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Rainy day blues for Cascades soccer

Chris Cornell may have sung it, but the Cascades were living it last Saturday as the women’s soccer team missed a win for the sixth straight game. More accurately, they missed a win by three agonizing minutes in what was one of the darkest (and wettest) stretches of play this season.

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By Paul Esau (The Cascade) – Email

Date Posted: October 27, 2011
Print Edition: October 26, 2011

Somedays just ain’t so easy.

Chris Cornell may have sung it, but the Cascades were living it last Saturday as the women’s soccer team missed a win for the sixth straight game. More accurately, they missed a win by three agonizing minutes in what was one of the darkest (and wettest) stretches of play this season. For the previous 81 minutes, the Cascades (3-6-3) were leading the University of Victoria Vikes (5-4-3) by a score of 1-0, but two fast goals from Vikes midfielder Shannon Elder stole the game and the three points from an astonished UFV side.

“It’s been a frustrating year and a frustrating day,” said UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht after the final whistle. “We play well, we get chances, we give up stuff late… Full credit to UVic they battled to the end and they exposed us twice.”

“Frustrating” was the perfect word for a match (and weather) that started off fairly sunny. UFV struck first with a goal from forward Ellen Kuyer in the 19th minute, and followed up the tally with a dominating series of attacks into Vike territory. The Cascades’ Carly Neeson also looked dangerous, coming close to extending the lead on several strikes, while also being an obvious exasperation for Victoria’s defence. One of her attacks in the mid-half was a beauty to behold, a series of quick touches culminating in a deft pass to Megan Webster at the top of the box. Only a brilliant save from the opposing keep prevented Neeson from picking up an assist on the play.

But not all was peaches and cream at Bateman Park. As the clouds rolled in the Vikes seemed to find their stride, and though they managed few shots, each had the potential to change the game. UFV keep Chantelle Biagioni outdid herself, despite being hammered by an opposing player apparently unaware that play stops when the keep grabs the ball. The momentum evened out as Victoria gained confidence from UFV’s inability to score, and slowly, gruelingly, the play turned in their favour.

By the start of the second half rain was falling in fits and bursts, and this reporter was forced to exchange his leather jacket for something less sexy and more waterproof. Women slipped and slid with alarming regularity on the new-birthed mud, and the ball skittered across the pitch like a mad march hare. The pristine white of the Cascades’ uniforms was marred and marred again each time the players were forced to pull themselves from the muck, and still the Vikes gained strength. From then on it was only a matter of time.

“We defended well, maybe we showed a little youth in the end,” admitted Giesbrecht. “Let a girl free on a cross and she finished and we panicked a little bit… We let them hang around and hang around, we got to learn that lesson… we got to turn those chances into goals. That’s the cruelty of soccer, it doesn’t matter how well you play you gotta be putting the ball in the back of the net.”

The three graduating UFV players—Ellen Kuyer, Megan Webster and Emma Broadfoot—were honoured before the game for their contributions to the program and to the team. Each were given a bouquet of flowers during the ceremony, although only Kuyer was able to celebrate the occasion with a goal (her second of the season).

“It’s sad,” Kuyer said of her upcoming departure from the team. “It’s like the end of an era.”

Yet Kuyer is hopeful about the future of the UFV squad. “This year we have a lot of new players, a lot of learning going on,” she said. “I think in a couple years this team will be really good, but this was definitely a learning year for a lot of players.”

The Cascades play their final game of season in Victoria on October 29, once again against the Vikes.

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