Whatever it takes.
That’s been a UFV women’s soccer team motto all year, as they’ve pushed to be stronger, faster, and grittier than their opponents. It’s been the theme in interview after interview, practice after practice, echoed from the mouths of players and coaches alike.
This weekend the Cascades showed they have what it takes, guaranteeing themselves a berth in next weekend’s CIS National Championships in Laval, Quebec, where they will compete as one of the last eight teams standing.
UFV won the opportunity by finishing with a silver medal at the Canada West Final Four tournament over the weekend. The Cascades knocked off the Prairie Division champions, the Alberta Pandas, 1-0, before falling 2-1 to the host TWU Spartans in the final.
The squad attended the national championship for the first time in 2010 in coach Rob Giesbrecht’s inaugural year, a trip that culminated with the first CIS medal won by any UFV team (a bronze). Not a single player on the Cascades’ current roster was part of that legendary squad, indeed the current roster doesn’t include a single fifth-year player.
Friday, on a foggy Halloween night at TWU’s Rogers Field, UFV managed the only goal of the match in the 71st minute. Carley Radomski’s slick pass found striker Shelby Beck in full stride, and she chipped it past onrushing Pandas keeper Kelti Biggs and into the bottom corner of the net.
The Pandas had a series of free kicks and corners in the dying minutes, but UFV defenders Dayle Jeras, Jade Palm and Tristan Corneil repeatedly cleared the ball out of harm’s way. Klim finished with three saves for the shutout, her second in two games after a 3-0 quarter-final demolishing of the Victoria Vikes on Oct. 25.
On Saturday, goals by TWU’s Jennifer Castillo, in the 24th minute, and Jessica King, in the 61st, staked the Spartans to a 2-0 lead. The Cascades refused to quit, though, and cut the deficit in half on another of Beck’s strikes in the 72nd minute.
Klim turned in a spectacular 10-save performance and was named the Cascades’ player of the game. “I personally believe she’s the best goalie in the league, hands-down,” said central defender Dayle Jeras, who plays directly in front of Klim. It’s a belief that was echoed by Giesbrecht.
Courtesy of her two-goal weekend, Shelby Beck regains her position as UFV’s scoring leader. “She’s a kid that was on the fringes of the team her first two years,” said Giesbrecht, who is very proud of Beck’s progression as a player. “She scored twice against TWU a couple weeks ago, she scored the winning goal against Alberta, she scored the goal [in Saturday’s final].”
The Cascades were also honoured with a record-breaking three individual awards during the Canada West banquet in Langley on Thursday. Midfielder Cara Delwo picked up a first team all-star, striker Monika Levarsky was awarded a second team all-star. Klim was honoured with the Canada West Student-Athlete Community Service Award for her work at the UFV Baker House Residence and her participation in October’s “Brave the Shave” initiative in support of the Canadian Cancer Society.
UFV has only had one other Canada West award (a second team all-star) in the last five years of the program.
While the team left for Quebec on Monday, they don’t play their first game until 4 p.m EST against the Memorial University Sea-Hawks (Newfoundland and Labrador).
“A lot of teams, especially eastern teams, won’t really know what we can do. because again we’re going to come in as number ten ranked,” said Jeras. “They’re going to underestimate us like everyone else does and they’re not going to know what hit them.”