The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team saw its season come to an end at the hands of the Calgary Dinos, who prevailed 2-0 in the Canada West quarter-finals in Calgary on Saturday afternoon.
Bori Falaye scored both goals for the Dinos, opening the scoring in the 31st minute and adding the clincher in second-half injury time with the Cascades pressing forward in search of the equalizer.
The Cascades had their opportunities – Daniel Davidson, James Najman and Sahib Phagura had point-blank chances in the six-yard box in the first 20 minutes of play, but Dinos keeper Hunter Brett was up to the task each time. Najman sent another shot off the post in the 86th minute.
“We had three quality, unbelievable chances in the first 20 minutes, and we didn’t put one away,” UFV head coach Tom Lowndes said. “Today that’s what it’s come down to. That’s the difference. If we put one of those away, it’s a different game. Moments like that change games. Obviously the lads are gutted, but we never stopped fighting.”
The Cascades dominated the early portion of the game, but it was Falaye broke the ice, heading the ball home off a corner from Jorge Leon Gomez.
UFV keeper David Hicks turned in a tremendous performance to keep his team in it. In the 66th minute, he denied the Dinos’ Robin Whittaker on a penalty kick, and he had similarly spectacular stops on Jared Fillo (53rd minute) and Falaye (73rd) to keep the Cascades within a goal. Hicks would finish with 10 saves and was named UFV’s game MVP.
Falaye rounded out the scoring just before the final whistle, volleying home a cross from Bryce Connors to ensure his team’s presence at the Canada West Final Four.
“Proud of the effort,” Lowndes summarized. “We never stopped, never gave up. Sometimes that’s the way it goes. We were unlucky to lose the game, let alone lose it 2-0.
“It hurts right now,” he added, “but we’ve achieved a first by getting the most wins in a season in program history (eight). That’s another good achievement that we can push on from.
“I’m proud to coach this group, proud to call them my players. The fact that making the playoffs isn’t good enough anymore shows how far we’ve come in the last five years.”
– with files from Olivia Krol, Dinos communications assistant