Cascades stars Jhaj, Zacharuk, Olson honoured with conference awards

The University of the Fraser Valley soccer and golf programs earned plaudits at the conference level on Tuesday, as Gurmaan Jhaj, Brittney Zacharuk and Zach Olson were recognized with weekly and monthly awards.

MSOC: Jhaj named Canada West athlete of the month, third star of the week

Jhaj, a fourth-year forward with the Cascades men’s soccer team, picked up a pair of awards. The Aldergrove, B.C. product was named the Canada West men’s athlete of the month for September, while also netting the third star of the week award.

September unfolded like a dream for Jhaj. He scored in all six of the Cascades’ games in the month – racking up 10 goals and an assist in total – and led the squad to a 5-1-0 record. Jhaj scored the game-winner in all five UFV victories, placing him third all-time in Canada West history for game-winning goals in a season. He also breezed past the Cascades’ team record for goals in a season, surpassing Sasa Plavsic (2012) and Spencer Schmidt’s (2007) shared record of eight.

Over the past weekend, Jhaj netted three goals to pace the Cascades to wins over UBC Okanagan (5-1 on Friday) and Thompson Rivers (3-1 on Saturday). His most recent outburst has him tied atop the 2018 Canada West goal-scoring list with Alberta’s Easton Ongaro (10), and his 12 points are third-most in the conference.

Jhaj now moves forward for the inaugural U SPORTS athlete of the month vote, which will be conducted on social media later this week.

WSOC: Zacharuk is Canada West first star

Zacharuk, a fourth-year forward with UFV women’s soccer, is the Canada West women’s first star of the week after a pair of dynamic performances in road wins over UBC Okanagan and Thompson Rivers.

On Saturday, the Cascades’ fourth-year captain from Delta, B.C. set up the go-ahead goal and notched the insurance marker herself in a 3-1 win at UBC Okanagan. On Sunday, she racked up two goals and an assist as the UFV side wrapped up a six-point weekend with a 3-0 victory at Thompson Rivers.

Zacharuk’s big weekend moves her into a tie for third in Canada West with five goals on the season, and her eight points are tied for fourth. She now moves forward as the conference nominee for the U SPORTS women’s athlete of the week.

The Cascades soccer teams tangle with their local rivals, the Trinity Western Spartans, this weekend. They visit TWU’s Langley campus on Friday (women 5 p.m., men 7:15 p.m.), and return to MRC Sports Complex in Abbotsford on Sunday (women 2 p.m., men 4 p.m.).

MGOLF: Olson is PACWEST athlete of the week

In the aftermath of winning the men’s individual title at the UFV Invitational on the weekend, Olson is the PACWEST men’s golf athlete of the week.

The fifth-year Cascade from Strathmore, Alta. earned his second career win after firing rounds of 70 and 72 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, to finish two under par at Chilliwack Golf Club. Those scores – all the more impressive in windy, rainy conditions – left Olson four strokes clear of the field. UFV teammate Kyle Claggett, VIU’s Wyatt Brook, Langara’s Jacob Vanderpas, and Douglas’s Dustin Franko finished in a four-way tie for second at +2.

Olson’s strong play propelled the No. 1-ranked Cascades men’s team to its sixth straight PACWEST tourney win, a streak which dates back to last season. The UFV squad will look to make it seven this weekend as they participate in the PACWEST championship. The 54-hole event runs Friday through Sunday at Nanaimo Golf Club.

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