Cascades earn 2-2 draw on the road vs. Spartans

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team twice held one-goal leads on the road at Trinity Western University, but the Spartans twice battled back to salvage a 2-2 draw.

Cascades striker James Najman staked his team to an early lead in the 12th minute, but TWU’s Mitchell Urzinger equalized shortly after the halftime break. UFV midfielder Kree Byrne restored the visitors’ advantage in the 69th minute, only to watch Matthew Roxburgh get the hosts back on even footing in the 85th.

The Cascades, who had beaten the Spartans 4-1 at home last Friday, sit second in the Pacific Division at 5-3-2 for 17 points. TWU (3-3-2, 11 points) is in fifth place, but has two games in hand.

“It’s disappointing when you have a lead twice in a game but you just come away with a point,” Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes noted. “I didn’t think we were good enough defensively for long portions of the game – we were good in spurts.

“But I’m proud we battled and we competed, and we got a point. To take four points from Trinity Western in a season is good.”

The Cascades’ Najman scored the lone goal of the first half when he curled a well-struck ball across the face of the net to the far top corner.

TWU’s Jarvis Ambaka made attempts to see the ball to the net in both the 35th and 38th minutes, with his second offering thumping off the crossbar.

Byrne had a wonderful opportunity to double UFV’s lead in the 40th minute from 12 yards out, but his shot sailed high.

The second half opened with new energy from the Spartans as Urzinger scored his first goal of the season in the 47th minute, with an assist to Brayden Gant.

The Spartans nearly took the lead in the 60th minute when Urzinger blasted a shot from in tight, but UFV goalie Alex Skrzeta, who made six stops on the night, was equal to the task.

Byrne put UFV ahead and excited a large lot of visiting supporters at Rogers Field with a tidy finish off a feed from Connor MacMillan, who had gotten loose down the left side.

The comeback efforts of the Spartans were finally successful when Roxburgh scored with five minutes left to tie the game, with a patient assist from Adekugbe.

The Cascades men’s soccer team is off this weekend. They wrap up the regular season on the road vs. UVic on Oct. 23 and vs. UBC on Oct. 24.

– with files from Trinity Western Athletics

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