By Jamie Umbach, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s soccer team ended their Canada West regular season with a tense 2-2 draw against the Fraser Valley Cascades at Centennial Stadium on Oct. 24. The draw means that the Cascades will host their first home play-off game in their history in the Canada West Quarter-Finals on Oct. 31, and their opponent will be the very same Vikes team they secured it against.
Two goals off of two corners for the Vikes from Emily Lieuwen and Stephanie Badilla-Gutierrez erased an early one-goal lead for the Cascades off a 9th minute goal from first-year midfielder Brittney Zacharuk. The Cascades tied it up in the 81st minute through Amanda Carruthers to secure the point they needed to secure play-off hosting rights.
Vikes goalkeeper Meaghan Storie saved the game for the Vikes late as the Cascades pushed for a winner. Storie made nine saves, including two big stops late to help the Vikes leave with a point on the night. Her counterpart Kayla Klim made five saves – stopping a resilient Vikes team that drove dangerous crosses and passes through the box all game.
“It’s unfortunate we couldn’t hold on to the three points to get our home crowd in the play-offs,” said Vikes women’s soccer head coach Tracy David. “We’ll be ready to do the work when the time comes. This league is tough and doesn’t get easier.”
The Vikes and Cascades entered the game with hopes of securing Canada West Quarter-Final hosting rights after both teams had already secured berths in the post-season. Fraser Valley led the Vikes by one point with 25 points for third place and the final hosting spot. The Vikes and Alberta Pandas were hot on their heels with 24 and 22 points, respectively, with one game to play.
Before the game, the Vikes celebrated the graduation of two fifth-year athletes – forward Emma Greig and midfielder Shannon Elder – who played their final regular season games as Vikes. The two veterans have been stars in the Vikes line-up over their five years of play, coming to the end of great university athletic careers as Vikes.
Fraser Valley jumped on the Vikes early, eventually earning the first goal of the game in the 9thminute. First-year Cascade Zacharuk struck a shot nicely that beat Storie on the near post for the 1-0 lead.
Three minutes later, the Vikes equalized on a corner kick swung in by fourth-year Vike midfielder Sarah Douglas. A scramble ensued after the ball was headed down, and Lieuwen got the final foot to the ball as she beat Klim to equalize 1-1.
The Vikes then took the lead off their second goal from a corner in the 25th minute. After the Cascades cleared the ball, Badilla-Gutierrez hammered the clearance off the crossbar and down across the line by mere inches. It was a bullet of a shot that gave the Vikes the lead 2-1 into half-time.
Shots were in the Vikes favour 7-6 at the half. Corners were a big factor, with the Vikes converting off two of their five attempts.
Off the restart, the Cascades looked most dangerous. A headed effort from Cascade Monika Levarsky off a free-kick struck the crossbar with force. The Vikes cleared the ball to safety subduing the panic following the ball striking the crossbar. An ensuing corner came close again, skimming the top of the crossbar after being swung in by fifth-year Cascade Jade Palm.
Fraser Valley continued to apply the pressure, sending ball after ball towards Storie but failing to find the target. The Cascades would find the referee’s book first on the night as well, with a yellow card issued to Levarsky in the 71st minute.
Storie had to be sharp in the 76th minute when Zacharuk tried from distance, forcing Storie to push the ball over the bar for a corner.
In the 81st minute, Fraser Valley was awarded for their persistence. A Shelby Beck pass across the box came to the far side for Carruthers to blast home, evening the score 2-2 and making things tense in the final minutes.
The tension was amplified when Fraser Valley was awarded a penalty in the box off a handball by the Vikes. Beck stepped up to take it, but rolled her shot wide of the post and a diving Storie to keep the score 2-2.
The fans at Centennial Stadium witnessed a thrilling game for both sides, which ended 2-2.
“It was a very aggressive game and (Fraser Valley) came at us and pressed,” said David on her team’s future quarter-final opponent. “They were tough, strong and physical. I thought we bit a few times and need to be more disciplined. We didn’t help ourselves out in the late stages of the game.”
The Vikes and Cascades await the official scheduling of their quarter-final match-up that will take place on Oct. 31. That game can be streamed live on canadawest.tv
1 2 F
UVIC: 2 0 2
UFV: 1 1 2
UVIC: Emily Lieuwen (12′), Stephanie Badilla-Gutierrez (34′)
UFV: Brittany Zacharuk (10′), Amanda Carruthers (81′)
UVIC: Meaghan Storie
UFV: Brittney Zacharuk
UFV: Monika Levarsky (Yellow card)