Scrambling to score a goal for the most of the match, the UBC Okanagan Heat finally found the back of the net in the 88th minute after Mairi Horth (Ladysmith) chested a ball in following a Justine Drosdovech (Kelowna, BC) free kick that resulted in a scramble in front of the UNBC net. With the late goal the Heat women’s soccer team play the Timberwolves to a (1-1) draw on the NCSSL fields in Prince George.
With the tie UBC Okanagan remain unbeaten through their first three Canada West conference matches and now boast a record of (1-0-2). This was the conference opener for the Timberwolves (0-0-1) and in heartbreaking fashion they just miss out on their third conference win since joining Canada West in 2012.
Timberwolves captain Sydney Hall (Prince George) drew first blood for UNBC, in the 25th minute, as Sydney intercepted a UBC Okanagan clearing attempt, then broke in and fired a shot just out of the reach of Heat keeper Joella Koblischke (Lake Country) to give UNBC a 1-0 edge.
Prior to the goal neither team established any sustained offense in the early going, though the Heat typically dominated possession in the attacking third of the Timberwolves end.
However, UNBC’s keeper, Jordan Hall, twin of the UNBC goal scorer, stood tall in the early going, using her aggression to ensure the game remained scoreless.
After UNBC went up by one UBC Okanagan tried to press for an equalizer before the first half, but Jordan Hall withstood the pressure in net to take the 1-0 advantage into halftime. In the 58th minute the Heat got a great opportunity to draw even, only to have the play called back on an offside whistle.
UBC Okanagan continued to pour on the pressure as the half went on, but still, nothing was going for them.
“There was no connection or flow to our play in the first half, turned into kick and chase,” explained head coach Claire Paterson. Paterson was happy her team was able to score the late goal and points out the quality of play of a pair of first year players. “Bright spot is that we played much better in the second half ,” she finished, “and [we received] some wonderful performances from Maddy [Madelyn Ellis] and Ally [Ferronato].”
The Timberwolves had a pair of golden opportunities to potentially ice the game in the final 10 minutes, but a shot from Kaitlin Godsoe (Prince George) just missed to the left, while Tianna Rossi (Prince George, B.C.) hurried her shot after a cross, missing wide right.
The home squad got its second wind in the final 10 minutes of the match, but the tide turned for UBC Okanagan with a foul resulting in a free kick for the Heat that led to the late goal.
UNBC will complete its home opening weekend on Sunday, Sept. 13 against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack (1-1-1) at noon. The Timberwolves and WolfPack met in exhibition play on August 28, with Thompson Rivers emerging with the 2-1 victory.
The Heat will travel to Edmonton to play the Alberta Pandas on Sunday at 11 a.m. PST. Tonight the Pandas played to a draw (1-1) with the TRU WolfPack.
Heat men lose opener
An early second half goal for the Cascades proved to be too large a deficit for the UBC Okanagan men’s soccer team to overcome in their home opener. On Saturday afternoon the visitors from Fraser Valley escaped Kelowna with a 2-0 victory on the Nonis Sport Field.
Fraser Valley player of the match Kree Byrnes sealed the game with a brilliant goal, after weaving through the Heat defense seconds into the second half. His goal was assisted by James Najman.
The game winning goal for the Cascades was scored by Connor Macmillan (unassisted) in the 22nd minute, calmly finding his chance past UBC Okanagan goaltender Tait Cuthill.
Cuthill made four tough saves in the first half and he utilized his ability and size to hold on the ball and command his defense, keeping the score within one through the first half.
UBC Okanagan had some outstanding chances to cut into the Cascade lead throughout the second half. Brandon McCallum, a senior defender from Yorkton, SK., had two outstanding opportunities to influence the scoreline.
McCallum headed the ball off of a set piece, only to hit the post. He also found the ball near his foot with a nearly empty net but was unable to finish.
Late in the game Jadan Wong found himself on the end of a long Cuthill clear, but was unable to control the ball and Cascades keeper Alex Skrzeta was able to make the save. Skrzeta finished with the clean sheet and the win.
After a determined start to the season, the Heat will be on their home turf once against tomorrow (Sunday, Sept. 13) looking to bounce back against Trinity Western. Kickoff is once again at 2 p.m.