Surrey United cruises into Cup semifinals

SURREY — Surrey United’s women’s premier team embarked on their 10th consecutive Provincial Cup defence with a solid 3-1 win over Richmond Sunday morning at Cloverdale Athletic Park.

The 10-time B.C. champions carried the play for much of the first half, but needed to suppress a wind-aided Richmond rally in the final 30 minutes of play before emerging with the win.

“We had the wind at our back in the first half and we should have taken advantage of it a bit more,” said Surrey coach Albert Stewart. “We had some chances, but we weren’t able to finish.

“Credit to Richmond though, they battled hard. They pushed hard in the second half for about 20 minutes and we would have been in trouble if they got a second goal. I wasn’t worried though — our girls have been in adverse conditions before and they know how to handle pressure like that. A score of 2-1 is not as difficult for us to deal with as it might be for some teams.”

Surrey opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Eva Caldieri collected a throw-in from Katie Thorlakson before turning and pounding the ball into the Richmond goal.

That duo struck again mere minutes after the start of the second half, this time with Caldieri delivering a pinpoint pass onto the feet of a wide-open Thorlakson inside the box. Thorlakson calmly chipped it past the startled Richmond goalkeeper for a 2-0 Surrey advantage.

The wind picked up considerably in the second half, a development that played well for Richmond’s long ball tactics.

The visitors were rewarded in the 76th minute with a goal off a corner kick following an outstanding diving save by Surrey goalkeeper Theresa Nuttall.

That was as close as Richmond would get as Surrey put the game out of reach seven minutes later. Caldieri lobbed a pass to the edge of the box for Nicole Stewart, who then sidestepped two Richmond defenders and froze the goalkeeper before slotting the ball home to restore Surrey’s two-goal advantage.

The win stretched Surrey’s Provincial Cup winning streak to 35 games, a run that Albert Stewart puts pressure on both teams whenever United takes to the pitch. Sunday’s quarter-final contest with Richmond was also a rematch of the League Cup final won 1-0 by Surrey on a penalty kick goal last month.

Albert Stewart admitted Surrey felt some pressure as the narrowness of that win motivated the United women to prove they could beat Richmond straight up.

“There is some pressure there, but I think it’s pressure of their own making,” he said. The girls have all been there and done that so they’re used to it. There were some nerves before the game just because it is a Cup game, but that’s typical. Once the game started though, that was quickly forgotten.

“It’s not really pressure for us because every team we play is up for the game so we’re used to it. If anything, most teams come to us feeling the nerves and they’re the ones feeling pressure.”

Elsewhere, South Surrey’s Coastal FC doubled up on Victoria’s Prospect Lake 2-1 on Vancouver Island to maintain the possibility of an all-Surrey Provincial Cup final.

Surrey United will host Peninsula Co-op in one semifinal next weekend while Coastal FC takes on the winner of the North Shore Renegades and Coquitlam Metro Ford.

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