game.”
Sunday’s game marked the final home match in the UNBC careers of Julia Babicz, Ash Volk, and Jenna Wild.