The UFV Cascades are once again Canada West men’s soccer bronze medalists.
UFV earned its second bronze medal in the past three years, after beating the TWU Spartans 2-1 on Saturday at UBC Thunderbirds Stadium.
Connor MacMillan opened the scoring in the 46th minute for the Cascades and then set up Michael Mobilio for the game winner in the 72nd minute. The Spartans added a late goal to make it close, but UFV hung on for the victory.
“I’m really proud,” Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes said. “They’re a fantastic group to coach, and I think we deserved it over the course of the season. It’s huge for the program, and a really nice way to finish the season.”
The Cascades were coming off a 3-0 defeat to the UBC Thunderbirds on Friday that dashed the club’s hopes for a national championship. The bronze medal showing matches the best-ever conference finish for the men’s team, which also earned a bronze in 2013.
“It was a slow start for both teams – you could tell, emotionally, how much yesterday’s games took out of us and Trinity,” said Lowndes. “As the first half wore on, we got a foothold in the game and started to press them a bit more. We didn’t want halftime to come. As we like to do, we made it interesting at the end by letting them back in. But we defended well, and we saw the game out. Fantastic result for the boys.”
It was the final game for right back Colton O’Neill, who finishes his university career with a pair of bronze medals. Lowndes said O’Neill has been a big part of the program during his tenure.
“There’s not much you can say about Colton O’Neill that hasn’t already been said,” he said. “The kid’s a winner. Fantastic player, a privilege to coach, an all-around first-class person. And by far, for me, probably the best player to ever play for this program.”
The gold medal game saw UBC defeat UVic 2-1 in overtime, and that means Abbotsford’s Gagan Dosanjh gets a shot at a national title. The fifth-year midfielder picked up an assist in the win.
UBC heads to the CIS men’s soccer championship in Toronto from Nov. 12 to 15.