UFV Sports Friday – Soccer (VIDEO)

Women’s Soccer: Goals from Dadrao, Silbernagel lift Cascades past T-Wolves

Abbotsford – (Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics)  – Harneet Dadrao and Mackenzie Silbernagel could hardly have picked a more timely occasion to notch their first career Canada West goals.

With their University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer squad in search of its first win of the conference campaign on Friday evening at MRC Sports Complex, Dadrao and Silbernagel broke through to boost the Cascades to a 2-1 win over the UNBC Timberwolves.

The result drew the Cascades level with the T-Wolves for sixth place in the Pacific Division, both teams now sporting 1-2-2 records.

“It’s great to get our first win,” UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht noted. “We’re a young team that’s faced a tough schedule, we’ve faced adversity, and I’m really proud of the girls for how hard they worked tonight.

“We played against a very good team – UNBC has improved immensely. They kept the ball well, and they found little pockets where we had to adjust our shape. But once we sorted that out, I think we kind of let them have it in certain areas, but then once they tried to get in more dangerous areas, we did a good job defending and limited their chances. We knew that if we were patient, we could eventually win the ball up the pitch.”

The Timberwolves showed their teeth in the first half, weathering an early UFV push before mounting some dangerous forays of their own. The visitors opened the scoring in the 30th minute, as Paige Payne gained possession off a T-Wolves throw-in and launched a blast from the left wing that arced over the fingertips of a leaping Cascades goalkeeper Joven Sandhu and under the crossbar. It was Payne’s fourth goal of the season, tying her with UBC’s Danielle Steer for the Canada West lead.

The Cascades answered back in short order, though. Usually UFV’s midfield playmaker, Dadrao turned finisher after an electric run down the right wing by Jashan Sandhar. The Cascades rookie cut the ball back into the path of sophomore Dadrao, who slotted it home from close range.

Silbernagel, a rookie forward out of Chilliwack, B.C., came off the bench in the 71st minute, and she wasted no time making her presence felt. In the 77th, she took a pass from Tripat Sandhu at the top of the box, made a quick turn, and ripped a shot into the bottom right corner.

“She’s a gamer,” Giesbrecht said of Silbernagel. “She’s got a bright future ahead of her. She’s shown in training and in other games that if you give her a bit of time and space, she’ll bury it. I’m proud of her, and happy she got it done.”

That goal stood up as the game-winner, as Joven Sandhu finished with five saves to earn her first career Canada West win.

Cascades centre back Simi Lehal and UNBC’s Payne were named their respective teams’ players of the match.

The Cascades are back in action on Saturday at home, hosting the MacEwen Griffins (5:30 p.m., MRC Sports Complex), while the T-Wolves visit the TWU Spartans (5 p.m.).

Men’s Soccer: Jhaj’s goal in the 89th boosts 10-man Cascades past Huskies

 Down to 10 men for more than a third of the game, Gurmaan Jhaj and the University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team somehow managed a dramatic 1-0 home victory over the Saskatchewan Huskies.

On a Friday evening where the weather fluctuated between drizzle and downpour, the Cascades and Huskies largely kept each other at arm’s length until the 58th minute, when UFV forward Parman Minhas was shown a straight red card following a collision with Sask keeper Greg Buckley.

The Huskies took over for the ensuing 10 minutes but were unable to generate a goal. And slowly, the tide turned the Cascades’ way, culminating in the 89th minute when UFV’s Atle Koellmel was hauled down just outside the penalty area.

That set the table for Jhaj, who stepped up and sent his free kick around the Huskies’ wall and into the bottom right corner. It was his Canada West-leading seventh goal of the season – yet another moment of Gurmaagic for the Cascades, who improved to 4-2-1 on the season, tied for second on win percentage in the Pacific Division with the Trinity Western Spartans (both teams at .643).

The Huskies fell to 2-5-0, which leaves them fifth in the Prairie Division.

“We weren’t great for large portions of the game, but we found a way to battle through adversity, and that’s something this group has not faced a ton of,” Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes said afterward. “They (Sask) came and made it difficult for us. It’s not often we have to play against a back five, and they were tough to break down. We kind of cancelled each other out. Proud of the boys – they kept going to the last minute, and obviously a great goal.”

Scoring chances were few and far between during a scoreless first half. The Huskies best look came in the 11th minute when Mohamed Omar steered the ball off the crossbar; the Cascades had a good look late in the half, but Buckley came up with a diving save on Minhas.

The game pivoted in the 58th, when Buckley came racing out to scoop up a through ball and Minhas arrived a moment late. The two players clattered legs as Minhas rushed by, and the referee showed the UFV forward a red card.

“It’s a tough one,” Lowndes said. “It’s a foul, no doubt, and it’s probably a yellow card. I don’t think there was any malice involved, but the referee’s seen it that way and that’s the decision he’s made. We’ve got to roll with it, it’s happened, we can’t change it.”

Shortly after Minhas’s exit, Nikolas Baikas found some space at the right of the box, but his blast went high and wide. Later on, Baikas had his shot from the left wing parried by Cascades keeper David Hicks, and Mason Ogoke’s follow-up effort went high over the bar.

The Cascades, meanwhile, started to look dangerous on the counterattack, and Jhaj was able to capitalize with a picture-perfect free kick after Koellmel drew the foul.

“On the free kick, Tom actually pulled me over to the sideline, and he was thinking the same thing as me,” Jhaj related with a smile afterward. “He said, ‘Put it bottom right.’ I listened to the gaffer, and it worked out pretty well!

“The wall was set up on the left side, and usually the goalie tends to think you’re going over the wall or under the wall in this weather. He stepped the wrong way, and then he was beat right from the start.”

Lowndes acknowledged that going down to 10 men “unnerved us a little bit and rocked us,” but the Cascades were able to settle into a more defensive-minded formation and calm down.

“The boys responded really well,” he said. “We could have gone into our shell a little bit, but even at 0-0, we were the ones pushing forward with 10 men. It’s the sign of a good team that we weren’t happy to just get out of here with a point. We kept pushing to the end, and we got rewarded for it.

“It wasn’t pretty by any means. But three points is all that matters, and we’re happy to get that and move on.”

The Cascades men are off for the rest of the weekend before returning to action next Friday, Sept. 28, also against UBC Okanagan (6:30 p.m., MRC Sports Complex).

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