Cascades men’s soccer battles Griffins to 2-2 draw

Cascades midfielder Spencer Williams battles for the ball with MacEwan’s Lahai Mansaray. (Chris Piggott photo / MacEwan Athletics)

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team earned a point on the road on Sunday afternoon, settling for a 2-2 tie with the MacEwan Griffins in Edmonton.

The Griffins (1-6-1) took a 1-0 lead into halftime on Christian Hernandez’s goal, but the Cascades (2-4-2) rallied after the break, surging ahead on goals by Jassi Mann and Brady Weir. The hosts, though, secured the stalemate on Lahai Mansaray’s strike in the 84th minute.

“We were poor in the first half, with and without the ball,” UFV head coach Tom Lowndes analyzed. “We didn’t play with enough tempo or energy – we didn’t press them enough and let them have the ball.

“Second half, it was night and day. We played with a much higher tempo. We passed the ball, we were brave, and we had some intensity and bite to us.”

The Griffins opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Hernandez volleyed home Mansaray’s cross.

The Cascades’ second-half performance was much brighter, and Mann equalized in the 60th minute with his first goal of the campaign. Off a UFV free kick, Mann tracked down the ball in the box and unleashed a terrific left-footed strike into the top corner.

Weir gave the Cascades the lead in the 82nd minute on his second goal of the season. Parman Minhas made a run down the left side and sent Weir through, and the third-year midfielder took on a Griffins defender and fired a shot that took a deflection on its way into the net.

But two minutes later, the score was level again after Mansaray knocked a rebound past UFV keeper Alex Skrzeta.

Lowndes credited reserves like Mann, David Parfett and Charlie Lovell for turning the tide in favour of the Cascades in the second half.

“We would have preferred six points, but this is a tough road trip,” he said, alluding to the fact the Cascades played in Lethbridge on Saturday afternoon, winning 2-1. “We’ll take it and go on to next week.”

The Cascades hit the road this coming weekend to face the Thompson Rivers WolfPack (Saturday, 12 p.m.) and the UBC Okanagan Heat (Sunday, 3 p.m.).

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