ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – On a soggy Saturday evening at MRC Sports Complex, the UBC Okanagan Heat rallied in the second half to earn a 1-1 draw with the University of the Fraser Valley women's soccer team.
The host Cascades built a 1-0 lead on a spectacular strike from Brittney Zacharuk in the 16th minute, but were unable to extend their lead despite numerous chances prior to halftime. That left the door open for the Heat, and they took advantage – Ally Ferronato scored on a penalty kick in the 53rd minute to secure a point for her squad.
The Cascades (4-2-2) sit fourth in the Pacific Division, while the Heat (0-6-2) are eighth.
The first goal of the match came off the foot of UFV midfielder Brittney Zacharuk in the 16th minute. Zacharuk's ice-breaking goal intercepted a UBCO clearing attempt and fired away from 30 yards out. The ball soared over the outstretched arms of Heat keeper Francesca Balletta and went bar-down.
Ally Ferronato got the Heat on the board early in the second half, lasering a penalty kick to the high right side past UFV's Emily Harold in the 53rd minute.
The PK was earned when a Heat cross into the box took an bounce off Cascades defender Marianne Spring's knee and hit her in the arm, and the referee award a penalty kick.
Plenty of opportunities
The Cascades in the first 30 minutes had opportunities to extend the lead. Two of them came off the boot of Lexie Gillette, but the UFV forward fired wide in the 24th minute and hit the post in the 28th.
Just after halftime, Harneet Dadrao made a run down the left wing and got another excellent look for the Cascades, but Balletta dove to her right to stop the UFV rookie's hard, low shot.
UBCO carried the play for a good portion in the second half, and appeared to have the go-ahead goal off a free kick. But the referee quickly waved it off – the Heat's Erica Lampert had swatted the ball into the net with her hand, and received a yellow card in the aftermath.
Late in the match the Cascades had several great chances. Most notably, off a Dadrao corner, Balletta got her hands on the ball and tipped it off the crossbar, and Lehal's follow-up effort from point-blank range went over the net.
A pair of Heat chances in the 89th minute, on a Ferronato corner and a Mackenzie Pfoh header that sailed high, were not enough to break the deadlock for the visitors, and the final whistle blew with the ball at midfield and the score 1-1.
Heat keeper Francesca Balleta was the busier on the night as she fended off seven of eight shots on goal, of 19 total shots for the Cascades.
In net for the Cascades was Emily Harold, who stopped two out of three shots on goal against her, out of eight total shots recorded for the Heat. The UBCO marker was the first goal conceded by the Cascades in five games – a span of 423 minutes (or more than seven hours of game-play) since Lethbridge's Lindsay Amatto scored against UFV in the 80th minute on Sept. 16.
The UBC Okanagan Heat's (0-6-2) next matches will be their annual home-and-home series against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack (1-7-0), with matches scheduled for 5 p.m. PDT on Thursday, October 5th in Kelowna, and 2 p.m. PDT on Saturday, October 7th in Kamloops.
UFV is back in action this coming week with a home-and-home set vs. the Trinity Western Spartans – 5 p.m. at TWU on Friday, and 2 p.m. at MRC Sports Complex on Sunday.
~ with notes from Dan Kinvig, UFV Cascades