UFV Sports Friday – Men’s Soccer Bolster Playoff Hopes, Women’s Volleyball Coach Gets First Win (VIDEO)

Men’s Soccer: Cascades bolster playoff hopes with 3-2 comeback win over Spartans

A record-setting moment of Gurmaagic sparked the University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team to a stirring 3-2 comeback win over the Trinity Western Spartans on the road Friday evening.

With the Cascades trailing 2-1 midway through the second half, fifth-year forward Gurmaan Jhaj volleyed home a shot to level the score and simultaneously set a new UFV men’s soccer goal-scoring record. His 21st career goal moved him past Sasa Plavsic (2010-2012).

Just three minutes after Jhaj’s strike, Trevor Zanatta netted the go-ahead goal, and the Cascades hung on from there to square their record at 4-4-4 in Canada West play while dropping the Spartans to 7-5-1.

Jehmrode Kahlon also scored for the Cascades, who host TWU on Sunday to complete the home-and-home series (4 p.m., MRC Sports Complex).

“So proud of them,” UFV head coach Tom Lowndes said, lauding his players’ gritty second-half rally. “We haven’t always gotten the results we deserved this season, but to come back and get a great result at a very tough place to play is fantastic.

“We made a slight tactical change which helped us, and I challenged them at halftime to just go for it and come off the field at the end of the game knowing we’d given everything we possibly could. We battled for our life – we showed real grit and determination, and played as a family. It was fantastic.”

Cascades rookie Kahlon opened the scoring in the ninth minute, taking advantage of a TWU midfield miscue to claim possession, moving to his right to elude a pair of Spartans defenders before firing a right-footed shot into the bottom left corner.

But two minutes later, the hosts equalized on a goal by Cody Fransen, and Jake Ruby made it 2-1 Spartans in the 28th when he headed home a free kick.

In the 73rd minute, a Cascades corner kick pinballed its way to Jhaj at the far left side of the penalty area, and he volleyed it home for his fourth goal of the campaign, securing the UFV career scoring record.

“What a time to get it, as well,” Lowndes noted. “We needed a spark, and it’s a credit to Gurmaan – it’s fitting that his record-breaking goal tied it up and gave us the momentum. I’m really happy for him.”

Shortly thereafter, Jhaj’s free kick was initially cleared by the Spartans, but it came back to him and he sent the ball back towards the box where it was flicked on by Manpal Brar to Zanatta in full stride, and he tucked a shot inside the right post.

The Cascades still have work to do to secure a playoff berth – they’re in fifth place in the Pacific Division, needing to overhaul fourth-place UBC Okanagan (6-5-4) – but Friday’s result breathes life into their post-season push.

WSOC: Slow start sinks Cascades vs. No. 2-ranked Spartans

( with files from TWU Athletics )A poor first half stung the University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team on the road, as they fell 5-1 to the Trinity Western Spartans in Langley on Friday evening.

The U SPORTS No. 2-ranked Spartans raced out to a 4-0 lead at halftime, and while the Cascades played much better after the break and clawed back a goal on a Brittney Zacharuk penalty kick, it was far too little, too late.

The Cascades (2-4-5) and Spartans (9-1-1) renew hostilities in the back half of the home-and-home series, Sunday at MRC Sports Complex (2 p.m., CanadaWest.tv).

“We made crucial mistakes in bad areas of the field, and we were punished,” UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht analyzed. “You don’t do that against good teams. You’ve got to be sharp. If you make mistakes in the back, they end up in the back of the net.”

Zacharuk’s goal gives her 36 career points in Canada West regular-season play, tied for the most in UFV women’s soccer program history with Monika Levarsky (2014-2016).

Jenaya Robertson scored her eighth and ninth goals of the season for the Spartans, taking the Canada West lead in that category, while Rachel Hutchinson, Brooklyn Tidder and Gabi Short also scored for the hosts.

Hutchison got the Spartans on the board first in the fifth minute, and she set up Robertson in the ninth minute to give TWU an early 2-0 lead. Tidder and Short struck later in the half to make it 4-0 at the break.

The Cascades put forth a better performance in the second half, and in the 55th minute, Katie Lampen was taken down in the box to earn a penalty kick, and Zacharuk stepped to the spot and slotted it home.

Robertson rounded out the scoring in extra time.

“The girls responded to their worst half of the season with a positive performance,” Giesbrecht said afterward. “Hopefully we can build on that moving forward to Sunday.”

Women’s Volleyball: Cascades open with decisive win over Bearcats

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team delivered a victory for Janelle Rozema in her Cascades head coaching debut, sweeping the Columbia Bible College Bearcats in three straight sets on Friday as the PACWEST regular season opened.

The hosts had a bit of a nervous start at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre, but pulled away late in the first set to take it 25-18. The second and third sets were all Cascades, as they prevailed 25-13 and 25-10.

“It meant a lot,” Rozema said, reflecting on her initial win at UFV. “Being out on the floor for my first home opener as the head coach, it was really cool to feel like I was supported by the fans, supported by my coaching staff, and supported by the girls. It was a really cool atmosphere to be a part of.”

The Bearcats built a 15-13 lead in the first set, but Cascades sophomore middle Sedona Arabsky reeled off a six-point service run to help the host rally for a 22-17 lead and they wrapped things up from there.

UFV was outstanding offensively the rest of the way, hitting .429 and .526 in the second and third sets, respectively.

Third-year left side Amanda Matsui had a big night, racking up 14 kills on 25 swings. Kristen McBride and Chelsea Kidd chipped in with six kills apiece, and Arabsky added five kills. Kidd notched a team-high three aces.

Megan Polant, with eight kills, paced the Bearcats.

“I kind of anticipated a little bit of nerves with the home opener,” Rozema noted. “But I was really impressed with the way they stayed patient with their nerves, and they allowed the process of normalizing the atmosphere in the gym. They stuck together, they kept making eye contact, and kept exchanging information, and they remained patient. And then it started getting a little bit freer.”

The Cascades volleyball teams are back in action on Saturday as they travel across town for rematches with the Bearcats at Columbia Place (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.).

Men’s Volleyball: Cascades roll past Bearcats on opening night

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team proved to be too much for their crosstown rivals on Friday night at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre, defeating the Columbia Bible College Bearcats in three sets.

The Cascades edged the Bearcats 25-20 in a fiercely contested opening set, then leapt out to a 7-2 lead in the second behind some tough serving from setter Graham Walkey, and despite some late resistance from CBC, finished it off 25-16. A back-and-forth third set saw the hosts close it out 25-18, punctuated by Landon Uy’s fourth ace of the night for the winning point.

“The things we’ve been working on all month, we showed today,” said Nathan Bennett, who picked up the win in his first regular-season game at the helm of the Cascades. “The hard work, being responsible for your job, and staying focused throughout was a big one. What I’ve seen in the past month, in a few of our exhibition games, we’ve tended to lose focus throughout the match. But I thought this match specifically, we held our focus with was great.”

Third-year outside hitter Uy led the way for the Cascades, hitting at a .526 clip while racking up game-high totals for kills (12) and aces (four). Walkey – facing his former team in the Bearcats – registered 27 assists. Rookie Caleb Kastelein contributed nine kills, and middle Ian Jagersma had four kills and two solo blocks.

Josh Brandt and Noah Bouius tied for team-high honours with five kills apiece for CBC.

The Cascades volleyball teams are back in action on Saturday as they travel across town to CBC for rematches with the Bearcats (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.).

“End of the day, every match and every set start 0-0,” Bennett said. “This game’s over – they’re going to play a much better game in their gym, we’ve just got to be ready for it.”

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