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UFV Sports Sunday – UFV Cascades Men’s Soccer Team Ran Out Of Gas

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Calgary/Fraser Valley (Dan Kinvig) – Men’s Soccer: Cascades come up just shy of podium, fall 2-0 to Cougars in bronze medal game

The UFV Cascades men’s soccer bandwagon ran out of gas one step shy of the Canada West podium, as they dropped a 2-0 decision to the Mount Royal Cougars in the conference bronze medal match on Sunday in Calgary.

The Cascades, coming off a loss to the Victoria Vikes in the semifinals the day before, were without several key contributors on Sunday due to injury, but battled the CW Final Four host Cougars gamely throughout.

Mount Royal got a goal from conference player of the year Moe El Gandour in the 41st minute, and Miguel Da Rocha sealed the result with a goal in second-half injury time with the Cascades pressing forward looking for the equalizer.

“We left it all on the field,” Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes said afterward. “I challenged them to get over the mental and emotional frustrations of yesterday, and I think they did a good job of that. We battled to the end, and Mount Royal is a good team. We’re depleted, exhausted, and I’m really proud of the effort.”

The Cascades were without all-rookie centre back Tobias Spiess and standout midfielder Anthony Vega due to injury on Sunday, not to mention senior captain Ryan Donald, who has been sidelined the past five games with a knee injury.

The visitors, though, had a great chance to open the scoring in the 34th minute as Jeevan Dhaliwal hammered a ball down the left sideline to spring speedster Taylor Richardson. The fourth-year winger broke in on goal with a defender on his shoulder, and his low shot ran just wide of the far post.

The Cougars capitalized on their first great look – David Schaefer’s corner curved in on goal, and the ball was headed by a UFV defender off the underside of the crossbar. El Gandour was there to clean up the rebound from close range.

In first-half injury time, Parman Minhas found some space and blasted a rising shot from just outside the box, but it went over the crossbar.

In the 76th minute, Cascades all-star midfielder Trevor Zanatta was assessed his second yellow card and was sent off. The UFV side, down to 10 men, continued to push and directed a couple of headers on goal off long throw-ins from Mikael Mainella, but MRU keeper Sterling Kerr was able to handle them.

In second-half injury time, Da Rocha scored an insurance marker with Justin Anderson-Louch picking up the assist.

The game marked the conclusion of several Cascades’ university soccer careers. Donald and Nikhil Reddy have both finished their five years of eligibility, while David Parfett has completed his kinesiology degree and Jun Won Choi is on track to graduate in the spring.

“They’re a great group,” Lowndes said. “They’ve all contributed in different ways to shape the program, drive us forward and help us get better very single year. I can’t say enough about those guys. I’m proud to have been involved in their careers, and I can’t wait to see where their lives go from here.

“People picked us to finish ninth (in the Canada West preseason coaches’ poll), and we proved people wrong and we’ll continue to prove people wrong. We finished ahead of some very good programs. For a school the size of UFV to finish fourth in Canada West, I think we’ve had a very good year.”

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