It’s safe to say that UFV‘s Monika Levarsky has bumped the slump.
On Saturday, the third-year forward scored a hat trick for the second straight evening to pace the University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team to a 3-1 victory over the Alberta Pandas at MRC Sports Complex. Levarsky’s scoring outburst came on the heels of a four-goal effort in Friday’s 6-0 win over the UNBC Timberwolves.
The Surrey product had gone scoreless in the first six games of the Canada West regular season; after her seven-goal weekend, she’s suddenly tied for second in the conference and has established a new personal season-best with eight goals.
“I think that this week, I mentally prepared myself better,” Levarsky said. “I didn’t do anything spectacular … I just made sure I was in the zone, made sure I was constantly thinking about the game and what I was going to do to impact it.
“Yesterday (against UNBC) was really motivational … I didn’t want to let down, and I took my opportunities and scored.”
The victory was a huge one for the Cascades, who are battling with the Pandas – among other teams – for seeding in the Pacific Division and were able to put some additional distance between them on Saturday. UFV is second in the Pacific, while Alberta is fifth but has a game in hand.
Levarsky picked up right where she’d left off on Friday – she nearly scored on the Cascades’ very first offensive foray, only to be stopped point-blank.
The Cascades were undeterred, and opened the scoring in the second minute. UFV’s striker duo combined on the play, with Gurneet Dhaliwal slipping a pass through and Levarsky finishing top-corner.
Alberta equalized in the 20th minute on a free kick.
UFV keeper Kayla Klim came up big to keep the score tied, making a number of key saves in the second half.
The Cascades broke through in the 82nd minute. After Danica Kump was taken down in the box, Levarsky stepped to the penalty spot and made no mistake, picking the bottom corner. She completed the hat trick in the 87th after beating an Alberta defender to score on a rebound.
In the aftermath, Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht praised both Levarsky and Klim, who made seven huge saves in the win.
“Moni was getting chances the whole way through a little bit of a scoring slump at the start of the year, and she was creating chances for others too,” he noted. “I was quite pleased with her play, and we were confident the goals were going to come. I’m not sure I was confident she’d get seven in one weekend, but we’ll take that.
“And Kayla steps up big when we’re not playing well … She rose to the occasion, and without that performance from her, the score line’s very different tonight.”
The Cascades hit the road next Friday to face the Pacific Division-leading Trinity Western Spartans.
The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team also shook its scoring slump in emphatic fashion, defeating the Victoria Vikes 3-0 on Saturday evening at MRC Sports Complex.
The Cascades had been shut out in their previous four games, their last goal coming back on Sept. 16 in a 1-0 win over the MacEwan Griffins.
But head coach Tom Lowndes’s charges were clinical on this night, with Daniel Davidson, Michael Mobilio and Justin Sekhon scoring, James Najman picking up two assists, and keeper Alex Skrzeta earning his third clean sheet of the season.
UFV improved to 4-5-1, good for fourth place in the Pacific Division, while sixth-place UVic fell to 3-7-0.
“I think we deserved it tonight – we were quality from start to finish,” Lowndes said. “To get one (goal) in the first half, and then a bit of a lucky second one – which we haven’t had all season – was obviously big. And to get the third one was the icing on the cake.
“Defensively we were solid, limiting them to mainly long-range efforts. I’m really pleased with how the game went.”
Davidson opened the scoring in the 25th minute, to break the scoreless streak for the club.
Lowndes noticed an immediate change in his team’s demeanor once they saw the ball go in.
“They looked completely different, and you could tell the next 10 minutes we wanted to kind of turn it into a bit of a track meet,” he said. “It was end-to-end, so we told them to settle down and get back to the game plan. When we did, we frustrated UVic, and we created opportunities off frustrating them.”
Mobilio scored his first of the campaign in the 52nd minute, and Sekhon rounded out the scoring in the 86th minute.
“I think deep down, we all believed we were going to score,” Davidson said. “We’d been having the chances, but sometimes … you don’t get that bit of luck that takes the ball into the net. I think tonight, we had multiple chances, and we were there ready to finish them. We were hungry.”
The win came off of a 2-0 loss to the UBC Thunderbirds on Friday.
The Cascades are back in action next weekend with a huge home-and-home series with their local rivals, the Trinity Western Spartans. The two teams clash in Langley on Friday and in Abbotsford on Sunday (6 p.m., MRC Sports Complex).