By Dan Kinvig, UFV Cascades Communications
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – After 120 scoreless minutes of regulation and overtime settled nothing, the University of Victoria Vikes women’s soccer team defeated the Fraser Valley Cascades 5-3 in penalty kicks to move on to the Canada West Final Six, hosted next weekend in Saskatchewan. Stephanie Badilla Gutierrez scored eventual fifth penalty shot that sealed the deal.
The Vikes posted five shots on goal, while keeper Meaghan Storie made six saves in the game. Storie made a critical save on Fraser Valley’s second penalty kick, taken by Shelby Beck, to seal the victory. For her efforts Storie was named the Vikes’ game most valuable player. Sarah Douglas, Shannon Elder, Emma Greig and Kiara Kilbey also scored on their penalty kicks.
The Cascades had a strong performance from midfielder Sunayna Samra, named the home side’s MVP for the match, while Monika Levarsky, Brittany Zacharuk and Tristan Corneil were the lone three Cascades scorers to convert from the spot. This marks the end for the Fraser Valley side’s 2015 Canada West campaign.
The Cascades carried most of the play in a scoreless first half, putting three shots on net and earning five corner kicks, but Storie kept Fraser Valley off the scoresheet.
Cascades keeper Klim replied with a big save of her own, turning away an effort on net by the Vikes’ Mia Gunter to ensure her team entered halftime level.
The best chance of the half came in the 33rd minute when Cascades midfielder Zacharuk lifted a shot on net from distance. Storie rose up and tipped the ball off the crossbar before a Vikes defender was able to clear the ball away into touch.
In the 59th minute, Cascades sophomore striker Levarsky had a great chance to open the scoring after Beck played her in behind the Vikes’ defence. Levarsky cut into the box and had a try on goal but Storie read the play quickly, broke off her line to cut down the shooting angle, and parried the ball away. Cascades midfielder Amanda Carruthers, who had followed the play in, had a secondary shot at goal but it bounced wide of the left post.
A rare call in the 72nd minute gave the Vikes a great opportunity to take the lead, when the Cascades were whistled for playing the ball while on the ground at the edge of their own six-yard box. Vikes midfielder Douglas tapped the ball to Badilla Gutierrez who drove the ball on net against an assemblage of Cascades. Fraser Valley, who had formed a nine-woman wall across the goal line, managed to block the ball’s path.
Once again the teams could not find a way through the keepers over the course of 45 minutes, giving the fans in attendance a taste of CIS play-off overtime.
The best chance of overtime was generated by the Vikes, as fifth-year veteran Greig got on the end of a cross in the box and fired a volley labeled for the bottom corner. Klim ranged to her left to make a spectacular save and push the ball wide keeping the game still scoreless.
In penalty kicks, Storie gave the Vikes the advantage with her stop on Beck. Klim nearly answered with a save of her own on Kilbey, Victoria’s fourth shooter, but the low shot beat Klim in the bottom corner for a 4-2 lead for Victoria. Corneil buried Fraser Valley’s fourth shot in the bottom right corner setting the stage for Victoria to be up 4-3 entering the fifth and final round of shooters.
Badilla Gutierrez, the Vikes’ final shooter, sealed the victory, burying her shot from the spot into the top left corner. The goal ignited the visitors’ celebration as the Vikes now advance to the Canada West Final Six. The Vikes, now the No. 3 rank from the West, will cross-over with the No. 2 ranked Calgary Dinos at 9:00 a.m. pacific time on Nov. 5.
UBC and hosts Saskatchewan advance straight to the semifinals, played on Nov. 7, while the gold and bronze medal games will be played on Nov. 8. All games will be at Potash Corp Park and hosted by the Saskatchewan Huskies in Regina, Sask. Games will be live broadcast at canadawest.tv.