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MacVarish stays red-hot for UPEI women's soccer Panthers

Sarah MacVarish
Sarah MacVarish

Sarah MacVarish has turned into an unstoppable force for the UPEI women’s soccer Panthers.

MacVarish scored three goals on the weekend as the Panthers beat Saint Mary’s and UNB by identical 3-1 scores.

On Sunday, the Panthers spotted visiting UNB an early 1-0 lead when the referee awarded the opposition team a penalty kick. Abby Sullivan made good on the opportunity to put the Panthers down 1-0.

“We lost an early goal again to a penalty kick in the first few minutes,’’ said UPEI head coach Graeme McDonald. “Unfortunately, our keeper came out and there was a bit of a clash and the referee decided that it was a penalty kick so they scored early on on us.’’

UPEI didn’t take long to respond.

MacVarish would square things up in the 20th minute. The teams went to the half tied 1-1.

It was all UPEI in the second half. Jennifer Balderston scored twice in the second frame, in the 76th minute and again in the 85th minute.

“Jenn hits those in training all the time and we’ve just been waiting for her to step up and do that in a game. It was a great strike,’’ McDonald said, referring to Balderston’s first goal. “She hit it clean enough that it just squeaked over the goalkeeper. Then, (she) gave us a cushion with an extra goal.’’

Shots were even at 8-8 with UNB holding a decided edge in corner kicks, 6-1, while UPEI led the way in fouls at 5-3.

“I would have to say it was a huge team effort. The girls stepped up (on Sunday) and did their job and delivered.’’

On Saturday, MacVarish opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Tyffanie Bordage picked up the assist.

“Tyffanie was outstanding today holding the ball up for us. She makes things happen for us up there and when you seem to need a little bit extra she gives it to you.’’

Bordage would give the Panthers a 2-0 lead in the 16th minute before Celena Cavadini got SMU on the board in the 24th minute. UPEI led 2-1 at the half.

In the second half, it was MacVarish again in the 63rd minute. Bordage once again picked up an assist.

UPEI led on the shot clock at 18-14 while SMU had the edge in corner kicks at 7-2. UPEI had six fouls to SMU’s five.

The Panthes are back in action Friday night versus SMU in Halifax before hosting powerful Cape Breton, a team that not only hasn’t lost a game yet it hasn’t given up a single goal.

McDonald isn’t worried.

“That’s going to be a great one. Records are meant to be broken,’’ he laughed.

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