Cascades soccer men second at Keg Spring Cup

James Najman was instrumental for the Cascades on the weekend, drawing a pair of fouls in the box. (Tree Frog Imaging file photo)

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team wrung the maximum amount of drama out of its highest-profile spring exhibition tournament, finishing second at the Keg Cup hosted by the University of Victoria after a pair of games that went to penalties.

On Saturday, the Cascades trailed the host Victoria Vikes 1-0 in the late going, but striker James Najman was taken down in the box and Gurmaan Jhaj converted from the spot to knot the score. In lieu of extra time, the game went straight to penalty kicks, where UFV keeper David Hicks came up with two saves, and Jhaj, Nate Trampleasure, Tammer Byrne and Elijah Sampson were successful on their attempts.

The Cascades faced the Trinity Western Spartans in Sunday’s tourney final, and once again got their regulation-time offence via a Jhaj penalty kick after Najman was toppled in the area. Jhaj’s initial shot was saved, but he slotted home the rebound to tie the score 1-1 in the 70th minute.

UFV didn’t fare as well in their second penalty-kick shootout in as many days – Byrne, Trampleasure and Brady Weir converted their attempts, but TWU’s keeper came up with saves on Sampson and Bronson Hartley to win it for the Spartans.

The consolation final saw UVic and UBC tie 2-2.

Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes was pleased with the weekend, and noted that Ryan Donald and Max Morgan were among the defensive standouts for his squad.

“The Keg Cup is a quality competition, and we get to face quality teams we see in-season,” he said. “We definitely, by far, had the youngest squad, and I was happy with how some of the younger players stepped up. I saw a real sense of togetherness and a desire to fight for each other, which will put us in a good place for next season.”

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