Cascades this week: Soccer teams look to make headway at home

The University of the Fraser Valley soccer teams return to the friendly confines of MRC Sports Complex this week for a series of crucial Canada West conference games.

Friday’s doubleheader – one of just two on the Cascades’ 2018 soccer schedule – will see the women’s team take on the UNBC Timberwolves followed by the men’s team facing the Saskatchewan Huskies. In conjunction with the games, the UFV teams are hosting a Cascades soccer alumni gathering on Friday featuring free food and beverages for players from past years.

Saturday’s schedule comprises just one game – the Cascades women hosting the MacEwan Griffins.

MSOC: Cascades aim to maintain momentum vs. Huskies

Brady Weir and the Cascades sit third in the Pacific Division.

Friday, Sept. 21: Cascades (3-2-1, 3rd in Pacific Division) vs. Saskatchewan Huskies (2-4-0, T-4th in Prairie Division), 8 p.m.

MRC Sports Complex / Field 4

Webcast: CanadaWest.tv

The Cascades’ strong start to the season has seen them earn honourable mention status in the U SPORTS national rankings. They aim to continue their ascent this week against a Huskies squad which struggled at home last week against Pacific Division teams, falling to UBC and UNBC.

“It’s been a good first six games,” said Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes, whose squad posted a 3-0 win over Mount Royal and a 3-2 loss to Alberta on the road last weekend. “We’ve had a bad 45 minutes here or there, but for the most part we’ve been pretty consistent. It’s going to be a tough game this weekend – Sask is a physical team, and they’ve got some quality they’ll look to exploit. We’ll need to be ready, and we need to be tough to play against at home like we were on home-opening weekend.”

Players to watch: The Cascades have gotten outstanding production from fourth-year forward Gurmaan Jhaj – he racked up four goals last weekend, and was subsequently named the Canada West men’s second star of the week. The Aldergrove, B.C. product holds a share of the CW lead in goals (six) and points (eight), and he’s approaching the Cascades’ all-time record for goals in a CW season with nine games yet to play. The current record of eight goals is jointly held by Sasa Plavsic (2012) and Spencer Schmidt (2007). The Huskies, meanwhile, are looking to get their offence back on track after losing both games last weekend via shutout, and fifth-year forward Tyler Redl will be key in that department. He’s currently tied for fifth on the conference goal-scoring list with four this season.

WSOC: T-Wolves, Griffins on the docket for Cascades

Cascades rookie forward Jashan Sandhar jockeys for position with a UVic opponent.

Friday, Sept. 21: Cascades (0-2-2, 8th in Pacific Division) vs. UNBC Timberwolves (1-1-2, 6th in Pacific Division), 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 22: Cascades vs. MacEwan Griffins (2-1-1, T-3rd in Pacific Division)

MRC Sports Complex / Field 4

Webcast: CanadaWest.tv

The Cascades women’s squad turned in promising performances on the road last week, but they’re still seeking their first win in conference play after picking up a pair of 2-2 draws – Friday at the Winnipeg Wesmen, Saturday at the Manitoba Bisons.

“We’re improving as the season is progressing,” head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. “We look forward to putting forward a solid 90 minutes each night and playing an assertive style of soccer that puts our opponents under pressure, and then capitalizing on goal-scoring chances. We need to minimize our lulls and our mental errors – it’s part of the maturation process for individuals and our team.”

Players to watch: Cascades fourth-year forward Brittney Zacharuk leads the team in goals (two) and points (three) through four games, and the UFV team captain will need to continue to be productive as the team seeks to climb the Pacific Division standings. The UNBC Timberwolves are coming off a solid homestand, defeating Regina 3-1 and tying Saskatchewan 2-2, and third-year midfielder Paige Payne is pacing the offence. She’s tied for second in the conference in goals (three) and tied for third in points (four). The Griffins, meanwhile, have been stingy defensively – they rank fourth in CW with just three goals against. Goalkeeper Emily Burns has been strong, posting an .800 save percentage to go with one shutout.

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Indigenizing at UFV

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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