By Marcus Miller, Photos by Joel Belizario (ISN Edmonton)
October 7, 2012, Edmonton, AB – In the first match of their two-game weekend home stand, the No.8 University of Alberta Pandas tied the No.10 University of British Columbia Thunderbirds 0-0 Saturday afternoon at Foote Field.
The Pandas, sitting in 5th place heading into Canada West women’s soccer action, now sport a record of 4-0-3 after missing an opportunity to make up some ground on their west-coast rivals. UBC, meanwhile, remains third in the conference.
Pandas midfielder Carleigh Miller shields the ball from Thunderbirds midfielder Tamara Roughead at Foote Field, Edmonton, Alberta on October 6th, 2012 (Photo: Joel Belizario / Island Sports News).
The Pandas and T-Birds traded only a handful of chances through a match that featured physical play, stingy defence and solid goaltending. Alberta third-year goalkeeper Keltie Biggs made nine saves for her fourth shut out of the season, while T-Bird keeper Alyssa Williamson only had to stop one ball to tie the Canada West shutout lead with her fifth in 2012.
Thunderbirds forward Taryn Lim attempts to block a pass by Pandas defender Fallon Dickie at Foote Field, Edmonton, Alberta on October 6th, 2012 (Photo: Joel Belizario / Island Sports News).
The Pandas missed a fortuitous opportunity to go ahead seven minutes into the first half as a broken play just outside the Thunderbird 18-yard box saw the ball land on the foot of Alberta striker and Edmonton-native Kayla Michaels, who ripped a rising shot off the crossbar. Alberta’s bad luck continued in the 21st minute when Briony Buchanan’s arcing shot struck the crossbar and landed on the goal line before Williamson recovered.
Pandas defender Annalise Schellenberg fights off a challenge from Thunderbirds forward Taryn Lim at Foote Field, Edmonton, Alberta on October 6th, 2012 (Photo: Joel Belizario / Island Sports News).
Alberta and British Columbia battled for possession throughout the second half, but it was Biggs who will garner the most credit for keeping the score deadlocked at zero. She made the save-of-the-game in the 72nd minute after a defensive breakdown in Pandas’ territory led to a UBC two-on-one, where striker Rachael Sawer, who gave Panda defenders fits all game, saw her low-shot turned away by the diving Panda keeper.
Pandas defender Fallon Dickie scrambles to clear the ball from the 6-yard box while Thunderbirds forward Janine Frazao pursues at Foote Field, Edmonton, Alberta on October 6th, 2012 (Photo: Joel Belizario / Island Sports News).
The Pandas return to the Foote Field pitch tomorrow at 12 p.m. in their toughest test of the season, as they take on the undefeated and Canada West-leading Trinity Western University Spartans.