The UFV Cascades women’s soccer team left the fate of their season to the unforgiving hand of penalty kicks, and it didn’t end well for the home side.
UFV lost 5-3 in penalty kicks to the UVic Vikes at Abbotsford Senior Secondary on Saturday to put an end to the 2015 season. The two teams played 120 minutes of scoreless soccer before the UVic keeper made a save to eliminate the Cascades for good.
Women’s team head coach Rob Giesbrecht said the loss was hard to swallow but that it was a positive year overall.
“PK’s (penalty kicks) are always a tough way to lose,” he said. “But it’s part of the game and I’m really happy with how my team played. I thought we were the better team in the 90 minutes and because of injuries we lost our legs a little bit in the extra time.”
The Cascades had their chances, with midfielder Brittany Zacharuk ringing a shot off the crossbar in the 35th minute. Forward Monika Levarasky was also robbed in the 58th minute when the Vikes keeper stopped her at close range.
Cascades goalie Kayla Klim kept the Cascades alive in the extra time, making a game-saving stop in the dying moments of the second period of extra time. Giesbrecht said Klim should be commended for her strong play.
“She’s an unbelievable keeper and we’re lucky to have her,” he said. “PK’s are so tough on a keeper and she deserved better.”
It was the final game for fifth-year veterans Shelby Beck, Jade Palm and Dayle Jeras, who ended their college careers with the loss.
Giesbrecht said they have been the backbones of the program.
“They’ve been everything and have given so much and that’s why it hurts so much,” he said. “When you invest that much time in something it’s going to sting when it ends. They always battled so hard and led our team well.”
Giesbrecht said he was proud of the Cascades’ record of eight wins, four losses and two ties.
Meanwhile, the Cascades men’s soccer team is moving on after a 4-3 win in Edmonton on Saturday.
Fourth-year forward Connor MacMillan scored the game-winning goal in the 84th minute to help the Cascades eliminate the University of Alberta Golden Bears.
UFV built leads of 2-0 and 3-1 in the second half, but the Bears managed to tie the game up at three in the 81st minute. MacMillan’s second goal of the game in the 84th minute sealed the deal.
Kree Byrne and Elijah Sampson scored the other two goals for the Cascades.
“We could have caved because of the goals we conceded and how unlucky we were, but we battled as a team,” said UFV head coach Tom Lowndes. “I couldn’t be more proud of their effort.”
With the win, UFV advances to the Canada West Final Four, hosted by the UBC Thunderbirds this weekend.
They take on the host T-Birds in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. A win would not only send the Cascades on to the conference gold medal game, it would also punch their ticket to the CIS national championship, hosted by York University in Toronto from Nov. 12 to 15.