UFV’s Tavia Jasper battles for the ball against a Winnipeg player from a game earlier this year. The women hit the pitch in Abbotsford on Friday and Saturday. Dan Kinvig/UFV Athletics

Big weekend for UFV soccer teams

Playoff implications for Cascades men’s and women’s squads

With the Canada West playoffs looming, this weekend is a big one for the UFV Cascades men’s and women’s soccer teams.

The UFV women (2-2-2) are home for a pair of crucial games against Pacific Division rivals. The Cascades currently occupy the sixth and final playoff spot in the division, but have the chance to gain ground with good results.

The Cascades host the third place UBC Thunderbirds (4-0-2) on Friday and then welcome the fourth place Victoria Vikes (3-1-2) on Saturday. Both games kick off at 7 p.m. at the MRC Sports Complex in Abbotsford.

Head coach Rob Giesbrecht said that while the Cascades can draw confidence from those games, they’ll need to execute at a higher level to bank more points in this weekend’s home-field rematches.

“There’s no fear,” he said of playing UBC and UVic. “We respect both these teams, and we know we played both teams tough – we were disappointed to get just one point from the two games a couple weeks ago.

“I think it comes down to execution. We need to create more opportunities to score goals, and execute those opportunities when presented.”

The women are coming off a recent road trip to Edmonton that saw them grab one out of a possible six points.

The weekend might even be more critical for the men, who currently are involved in a logjam in the Pacific Division standings.

Only the top four clubs from the division qualify for the postseason, and UFV (3-3-3) sit in fifth place but have the same winning percentage as three other teams. The final spot will likely go down to the wire.

This weekend, the men head to the Okanagan for games against the UBC-O Heat on Friday and then versus the TRU WolfPack on Saturday.

UFV hosted the Heat and the WolfPack on back-to-back nights earlier this season, requiring late goals to earn 1-1 draws with both teams.

“It’s a really tough place to go,” UFV head coach Tom Lowndes said. “Both those teams are strong at home – they like playing at home, and they’ve had a lot of success at home. It’ll be up to us to go on the road and continue to do the things we’ve been doing, worrying about ourselves first and focusing on the things we do, and attacking the weekend with a real purpose and intent to get some points.”

The men are riding a two-game shutout streak, and haven’t allowed a goal since Sept. 13.

“We’ve gotten back to being difficult to play against,” Lowndes said. “Defensively we’ve been a lot more cohesive.”

For more on both teams, visit gocascades.ca.

-With files from, Dan Kinvig UFV Athletics

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