The University of the Fraser Valley soccer teams warmed up for the regular season with an eight-day trip to California.
The Cascades men’s and women’s squads suited up for a series of exhibition scrimmages in Los Angeles and San Diego, with pit stops to visit local beaches and the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park.
Because of American intercollegiate rules, scores cannot be reported for the informal scrimmages, but the experience was more important than numbers in the win/loss columns.
The UFV women took on two National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) teams (The Master’s College Mustangs and the Hope International University Royals) and two NCAA Div. II sides (Cal State L.A. Golden Eagles and the UC San Diego Tritons).
Third-year keeper Kayla Klim, recently returned from a summer competing with the W-League’s Seattle Sounders, was outstanding for the Cascades through all four games. In the midfield, co-captain Kara Delwo played her first competitive soccer in over a year after returning from ACL surgery, and fourth-year striker Shelby Beck and rookie Lauren Venhola both scored twice on the trip.
“In the two games against the NAIA teams we were able to balance our playing time among the 25 players we brought on the trip,” said coach Rob Giesbrecht. “We had two outstanding matches versus the NCAA teams, which was critical because both those teams provide the quality athleticism, technical ability and pace of play that we will face when we compete against the top teams in Canada West.”
The Cascades men’s team took on the Biola University Eagles and the Azusa Pacific University Cougars (both NCAA Div. II programs), as well as L.A. Misioneros FC of the Premier Development League.
Third-year striker James Najman scored a goal in all three matches, while Mason Woochuk posted a shutout against the Misioneros. Rookies Tammer Byrne, Harry Owen, Grant Fadden and Mason Thompson also stood out.
“I am pleased with the progress of the team during the trip – especially of the rookies,” said coach Alan Errington. “The team spirit is high and the players are getting along great, bonding well. The team was great on the trip and have enjoyed their time in Los Angeles, but are itching to get started in league play.”
The Cascades open the Canada West regular season this weekend. They hit the road to take on the Trinity Western Spartans on Friday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.), and host the UBC Thunderbirds on Sunday at Abbotsford Senior Secondary’s Panther Field (women 12 p.m., men 2 p.m.).