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UFV Men’s Soccer – Cascades Beat SFU in Preseason Opener

Fraser Valley (Dan Kinvig) – The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer squad came through with a gritty effort on the road, winning their exhibition opener 2-1 over Simon Fraser University in Burnaby on Monday evening.

The Cascades built a lead on goals from Nikhil Reddy and Parman Minhas, then had to defend heroically in the late going after rookie defender Jaskarn Sodhi was sent off after registering his second yellow card of the match.

Yet the UFV squad was able to get the job done at the brand-new SFU Stadium at Terry Fox Field.

“I’m really proud of the boys,” Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes enthused. “It was a fantastic effort, the way we defended, stuck together, and bought into the system. It was a complete team performance – the willingness to defend and the team spirit we showed was just fantastic.”

SFU, ranked No. 1 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference preseason coaches poll, opened the scoring on a goal from Lorenzo De Bei, but the Cascades answered almost immediately as Reddy combined with Mikael Mainella and Sahil Dhindsa on a slick passing sequence before finishing with a top-corner rocket from 20 yards out.

UFV grabbed the lead in the 57th minute – on a free kick from just outside the box, Minhas stepped up and delivered a low strike into the left side of the goal.

The Cascades faced down some late adversity as Sodhi – who had started at right back and was “fantastic” according to Lowndes – picked up his second yellow in the 83rd. But UFV stood firm in front of keeper Joben Mander, who went the full 90 minutes to earn the win.

“They were coming at us, wave after wave after wave, and we defended fantastically,” Lowndes said.

The Cascades bench boss had high praise for rookies Sodhi and midfielder Parmbir Kular, who started and played well. Dhindsa and Charandeep Rangi excelled out wide, and sophomore forward Mainella “worked his socks off” pressing up front.

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