Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Harneet Dadrao and Mackenzie Silbernagel could hardly have picked a more timely occasion to notch their first career Canada West goals.
With their University of the Fraser Valley women's soccer squad in search of its first win of the conference campaign on Friday evening at MRC Sports Complex, Dadrao and Silbernagel broke through to boost the Cascades to a 2-1 win over the UNBC Timberwolves.
The result drew the Cascades level with the T-Wolves for sixth place in the Pacific Division, both teams now sporting 1-2-2 records.
"It's great to get our first win," UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht noted. "We're a young team that's faced a tough schedule, we've faced adversity, and I'm really proud of the girls for how hard they worked tonight.
"We played against a very good team – UNBC has improved immensely. They kept the ball well, and they found little pockets where we had to adjust our shape. But once we sorted that out, I think we kind of let them have it in certain areas, but then once they tried to get in more dangerous areas, we did a good job defending and limited their chances. We knew that if we were patient, we could eventually win the ball up the pitch."
The Timberwolves showed their teeth in the first half, weathering an early UFV push before mounting some dangerous forays of their own. The visitors opened the scoring in the 30th minute, as Paige Payne gained possession off a T-Wolves throw-in and launched a blast from the left wing that arced over the fingertips of a leaping Cascades goalkeeper Joven Sandhu and under the crossbar. It was Payne's fourth goal of the season, tying her with UBC's Danielle Steer for the Canada West lead.
The Cascades answered back in short order, though. Usually UFV's midfield playmaker, Dadrao turned finisher after an electric run down the right wing by Jashan Sandhar. The Cascades rookie cut the ball back into the path of sophomore Dadrao, who slotted it home from close range.
Silbernagel, a rookie forward out of Chilliwack, B.C., came off the bench in the 71st minute, and she wasted no time making her presence felt. In the 77th, she took a pass from Tripat Sandhu at the top of the box, made a quick turn, and ripped a shot into the bottom right corner.
"She's a gamer," Giesbrecht said of Silbernagel. "She's got a bright future ahead of her. She's shown in training and in other games that if you give her a bit of time and space, she'll bury it. I'm proud of her, and happy she got it done."
That goal stood up as the game-winner, as Joven Sandhu finished with five saves to earn her first career Canada West win.
Cascades centre back Simi Lehal and UNBC's Payne were named their respective teams' players of the match.
The Cascades are back in action on Saturday at home, hosting the MacEwen Griffins (5:30 p.m., MRC Sports Complex), while the T-Wolves visit the TWU Spartans (5 p.m.).