ABBOTSFORD - A classic tale of two halves on Friday evening saw the University of the Fraser Valley women's soccer team and the Saskatchewan Huskies battle to a 2-2 draw.
At MRC Sports Complex, the host Cascades raced out to a 2-0 lead in the first half on the strength of goals from Amanda Carruthers and Janelle Henke. The latter 45 minutes, though, belonged largely to the Huskies, and they drew even on goals by Rebecca Weckworth and Leesa Eggum.
UFV (4-4-3) maintained fifth place in the Pacific Division, while Saskatchewan (5-2-4) sits second in the Prairie Division.
"It was that cliché about a 2-0 lead – it's dangerous," Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said with a wry chuckle afterward. "But you know what, I can't fault my girls' work rate. They worked extremely hard for the full 90 minutes.
"We were fantastic in the first half – we scored a set-piece goal and we scored on the counter. Saskatchewan just came out with the bit between their teeth in the second half. We made a few mistakes – lacked a bit of composure defensively to deal with the pressure they were putting on us, and that hurt us.
"Any time you're up two and you end up dropping points, it's not the ideal situation. But I'm proud of the work. We walk off here with a point, and we get ready for tomorrow."
The Cascades host the Regina Cougars on Saturday (5:30 p.m., MRC Sports Complex, Field 4) in their last home game of the season, while the Huskies visit the Trinity Western Spartans (5 p.m.).
Carruthers, a fifth-year forward who had missed three of UFV's previous four games due to injury, sparked her squad in the first half. She opened the scoring in the 14th minute, getting her head on the end of Harneet Dadrao's corner for her team-leading fourth goal of the season.
Just over five minutes later, Carruthers set up Henke for the first Canada West goal of the rookie midfielder's career. Carruthers made a run down the left side to track down a through ball, and played it across to Henke, who was all alone in front of Sask keeper Kyleigh Vause and made no mistake.
After the break, the Huskies were a different team. They got on the board in the 58th on a strike from Weckworth from beyond the top of the box which went in just under the crossbar. Eggum leveled the score with her team-leading seventh of the campaign, taking a cross from Jessica Bradford just inside the penalty area and firing home a top-corner strike.
The Cascades found some traction over the last 10 minutes, but couldn't find that final touch despite several dangerous forays. In injury time, the Huskies got away on the counterattack and generated a clean look for Eggum deep in the box. But UFV goalkeeper Emily Harold came up with a huge stop from close range to secure the draw.
Giesbrecht was heartened to see Carruthers and Henke find the net.