Cascades erase two-goal deficit, earn draw with WolfPack

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team fought back from a two-goal deficit to gain a point against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Saturday night at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.

It was a tale of two halves as TRU came out swinging in the first half, scoring a goal early and adding another one just before the break. UFV controlled the play from minutes 45 to 90 to see the contest through to a draw.

“If you look at the weekend as a whole, one point from six is not exactly what we wanted,” noted Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes, whose side was coming off a 3-0 loss to the UBC Okanagan Heat the night before. “But when you’re 2-0 down, you’ll take anything you can get.

“I liked the way that we battled back and we fought and we scrapped and worked hard for each other, and the way we played. We didn’t just knock it long – we played some really good football tonight, so that was pleasing to see. To come back and get a tie, it’s big for us.”

Cascades defender Sukhjit Dhaliwal plays the ball ahead during Saturday's home game vs. Thompson Rivers.

Cascades defender Sukhjit Dhaliwal plays the ball ahead during Saturday’s home game vs. Thompson Rivers.

The WolfPack opened the scoring in the fifth minute. TRU forward Ryan Glanville burst down the left wing, slipped past Cascade defender Sukhjit Dhaliwal and cut the ball across the front of goal, where Mike Harvey niftily tucked it inside the far post.

Glanville followed up his assist with a goal of his own in the 42nd minute. After receiving a quality through ball from Oriel Torres, he drove a shot low to the corner of net from just inside the 18. Cascades goalkeeper Alex Skrzeta ranged for the ball but was unable to get a hand on it, and the WolfPack carried a 2-0 lead into the dressing room.

The Cascades came within inches of cutting the TRU lead in half in the 51st minute. Midfielder Connor MacMillan moved swiftly to get on the end of Daniel Davidson’s corner kick and his attempt at goal was blocked, but Tammer Byrne was there to pick up the scraps. His hard strike from 20 yards came off the inside of the left post before Thompson Rivers managed to relieve the pressure.

UFV came close again in the 57th minute. After the ball was played into the box, Kree Byrne dove to get his head on the end of it. TRU keeper Travis Froehlich reacted quickly and palmed the ball off the post, negating the scoring chance.

The Cascades would break through in the 78th minute after MacMillan was hauled down in the box by a WolfPack defender. UFV captain Colton O’Neill stepped up and lifted the PK just under the crossbar to get his team on the board.

MSOC vs TRU Oct3-15-2

UFV striker James Najman tries to battle his way past TRU defender Finlay McPhie.

MacMillan drew UFV level just minutes later. After Byrne cut down the left side, MacMillan managed to get his toe on the cross and poke it in off the right post behind Froehlich.

Despite some frantic play in the latter stages of the game, neither team could find a game-winner and both picked up their first draws of the season.

For the game, the Cascades out-shot the WolfPack 22-10, and earned 13 corner kicks compared to just one for the visitors.

UFV now sit at 4-3-1 (W-L-T) while TRU sports a 1-4-1 record on the season.

“Even before (O’Neill) scored, I think we knew we were going to score, it was just a matter of when,” MacMillan said, alluding to the Cascades’ second-half dominance which saw them out-shoot the T-Wolves 15-4. “Just the fact that we got one in the net changed everything, and I think we knew we’d score another goal after he got that PK. And it was a good PK. I wish we got the win, but a tie’s going to have to work.

“Just the fact that we kept going . . . is a good sign. Hopefully we can carry that into the next game against Trinity.”

Next up for the Cascades is a home date versus the Trinity Western Spartans on Friday, Oct. 9 (7:30 p.m., Abbotsford Senior).

Thompson Rivers feature in an all-interior matchup when they visit the UBCO Heat next Friday.

– by Russell Arbuthnot, UFV Athletics communications staff

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