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UFV Sports Sunday – Women’s Soccer Come Up Short vs UBC, Men Beat T-Birds 5-1

Abbotsford (Dan Kinvig) – Women’s Soccer – The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team snapped the UBC Thunderbirds’ epic season-opening shutout streak, but the T-Birds ultimately prevailed, hanging on for a 2-1 win Sunday afternoon at Rotary Stadium.

The U SPORTS No. 4-ranked Thunderbirds – the reigning national champs – had opened the Canada West campaign with five straight clean sheets. Halle McCambley ruined that streak in the 78th minute on behalf of the Cascades (0-4-2), but the Thunderbirds (6-0-0) emerged victorious thanks to earlier goals from Danielle Steer and Emma Hooten.

“It was definitely a better game to watch, in comparison to Friday,” Cascades assistant coach Shelby Beck said, alluding to her team’s 2-0 loss in the first game of the weekend.

“We came out and were able to keep more possession, which was nice to see. Obviously it was great to get our first goal and get that momentum, it’s just too bad it was later in the game and we didn’t finish our chances earlier. If we can get that push going forward, we’ll be able to stay in games longer and hopefully come out with a win.”

The Cascades held a distinct territorial advantage over the first 25 minutes but were unable to generate a truly clean look at goal. Jashan Sandhar and Jiya Kaila both had several promising runs down the right flank, and on one of those occasions, Kaila squared the ball for Brittany Costa, but her shot was easily handled by UBC goalkeeper Emily Moore.

The Thunderbirds began to gain traction as the half wore on. Steer forced an outstanding leaping save from Cascades keeper Joven Sandhu in the 37th minute, and in the dying moments of the half, the UBC veteran scored the ice-breaker.

Sandhu dove to her right to make an acrobatic save on Janika Sangha’s initial shot, but as the Cascades tried to clear the ball off the line, Steer was there to battle her way to the ball and knock it in.

The T-Birds went up 2-0 in the 71st – Sophia Ferreira’s free kick crashed into the wall of Cascade defenders, but the ball ricocheted right to Hooten, and her long-distance strike was pure, finding the top right corner.

Just six minutes later, McCambley gave the home fans reason to cheer. Kaila, from the right wing, laid the ball off to Jessica Fennell, and her cross found McCambley deep in the box. The sophomore midfielder volleyed it home from close range to snap the T-Birds’ shutout streak at 528 minutes.

“It definitely brought the energy up after we got that goal, for sure,” Beck noted. “Going forward, we need to build off of that.

“The girls are frustrated they didn’t win, but they’ve got something to push forward with going into next weekend.”

The Cascades are back in action next weekend on the road, visiting the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in Kamloops, Oct. 8-9.

Men’s Soccer: Cascades’ offence detonates in 5-1 win over UBC

Prior to Sunday afternoon, goals had been painfully slow to materialize for the University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team.

Yet even as his team managed to muster just one goal over its first five conference games, head coach Tom Lowndes maintained his Cascades were playing well – they just weren’t getting the results that their positive play perhaps merited. A fortuitous bounce here or a more clinical finish there, and the floodgates would open.

Lowndes’s charges made a prophet of him on Sunday afternoon, as they routed the UBC Thunderbirds 5-1 at Rotary Stadium.

Manpal Brar, coming off ACL surgery, scored twice against his former team; Jun Won Choi, Anthony Vega and Taylor Richardson added singles; and Trevor Zanatta pulled the strings to perfection in the midfield on his way to a record-breaking performance. Zanatta’s four assists are a new Canada West single-game record.

UFV improved to 1-3-2, while UBC (2-1-3) sustained its first loss of the campaign.

“I see these guys day in and day out in training, and they score goals for fun,” Lowndes said with a wry chuckle afterward. “And it seems to be, for whatever reason lately, when we get to the game days, we struggle to score.

“But once the first one went in, and definitely the second one, you could see the confidence going through the guys. We created even more chances . . . and we could have scored a few more goals as well which was great to see.

“Any time you score five goals, it’s great, but to do that against a quality program in UBC, No. 9 in the country, is obviously very pleasing.”

Choi lit the fuse for the Cascades just 20 seconds into the game. Zanatta lofted a looping header into the box for Choi, who chested it down and finished with precision from close range.

The hosts appeared poised to double the lead in the 12th minute, as Parman Minhas was chopped down in the box by UBC defender Marcus Puhalj. But T-Birds keeper Bennett McKay came up with a tremendous save on the ensuing PK, diving to his left to deny Vega.

Vega stuck with it, though, and made good in the 26th. Zanatta ventured into the box, drew the UBC defence, and slipped a no-look pass to Vega on his right, and he made no mistake.

Brar took over at that point, scoring twice in a two-minute span. Charandeep Rangi, in the 36th minute, sent a diagonal pass ahead to spring Brar on the breakaway, and he coolly finished. Shortly thereafter, another breakaway pass – this one from Zanatta – and Brar had his second.

UBC’s Logan Chung gave his team hope in the 51st, getting the T-Birds on the board, but Zanatta and Richardson combined to slam the door. Zanatta cruised through a trio of UBC defenders into the box, to the right of goal, and crossed to Richardson at the left post for the right-footed volley.

Brar had a chance to complete the hat trick in the 89th, but his attempt on a partial break went just wide of the right post.

Post-game, Brar was emotional – he’d only recently returned to the pitch following ACL surgery, and despite numerous chances, a goal had eluded him prior to Sunday.

“I didn’t see this in my future while I was recovering,” he said. “I saw myself playing (again), but I didn’t know if I would be competing at this high level.

“I’ve had plenty of chances the other games, but I wasn’t able to score. I felt like I would probably never score, I felt like it was never going come to me. The game before, (I shot it) off the bar, it was like the odds were against me. But to finally score, it was just truly emotional . . . This is what I do, this is my talent, I love the game.”

Zanatta also had a special afternoon, leaving with the CW single-game assist record in his pocket. The previous record of three assists in a game had been achieved 15 times, most recently by UVic’s Isaac Koch on Aug. 23, 2019 vs. Trinity Western.

The Cascades are back in action next weekend, visiting the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in Kamloops (Oct. 8-9).

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