Heat Women Host Coastal Powerhouses to Open Home Schedule
October 5th, 2017
With UVic and UBC coming to Kelowna, the Heat saw top-tier competition in their first appearances on home turf this season
After starting their Canada West schedule with four games on the road, the Heat women’s side returned home to Nonis Field to host the University of Victoria Vikes and the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds on Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24.
Coming into their first weekend on home turf the women were without a win and weren’t able to get their first victory against either of the perennially top-ranked visitors over the weekend. Despite good showings against the Vikes and Thunderbirds, the Heat fell 1-0 and 2-0 on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Heat keeper Francesca Balletta was the lynchpin of the Heat defence over the weekend, fielding nine shots on goal and making six saves over the weekend. She was aided by five defensive saves from the Heat’s backfielders, but the offence wasn’t able to provide the goal support to earn her a win on either day.
Against the Vikes in the Saturday matchup, defence was the dominant aspect throughout most of the 90 minutes. The ball rarely left the centre area of the pitch, with neither offence truly taking the momentum deep into the offensive end.
“Heat keeper Francesca Balletta was the lynchpin of the Heat defence over the weekend, fielding nine shots on goal and making six saves over the weekend.”
Balletta and Puck Louwes, the keeper for the Vikes, each had a single save in the game, coming roughly a minute apart. The lone goal of the Saturday afternoon contest came in the first half, with Balletta getting beaten by a deflected corner kick from Stephanie Badilla Gutierrez in the 31st minute.
Sunday had the Heat matched up against the nationally-ranked Thunderbirds, who sit at #3 on the U Sports Top 10 list for women’s soccer and are alone at the top of the Canada West Pacific Division standings. The final score was 2-0 for the visitors, keeping the Heat offence off the board for the weekend.
In the Thunderbirds sixth straight victory, they netted a goal in each half and held the offensive momentum throughout the full 90 minutes. Jasmin Dhanda (23’) increased her lead in the Canada West goal standings in the first half, and Margaret Hadley (81’) netted her third of the season with a nigh perfectly-placed shot to beat Balletta in the final ten minutes of the match.
Balletta made her two most impressive stops of the weekend against the rival Thunderbirds, shutting down a clear drive from inside the box in the first half and fending off a clear free kick in the second.
After their first home weekend, the Heat women fell to a record of 0-5-1 and are still chasing their first win of the 2017 regular season. The UVic Vikes moved up to second in the Pacific Division standings after the weekend, at 5-1-1, behind just the 6-1 UBC Thunderbirds.
The Heat’s schedule has them on the road against the Trinity Western Spartans (4-2) and UFV Cascades (3-2-1) on September 29 & 30, then facing off against the TRU WolfPack (1-5) in a home-and-home series on October 5 & 7.