Cascades, T-Wolves duel to draw in Prince George

UFV’s Gurmaan Jhaj notched a goal in Friday’s 2-2 tie with UNBC. (Photos courtesy UNBC Athletics)

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team turned in a solid performance on the road on Friday evening, but had to settle for a single point in a 2-2 draw with the UNBC Timberwolves.

The Cascades twice built one-goal leads, via Brady Weir and Gurmaan Jhaj, and head coach Tom Lowndes was pleased with how his team possessed the ball and carried the play for long stretches. The host T-Wolves, though, scored twice off set pieces to secure the tie.

UFV (4-6-3) and UNBC (4-5-6) clash again on Saturday in Prince George (5 p.m., webcast at CanadaWest.tv).

David Parfett controls the ball in the midfield.

“I’m really pleased with how we played with the ball,” Lowndes analyzed afterward. “We played some of our best football of the year. We passed it to death at times, and caused absolute havoc. We defended really well for 80 minutes, but we switched off on two set pieces and weren’t able to deal with the direct play that they offered.”

The Cascades opened the scoring in the 26th minute, when Weir and Spencer Williams turned a give-and-go into a breakaway that Weir converted for his team-leading fourth goal of the campaign.

However, the home side answered just six minutes later. Gordon Hall buried a header off a Dan Goodey corner, knotting the game at one apiece.

In the 62nd minute, Jhaj found himself open after a cross into the box from Charlie Lovell. He made no mistake for his second of the season.

The Timberwolves found some traction in the dying minutes and had a number of scoring opportunities, including a point-blank Brett Bobier header that was turned away by Cascades goalkeeper David Hicks.

In the 86th minute, UNBC’s Cheona Edzerza scored on a header off a Jonah Smith free kick, squaring the match 2-2.

Hicks made another great save in the dying minutes – Francesco Bartolillo’s header found the inside of the far post, but the UFV keeper was able to grab the ball off the line, maintaining the deadlock.

“For the last 10 minutes they were on the ascendancy, but over the first 80 minutes, if we take our chances, we’re up 4-1 and that second goal doesn’t matter,” Lowndes said.

“I’m really pleased with how we were with the ball. We showed some maturity, and we finally have an identity as a team. I’m happy with where this team is going.”

– with files from Rich Abney, UNBC Athletics

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The University of the Fraser Valley is situated on the unceded traditional territory of the Stó:lō peoples. The Stó:lō have an intrinsic relationship with what they refer to as S’olh Temexw (Our Sacred Land); therefore, we express our gratitude and respect for the honour of living and working in this territory.

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