ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - UBCO had their best offensive performance of the season but still found themselves on the short side of the scoreline as the home Fraser Valley women's soccer team outlasted the Heat 4-2 in the final match of the conference schedule.
The Heat, see their campaign come to an end with a 1-12-1 record, eighth in the Pacific Division. They had some notable player milestones on Saturday, as Erica Reis and Jillian Hunt both scored their first goals in Canada West play.
Hunt's goal in the third minute had staked the visitors to an early lead, but the lead was short-lived as Brittney Zacharuk celebrated her final home game with the University of the Fraser Valley women's soccer team by carving out yet another slice of program history.
The fifth-year winger's goal in the 28th minute was her seventh of the season and 23rd of her career, giving her a share of the Cascades' all-time goal-scoring record, tied with Monika Levarsky (2014-2016). Earlier this fall, Zacharuk had claimed sole possession of UFV's marks for career assists and points, wrapping up her regular-season career with 19 and 42, respectively.
Katie Lampen also had a big night for the Cascades, scoring twice to finish with seven goals, tops among rookies in the Canada West conference and tied with Zacharuk for the team lead. Cascades took over after Hunt's goal, with Lampen's brace plus Zacharuk's single giving UFV a 3-1 lead at the break.
The Cascades went up 4-1 in the 52nd minute when an errant UBCO pass sliced into the net for an own goal, and Reis rounded out the scoring in the 82nd.
With both of the Heat's regular goalkeepers out due to injury, rookie midfielder Catriona McFadden was pressed into action between the pipes. She finished with four saves. Andrea Perkovic and Kareena Sahota – making her CW debut – shared the GK duties for the Cascades.
Smith said that despite their final record, there was much for the Heat to build on moving forward.
"Results-wise, you know where we are in the standings. But the group, the way we want to play the game, a lot of games we really played well and controlled the ball – and then maybe just a set-piece we'd get caught on," he said, noting his team's 1-0 losses to powerhouses Calgary and UBC. "I'm very proud of them."
Zacharuk – who was honoured in a pregame Senior Night ceremony – exited the game in the 30th minute, greeted on the sideline by warm embraces from Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht and, in a classy gesture, UBCO bench boss Craig Smith.
"That's pretty cool," Giesbrecht said, reflecting on Zacharuk's latest team record. "It shows her consistency and her productivity. I'm really happy – she only played 30 minutes, obviously with two yellow cards we wanted to be safe (and avoid a suspension for three yellows) for the playoffs next weekend. We rested a few other girls as well, and we were able to play a lot of girls who haven't played a lot this year, and that's good for us too."
The Cascades (4-5-5) are playoff-bound as the fifth seed out of the Pacific Division, and for the third year in a row, they'll be in a quadrant hosted by the Trinity Western Spartans. They'll play the fourth seed from the Prairie Division in the first round – either the Alberta Pandas or the Manitoba Bisons, depending on how Sunday's game between Alberta and the Saskatchewan Huskies shakes out. The first-round winner moves on to face the host Spartans in the quarter-finals.
~ Dan Kinvig, UFV Cascades