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UFV Sports Sunday – Soggy Soccer

Fraser Valley (Dan Kinvig) – Men’s Soccer: Cascades, Vikes settle for scoreless draw

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team had its chances in the second half, but were unable to dent the twine in a scoreless draw with the Victoria Vikes on Sunday afternoon.

The game shaped up much like Friday’s opener, which was scoreless for the first 85 minutes before the Vikes netted a late go-ahead goal in a 1-0 victory. But in the rematch, goalkeepers Joben Mander (UFV) and Harjot Nijjar (UVic) proved unbeatable.

The Cascades emerge from opening weekend with an 0-1-1 record, while UVic sits 2-0-2.

“It was a much better performance today in terms of what we did with the ball,” UFV head coach Tom Lowndes analyzed. “We played a lot more, we got the ball down, our rotations were better, and we did a much better job keeping the ball – completely different from Friday night.

“I thought we definitely deserved something from the game Friday, and I thought we probably deserved more than a point today. But that’s the nature of the beast sometimes, and if we continue to play like that, we’ll win more games than we lose this year.”

A defensive-minded first half yielded few clear chances for either team, but the Cascades found a spark offensively after the break.

In the 59th minute, Manpal Brar had the best look at goal of the afternoon for either team. After a Cascades corner was cleared, Ryan Donald and Ajai Boparai combined to keep the pressure on and feed Anthony Vega, and he tight-roped along the end line before squaring the ball to Brar just outside the six-yard box, with Nijjar out of the play. But his point-blank attempt glanced off the leg of teammate Sahib Sidhu and wide of the net.

Brar had another crack at goal later in the half, but his volley went just over the crossbar.

Nijjar was UVic’s game MVP, and Cascades centre back Tobias Spiess was his team’s selection after leading a strong defensive effort for the hosts.

“We worked really, really hard defensively – I thought we were hard to play against, and we limited them to a lot of long balls and set piece chances,” Lowndes said. “I thought we looked solid and tough to break down.”

Up next for the Cascades are a pair of road games vs. local rival Trinity Western, Friday and Saturday, kicking off at 7:15 p.m. both nights.

Women’s Soccer: Cascades come close, but manage another scoreless tie vs. Vikes

For the second game in a row, the University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team battled the Victoria Vikes down to the wire.

And once again, neither the Cascades nor the Vikes were able to put a straight line on the scoreboard.

Coming off Friday’s scoreless draw, the two teams bookended the weekend with another 0-0 affair at MRC Sports Complex on Sunday afternoon.

The Cascades close the book on opening weekend with a 0-0-2 record, while the Vikes are 2-0-2.

“I think we should have won at least one of those, but we’ll take the clean sheets and the two points,” UFV captain Brittany Costa said afterward. “We’ll take our confidence from the no goals against.

The Cascades did their best work in the second half, cranking up the pressure as the game wore on.

Off Jenna Mele’s corner in the 76th minute, the ball was initially cleared but was coaxed back into the box for Costa, who spun and fired a low shot, but UVic keeper Kayley Lidstone made the save with her right foot. The rebound came to Mele, and her high-arcing volleyball was grabbed by Lidstone.

In the 85th, another UFV corner nearly made the difference in the game. Taylor Nekic got her head on the end of Avery Tulloch’s effort, and the ball went over Lidstone’s outstretched arms but banged off the crossbar.

“It was a battle in the last 20 minutes, and we were in their half for most of the second half which was nice,” Costa said.

“We need to finish our chances, that’s No. 1 . . . but we also need to connect more in the final third. It’s almost like we get excited when we get the ball out of our half and into the final third. We kind of rush our final pass – it’s not to feet, or it’s not the correct decision. We’ve just got to settle down a little bit and finish our chances.”

Up next for the Cascades are a pair of road games vs. local rival Trinity Western, Friday and Saturday, kicking off at 5 p.m. both nights.

GOLF: Cascades set to host T-Birds, Vikes, Heat at home tourney

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s and women’s golf teams host their home tournament this week, welcoming three B.C. opponents to Chilliwack Golf Club.

The Cascades Invitational will pit UFV against the UBC Thunderbirds, Victoria Vikes, and UBC Okanagan Heat. The action runs Monday and Tuesday with tee times beginning at 12 p.m. and 10:20 a.m., respectively, each day.

“It’s going to be a good opportunity to see where we stack up,” noted women’s golf head coach Cody Stewart. “It’s nice that we play in an area of Canada, and the Canada West conference, where we have a lot of the best schools in the country here. There’s no off weeks. We have to be playing well consistently, and if we don’t, we’ll get beat. If we play well, we’ll finish really well.”

The Cascades Invitational is the first event of the fall schedule for the UFV women, and Stewart noted that it’s an advantageous spot for rookies Coral Hamade and Ella Gifford to make their university debuts.

“Hopefully that helps to settle the nerves a little bit and we get comfortable early,” he said. “I think it’s going to come down to managing mistakes and keeping things clean on the greens. That seems to be the case for us . . . if we can play smart and do what we normally do, I think we’ll be in good shape.”

The Cascades men’s golf team, meanwhile, opened their campaign last week, winning the Alberta Invitational with Jackson Jacob claiming the individual title.

This will be the first time the UFV men will see UBC and UVic this season – UBC Okanagan was at the Alberta Invitational, finishing third.

“It’s a little tricky, because whenever you’re playing at your home course, it’s always an advantage,” head coach Aaron Pauls said. “But it’ll give us an idea what their teams are like, because they’ve had some turnover as well. We haven’t seen UVic in something like two years now, and their team will be very different. It’ll be good to play with them before we tee it up at the Canada West championships (Oct. 4-5), where everyone’s trying to win a title.”

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