The UFV Cascades women’s soccer team fought their way into the consolation final last Sunday in the CIS national championship in Quebec City, but walked away without a medal after surrendering an early lead to the eventual bronze medallists, the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
The Cascades outshot Ottawa 16-6 in the first half, and were obviously the better team through 45 minutes. Defender Jade Palm scored in the 19th minute, heading the ball home on a Tristan Corneill corner, but UFV couldn’t capitalize on any of their other chances in the half.
The Gee-Gees turned the tables in the second, scoring on a penalty kick in the 71st minute, and then again in the 90th on their way to a 2-1 victory.
“We never really regained a foothold in the game,” UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht said afterward. “I guess we’re paying the price for not getting more goals in the first half, because we were absolutely fantastic.”
UFV dropped their semifinal match to the eventual CIS champions, the Laval Rouge et Or (Quebec City), by a score of 3-0. The Cascades kept the game scoreless through 70 minutes, largely thanks to a heroic performance from goalkeeper Kayla Klim, but Laval managed three goals in the second half to ensure their place in the finals.
Klim stopped eight shots, including multiple breakaways, in a game where the Cascades were consistently back on their heels. In retrospect, holding Laval to three goals was an impressive accomplishment, as the Quebec squad went on to demolish the Trinity Western University Spartans 5-0 in the championship game.
UFV won its Thursday quarterfinal match against the Memorial Sea-Hawks (St. John’s, Nfld.) by a score of 2-1, with the critical goal coming in overtime. The Cascades led for much of the game, outshooting Memorial 35-19, but couldn’t manage to extend their lead beyond a single goal.
Danica Kump opened the scoring for the Cascades in the 50th minute after a Memorial clearing attempt hit her in the box. She turned and fired a low shot under the diving Sea-Hawks keeper to give UFV the lead. It was redemption for a rebound in the first half that Kump had sent sailing over an open net.
The Cascades would miss several gaping nets in the game, an unfortunate trend that allowed Memorial a chance to redeem themselves in the final minutes. Sea-Hawks midfielder Hannah Rivken scored in the 82nd minute to tie the game at one and force overtime.
Battling a change in momentum, UFV could have given up on a game they clearly deserved to be winning, but instead the Cascades persevered in extra time. Striker Carley Radomski scored in the first half of OT to return the lead to UFV, and the Cascades successfully defended their advantage to the end.
While UFV was unable to match the team’s legendary bronze-medal performance in 2010, fans can rest comfortably in the knowledge that every single player is eligible to return next season for another crack at the championship.
As Giesbrecht noted after the consolation final loss, the only three teams to beat UFV this season were the conference champions from Canada West (Trinity Western), Quebec (Laval) and Ontario (Ottawa). All three teams won national medals and UFV made each work for their victories.
“It’s just been an awesome experience,” Giesbrecht said. “Sure, we go home in fourth, but we’re fourth in the country. We get to go out of here with our heads held high.”