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Cascades sent Vikes to a watery defeat

UFV women's soccer team advances to Canada West Final Four in first playoff victory since 2010.
Monika Levarsky lunges for the ball

The UFV Cascades women’s soccer team defied history and conditions on Saturday by walking onto the Victoria Vikes’ soggy home turf and trouncing their hosts 3-0 in a sudden-death playoff match. The Cascades (7-2-3) were the underdogs when matched up against the nationally fifth-ranked Vikes (8-1-3) in Saturday’s Canada West quarter-final, although the two teams had tied 1-1 in both their meetings this season.

Having lost every quarter-final they’ve played in since their 2010 trip to CIS Nationals, the Cascades didn’t look to have destiny on their side. To make things even more forbidding, UFV lost a similar game to the Vikes two years ago on the exact same field.

“I think it comes down to the players,” said Cascades coach Rob Giesbrecht. “The character they have, the culture we have in our team now.  We were in this spot two years ago, the exact same thing on a rainy, sloppy day in Victoria, and we lost the game 3-0.  A lot of the kids that started that game were first-years then, and now those kids are all third-years, they’ve been through the trenches already.”

‘Rainy’ was an understatement for a game that, by the mid-point of the second half, was essentially underwater.  Standing puddles on the field kept the ball from rolling, while the players were forced to endure a torrential downpour.

Avneet Bhullar scored the Cascades’ first goal of the match in the 35th minute off of a Tristan Cornell corner kick. Bhullar, a rookie in her first start this season, poked the ball home during a scramble in front of the net.

Carley Radomski broke her personal drought in the 38th minute with a rocket of a shot from the top of the box. Not satisfied with just one, she scored a second goal in the 57th minute to put her team ahead 3-0

“It was  a playoff game in very poor conditions, and you’ve just got to make sure that you want it more than your opponent does, and you’re willing to do more, you’re willing to work harder, you’re willing to suffer more,” said Giesbrecht.

Kayla Klim gained the shutout in net for the Cascades, who will play in the Canada West Final Four this weekend at TWU.  UFV will face the Alberta Pandas on Friday, Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m in a semifinal match. The winner of that game will progress to the Canada West finals and is guaranteed a berth at the CIS Nationals (Nov. 6-9 at Laval University, Quebec).

Despite being the only team to beat last years' CIS Champions the UBC Thunderbirds, the Cascades men dropped a 2-1 decision to Victoria on Sunday to end their season.