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WINNIPEG, MB – The UBC Okanagan women’s soccer team are off to a great start to their 2015-16 Canada West conference season after playing the Manitoba Bisons to a 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon on the University of Manitoba Turf Fields. With the result in Winnipeg the Heat open the season with a win and a tie and earn four important points in the standings on a tough and long road trip to the Keystone Province.

Kaylin Ferguson earned praise from her coach after her effort in Friday’s game against Winnipeg, the 5’4″ force of nature from Pickering, Ontario was a key instigator in the Heat generating 21 shots against the Wesmen in the opening match. On Saturday against a Manitoba team that also won its Friday matchup, a 4-0 dousing of the visiting TRU WolfPack, Ferguson was more than just an instigator as she notched the first and only goal for the Heat.

Kaylin’s goal, her first CIS regular season goal, came from the right side of the box, after being set up by second year forward Courtney Hemmerling, she bent a gorgeous ball into the far corner beating the Manitoba keeper back post to put the Kelonwa squad up at halftime.

UBC Okanagan finished the Saturday game with 24 shots compared to 18 by Manitoba, Kaylin has already amassed 12 shots in the first two games. In 2014-15 there were only six players that accumulated more than 12 shots over the entire season. Courtney Hemmerling led the Heat last year with 35, she has six already this year.

Claire Paterson, in her eighth year as coach for the women’s soccer squad at UBC Okanagan was “happy with our weekend and pleased to come home with four out six points. We have now set the tone for our season as we look to build from the positive and refine some elements as we look toward the next set of games.” Both Manitoba and UBC Okanagan end the weekend with (1-0-1) records.

The road trip will continue for the Heat as they travel to Prince George and Edmonton next weekend for a Friday (Sep. 11) night game against UNBC (7 p.m. PST) and then a Sunday (Sep. 13) match, for the first time ever, against the Alberta Pandas at 11 a.m. PST.

Manitoba was able to tie the game after the Heat “had a lapse coming out after the half,” explained Paterson. The Bisons were able to take advantage of the early lapse and in the 48th minute Alana Shaw scored her first CIS goal, getting an assist from Selina Speranza. Heat keeper Joella Koblischke made the original save but Shaw scored from the left side of the box on the rebound.

With winds dying down just before kick off, both teams came out aggressively with goal scoring chances. “We were threatening going forward creating some good chances,” Paterson notes, adding that “the team did well coming out and executing our game plan.”

Manitoba had the first opportunity at the nine-minute mark, as Alyssa Robinson put an impressive cross into the box for Bruna Mavignier – already with a pair of goals this weekend – but the attempt was cleared at the last minute.

Bisons goalkeeper Chloe Werle was busy after that, fending off a particularly tough Michelle Smith shot in the 28th minute. Defender Elyce Molyneaux also saved the Bisons, getting a head on a cross that sailed over Werle in the 32nd minute, one that would’ve surely ended in a Hemmerling goal.

After Manitoba knotted the score up at one opportunities followed for both squads, but neither could capitalize. UBC Okanagan midfielder Madelyn Ellis had an open shot in the 61st minute from the top of the box, but sent it wide left. Ellis would get another chance 20 minutes later, but a more difficult shot went over the net.

The player of the match for the Heat was freshman centre-back Lindsey Berthelson. Paterson may have found a quality young back field combo with Berthesen and second year Emma Nelsen, praising the pair adding that she “was very impressed with the new centre-back partnership of Emma [Nelsen] and Lindsey [Berthelsen]. Both matches they were fantastic.”

Manitoba now looks forward to two weekends on the road. Their next game is on Saturday, September 12 at 1 p.m. CST, as they’ll take on the Saskatchewan Huskies in Saskatoon. On Sunday, September 13 at the same time, they’ll be in Regina to play the Cougars.