Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – The MacEwan Griffins capped a memorable road swing through the Fraser Valley with a 3-0 victory over the UFV Cascades on Saturday evening.
Coming off a highly impressive 3-2 win over the U SPORTS No. 1-ranked Trinity Western Spartans on Friday, the Griffins transferred their red-hot play to MRC Sports Complex, exploding for three goals in a 10-minute span in the first half.
Raeghan McCarthy, Jamie Erickson and Sarah Riddle scored, and Emily Burns posted the shutout for MacEwan, which improved to 4-1-1, good for third place in the Pacific Division. The sixth-place Cascades fell to 1-3-2.
"It's not an easy road trip, and we're ecstatic to be going back home over the mountains with six points," said Griffins coach Dean Cordeiro.
"This is either (number) one or two of the hardest road trips you can possibly go on, and play two very, very good universities in Fraser Valley as well as Trinity.
"We knew it wasn't going to get any easier today. Rob has his team well-organized . . . they've had a tough schedule to begin, and we knew they were going to come out inspired. Fortunately for us, I thought we executed the game plan very well in the first half.
"We're building something special here, for sure."
The Griffins opened the scoring on an outstanding strike by McCarthy. The sophomore forward corralled a Cascades clearance and unleashed a shot from the right wing, outside the penalty area. It went in off the far post.
Erikson made it 2-0 less than four minutes later. Suekiana Choucair sent a corner kick all the way across the front of goal, where defender Erikson had come dashing in and volleyed it home at the far post.
Riddle capped the Griffins' outburst with a high, curling strike in the 26th minute, from a similar location to where McCarthy had launched her initial goal. Choucair picked up her second assist of the night, having fed Riddle in space off a free kick to the right of the penalty area.
The Cascades were much more effective after halftime, but were unable to dent the deficit. Kate Fisher had a good look from the middle of the penalty area in the 83rd minute, but her shot went over the bar. Shortly thereafter, Vanita Bhullar sent in a free kick from the left edge of the box, and in the ensuing scramble, the Griffins cleared the ball off the goal line.
"It was really disappointing coming off last night," said Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht, alluding to his team's 2-1 win over UNBC on Friday. "We had commitment last night, and today we just didn't have it. It's frustrating. I want to keep saying it's a learning process and these are learning mistakes and all that, but at the end of the day, players need to step up and deliver."
Griffins keeper Burns and UFV centre back Marianne Spring were selected as their teams' respective players of the game.
MacEwan returns home next weekend, hosting the UBC Thunderbirds on Friday and the UVic Vikes on Sunday. The Cascades are on the road, visiting the UBC Okanagan Heat on Saturday and the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Sunday.