Cascades prepare for playoffs

Men's, women's team kick off Canada West postseason on Saturday

UFV's Simi Lehal chases down a Calgary Dinos defender during Canada West soccer action on Friday.

UFV's Simi Lehal chases down a Calgary Dinos defender during Canada West soccer action on Friday.

The UFV Cascades men’s and women’s soccer teams closed out the Canada West regular season in style on Saturday, with both teams posting wins as they look ahead to the playoffs this weekend.

The women set a new school record with their ninth win, blanking the Lethbridge Pronghorns 2-0 in Abbotsford on Saturday.

After a scoreless first half, midfielder Kara Delwo opened the scoring in the 48th minute. Amanda Carruthers added some insurance in the 72nd minute to give the women the record-breaking win. The previous record of eight wins was established in 2010, and equalled last year.

Women’s head coach Rob Giesbrecht said it was a notable achievement for the program.

“There was a lot at stake, and a chance to set our own program record for league wins in a season,” he said. “We told the girls to have an aggressive mentality and to take the game to our opponents, and I thought they did that. Throughout the whole first half we were going at them, creating chances, just maybe not as sharp as we’d like. We know, though, that if we keep our mentality positive and assertive, it’s just a matter of time before we get that break we need.”

The women also battled back from a 2-0 deficit to the University of Calgary Dinos on Friday to finish in a 2-2 tie. Danica Kump and Simi Lehal tallied for the Cascades.

The team may have earned a point on Friday, but they also potentially lost star player Monika Levarsky to an injury. She left early in the first half of Friday’s game with a lower body injury, and did not play on Saturday. Levarsky scored a team-high 10 goals this season, and her status for the playoffs is unknown.

The women host the Victoria Vikes on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in the Pacific Division quarter-final to open the playoffs.

The men’s team is also heading to the postseason, after closing out the season with a 2-0 win over the UNBC Timberwolves on Saturday.

Justin Sekhon and Jassi Mann scored for UFV, and it was the team’s seventh clean sheet of the season.

The men also tied UNBC on Friday, with James Najman scoring the lone goal for the Cascades.

The game marked the final game at home for graduating players Najman, Sahib Phagura, Connor MacMillan and Sukh Dhaliwal, as the team hits the road for the postseason this weekend.

UFV head coach Tom Lowndes said it was a good final game for his seniors.

“We’ve talked about the senior players and what they’ve done for the program, and yeah, it was nice to see them contribute, as well as the younger players,” he said. “We’ve got some really good young players coming through, and I think there’s some exciting times ahead for those younger players. But the oldies aren’t done just quite yet. We’ve got a playoff game next week that we’re going to go and try to win, and we’ll go from there.”

The men travel to Calgary to take on the Dinos on Saturday at 2:30 p.m in the Canada West quarterfinal.