Women’s Soccer (Canada West Conference play)
UBC Okanagan Heat (0-1-2) vs. UFV Cascades (2-1-0)
|Goals by period||1||2||Tot|
|UBC Okanagan Heat||0||0||0|
KELOWNA, B.C. – Historic first-ever Canada West conference soccer game in Kelowna for the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s soccer team sent the hosts to their first-ever Canada West loss as the visiting Fraser Valley Cascades prevailed, 2-0. The Heat now hold a season record of 0-1-2, while the Cascades move up to 2-1-0.
With the importance of the first-time match resonating with many of the Heat players and the boisterous crowd, UBC Okanagan head coach Claire Paterson spoke highly of her team’s energy and enthusiasm before the game; “The energy from the team was awesome… we were really excited to come out and show what we can do and show that we can be competitive at this next [CIS] level.”
Nerves never played a part for UBC Okanagan as the match was battled in the middle of the field until the 25th minute of the first half when Cascades Tristan Corneil (3rd year, Surrey, BC) sent a bullet into the top right corner of the net from about 40 yards out. “They had a phenomenal first shot that caught our goalie – that one had lasers on it,” said Heat head coach Claire Paterson of the shot by Corneil, that got past first year keeper Francesca Balletta (1st year, Burnaby, BC).
Fifth year veteran Heat keeper Christine Tallon (Kamloops, BC) came into the game late due to a hand injury, giving rookie Francesca Balletta a chance to step up and start the game for the home team. Francesca played solid minutes, maintained a composed demeanor, and held down the fort until Tallon entered the game part way through the first half. Francesca holds high regards for her senior teammate and will no doubt look to Christine for mentorship throughout the season. “I’m her biggest supporter so it was great to see her come in for her home opener,” stated Balletta after the game.
In the early minutes of the second half, a scramble in front of the Heat goal ended with a well-earned goal by Cascades Monika Levarsky (1st year, Surrey, BC) to make it 2-0. The Cascades didn’t look back as they maintained control for the remainder of the game.
The biggest difference seemed to be experience and toughness as the Cascades outplayed the Heat by winning most of the fifty-fifty battles, especially in the second half. Claire Paterson commented that the Heat started to lose their legs in the second half; “We didn’t have control of the ball as much as we would like, so then we couldn’t get into a rhythm. We have to clean that up and make sure we’re maintaining possession once we’ve won the ball.”
Next on the schedule for the Heat is two-time reigning CIS-champion Trinity Western Spartans. The two teams clash on the Nonis Sports Field in Kelowna on Saturday, September 13 at 5 p.m. Paterson expects tomorrow’s game to be highly physical and up-tempo, but is confident that they have nothing to lose in playing the Spartans. “Our team can go out there and just have the freedom to play, unlike the past where we’ve always had the target on our back because we were the top team. [We have] no pressure.”
The Fraser Valley Cascades travel to Kamloops to take on the Thompson River WolfPack on Saturday, September 13 at 5 p.m.
Heat Notes – Goalkeeper Christine Tallon still nursing a broken pinky, but was medically cleared to play for today’s game.