The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team suffered its first defeat of the young Canada West campaign, dropping a 1-0 decision on the road to the UBC Okanagan Heat on Tuesday afternoon.
The Cascades, 1-0 winners over the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in their Canada West opener on Monday, were slow out of the gates on Day 2 of the regular season. The host Heat had the better of the play in the first half, and were rewarded in the 20th minute when Luke Warkentin found himself alone in front of UFV keeper Alex Skrzeta and slotted a low shot home.
The Cascades (1-1-0) found more offensive traction after the break, but were unable to generate an equalizer as UBCO (1-0-1) hung on for its initial win of the season.
“First half was disappointing – we came out flat,” UFV head coach Tom Lowndes analyzed. “We gave them too much time on the ball, too much space, and we conceded a poor goal that we should have done better on in various aspects. It was a tale of two halves – I thought in the second half, we dominated. We created some half-chances on set pieces, but couldn’t find the back of the net. But the attitude, the fight, the desire was there. We fought until the last minute, and that’s what I want from my team. We can take that moving on to Friday.”
The Heat got all the offence they would need in the 20th minute. UBCO’s Taylor Piche ventured into the box and fired a low shot that was knocked away by a diving Skrzeta. The rebound, though, found its way past a pair of Cascades defenders and back onto the foot of Piche, who slipped a pass over to Warkentin, all alone to the left of goal. Skrzeta had little chance on his point-blank effort.
The Cascades would end up outshooting the Heat 8-6, and had a dangerous look in injury time when Brady Weir’s free kick from just beyond the left edge of the box rattled around dangerously in front for a few moments. But UBCO was able to clear, and keeper Nicholas Reitsma wrapped up the clean sheet.
“We got some good performances from our young players,” Lowndes said. “Sahib Sidhu played 90 minutes once again, and Andrew Peat came on at halftime and looked lively. It was a good team effort in the second half, and one we’ll look to build on.”
Home opener on horizon
Up next for the Cascades is home-opening weekend, which will see them host the UBC Thunderbirds and Victoria Vikes at MRC Sports Complex.
The T-Birds – ranked No. 1 in the Canada West preseason coaches poll and No. 7 in the U SPORTS national rankings – are the guests on Friday (6:30 p.m. start), and the Vikes come to town on Sunday (2 p.m.). Both games will be webcast at CanadaWest.tv.
“The scheduling hasn’t helped us, but we won’t use that as an excuse,” Lowndes noted, alluding to the fact that the Cascades’ games at TRU and UBCO were postponed by two days due to poor air quality, thus compressing their schedule. “We’ll come back home, rest, and get back at it Friday. We’ll try to make life difficult for UBC and shock the world. Then on Sunday we’ll look to get back at it against UVic, and try to take some points.”