Four University of the Fraser Valley soccer standouts have earned Canada West all-star recognition.
Monika Levarsky and Tristan Corneil of the Cascades women’s soccer program have both been named Canada West first team all-stars. On the men’s side, UFV’s Tammer Byrne and Daniel Davidson have been voted to the first and second teams, respectively.
The conference first and second all-star teams each feature five defensive players, five offensive players and a goalkeeper, and are voted on by the head coaches.
Levarsky and Corneil both earn their second career all-star nods – Levarsky was a second-teamer in 2014, and Corneil was a first-teamer in 2015. Together, they’ve carved out a bit of team history as the first Cascades women’s soccer players to earn first-team honours in the same year.
In her third season with the Cascades, Surrey, B.C. product Levarsky was an offensive powerhouse. She finished tied for second in Canada West with 10 goals and added six assists, and picked up a CIS female athlete of the week award along the way. Her offensive totals were all the more remarkable considering her campaign was cut short when she suffered a torn ACL in the second-last game of the regular season.
“I’m so proud of Monika,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. “She worked so hard to get herself ready for this season, and had an outstanding year. I love the fact that she persevered through the first couple weekends of not being able to finish, and when the goals came, they came thick and fast. Throughout the entire season, even when she wasn’t scoring goals, she was creating chances for others and leading our pressing with her tenacity, athleticism and competitiveness.”
Corneil, a fifth-year player who hails from Cloverdale, B.C., notched one goal from her centre back position, but her true value to the Cascades was reflected in the fact that the team trimmed its goals-against significantly this year (20 in 2015, 12 in 2016) while increasing its number of clean sheets (three in 2015, seven in 2016). She’s the first Cascades women’s soccer player to earn a pair of Canada West first team all-star nods in her career.
“It’s a great award for Tristan – she had a great year,” Giesbrecht said. “We graduated two of our starting defenders (Dayle Jeras and Jade Palm) last year, yet this year our goals-against went down and we had more clean sheets. That’s a testament to Tristan’s solid defensive play leading our back three, her will to win, and her drive for excellence.”
Byrne picked up his second Canada West all-star award – he was a second-teamer in 2015 – and he becomes the first two-time conference all-star in program history. The Abbotsford, B.C. product anchored a Cascades backline which made significant strides collectively this season. UFV kept clean sheets in eight of 16 games this season, and cut their goals-against from 19 to 15.
“Tammer’s a quality player, and he’s gotten better and better every season,” Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes enthused. “The kid’s just a natural-born leader. He doesn’t lead by shouting and screaming – he leads by example, and he’s a fantastic role model for our younger players. We’re very lucky to have a player of his calibre as part of our program.”
Davidson, a third-year forward/midfielder from Abbotsford, earned his first all-star nod. He registered three goals, two assists and a team-high 40 shots for the Cascades this season, and showed a propensity for coming through in big moments. All three of his goals were game-winners.
“Dan’s looked dangerous all year, and he’s caused teams a lot of problems,” Lowndes noted. “He’s got electric pace, and he can finish. He’s a very good one-v-one attacker, and he’s helped us win some big games this season. We’re fortunate to have someone with his attacking quality in the squad.”