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UFV Sports Saturday – Soccer, Men’s Win, Women With Tough First Half

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Women’s Soccer (with files from Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics) : First-half goals carry Griffins past Cascades

The MacEwan Griffins snuffed the UFV Cascades’ three-game unbeaten streak, prevailing 2-0 at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Saturday afternoon.

The Prairie Division-leading Griffins (4-0-1) had a strong first half, highlighted by goals from Samantha Gouveia and Meagan Lemoine, and they kept the Cascades (2-2-1) at bay down the stretch.

The UFV side wraps up its Edmonton road swing Sunday at the Alberta Pandas (11 a.m. PT, CanadaWest.tv).

“It’s a good learning opportunity,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said afterward. “We played against a veteran team that does the little things in the game really well. They’re good on set pieces and managed the game well. We were naive at times and lacked the strength and physical maturity to win some of those battles.

“One of the telling things was we were too passive in our attack, and maybe that’s to our opponent’s credit. But that’s one area we could have stepped up and been more effective.”

The Griffins broke the ice in the 11th minute off a long free kick, as Gouveia rose to head the ball inside the far post.

The hosts doubled the lead in the 45th minute – Lemoine took advantage of a Cascades turnover and sprinted back the other direction, firing a rising shot from the top of the box that UFV goalkeeper Andrea Perkovic was able to get her fingertips on, but not enough to tip it over the bar.

The Cascades had a couple of promising forays late in the second half. Off Jenna Mele’s cross, Sarah Parker and Bryana Buttar had cracks at the ball in the box, but MacEwan keeper Emily Burns was there to scoop the ball up and end the threat.

Centre back Taylor Nekic was the Cascades’ game MVP selection, and Gouveia was the Griffins’ pick.

“We gave them too many opportunities early and looks at our goal from dead balls,” said Giesbrecht. “Once we were down a couple goals, it was really tough to get going. The second half had absolutely no flow to it. It was just stop-start, stop-start. It was frustrating. We took a few knocks as well, which made it tough.”

Men’s Soccer: Duggan, Cascades blank Pronghorns 2-0

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team took care of business on the road, topping the Lethbridge Pronghorns 2-0 on Saturday afternoon.

Nawaf Binsaleh and Parman Minhas scored the Cascades’ goals, and Ethan Duggan registered three saves for his second straight shutout as the UFV side got back to the .500 mark at 3-3-3 in Canada West play, good for fifth in the Pacific Division. The Pronghorns, at 0-6-2, are still in search of their first win of the campaign.

“I thought it was a really professional performance from us today,” Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes said. “We did the things we need to do – we were clinical on set pieces, and we took the sting out of the game. Really happy with the effort and how the boys dug in in a tough place to play.”

The Pronghorns had a great chance in the 30th minute as Landon Veluw got on the end of Danilo Morales’s corner, but he hit the crossbar.

Fifth-year centre back Binsaleh opened the scoring in the 41st minute, rising at the top of the six-yard box to meet Brady Weir’s corner and heading it inside the far post.

Duggan’s best work came in the 57th minute, as he dove to his right to get a hand on Kyle Szymanski’s line-drive through a maze of bodies. It was a truly spectacular stop, and it loomed large with the Cascades preserving a one-goal lead.

“You need your keeper to make saves in moments like that, up 1-0, and he came up with a big save which was really pleasing,” Lowndes noted.

The Cascades got the insurance marker in the 81st. Atle Koellmel got the play started, launching one of his patented long throws into the box where it eventually found its way to Minhas with his back to goal. He flicked it over his head with his right foot, and it arced over Lethbridge keeper Matthew Vanderveen. A Pronghorns defender tried clearing the ball off the line, but only succeeded in heading it into the top of the net.

The Cascades are on the road again next week, facing the UBC Okanagan Heat on Saturday (3 p.m.) and the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Sunday (2 p.m.).

CORNER KICKS: Game MVPs were UFV’s Duggan and Lethbridge midfielder James Braid . . . Kadir Yagci, a first-year defender from Bundle, Germany, made his Cascades debut, coming on in the 89th minute.

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