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Cascades blank T-wolves in doubleheader

The UNBC men's soccer side was swept in a two-game series by the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades on the weekend.
Brett Bobier (green) tries to block Connor MacMillan (white) from the ball at the North Cariboo Senior Soccer League fields on Sunday as the UNBC Timberwolves mens soccer team took on the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades.

The UNBC men's soccer side was swept in a two-game series by the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades on the weekend.

And while the team was disappointed after suffering a 1-0 loss Saturday and a 3-0 loss Sunday, Timberwolves captain Tofa Fakunle said the players remain confident half way through the season.

"This may sound weird since we lost 3-0, but that's some of the best football we've played in the entire season," Fakunle said after Sunday's match at the North Cariboo Senior Soccer League Fields. "It's really coming together this season. We're playing 100 times better and that's credit to (interim head coach) Steve (Simonson) and (assistant coach) Wes Barrett.

"We had some decisions not go our way in both games."

Sunday's match between the two Canadian Interuniversity Sport Canada West sides, played under cool and cloudy conditions, was one where five yellow cards and a red card were issued.

The Cascades didn't take long to strike, only eight minutes into the match. A through ball found its way to captain Colton O'Neill, who was streaking down the right wing. He slid a pass into the centre of the box to Daniel Molendijk, who booted the ball past Timberwolves starting goal keeper Ty Venhola from about eight yards out.

UNBC had its best scoring chance of the first half with less than a minute remaining. Midfielder Josh McAvoy got in behind UFV's back line on the right side of the goal box but his left-footed shot just missed the goal and eclipsed the goal post.

The Timberwolves created more chances in the second half but the Cascades took advantage of a UNBC penalty after UFV's Mason Thompson was brought down by defender Dan Goodey. O'Neill converted the penalty shot into a goal in the 61st minute.

Goodey was sent off the pitch in the 83rd minute after receiving a second yellow card and the Timberwolves found themselves down to 10 guys.

UFV took advantage and Brady Weir converted a pass from James Najman to score the Cascades' third goal.

UNBC defender Gordon Hall, who returned to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension for accumulating three yellow cards, was denied a goal off a rebound after his teammate James Stephens drilled a low shot and UFV keeper Alex Skrzeta made the save.

Hall and Goodey were key in directing the T-wolves attack from the back line.

"They were just phenomenal, Gordon and Dan are just fantastic centre backs," said Fakunle.

The Cascades improved to 4-2 and sit in third place in the Canada West Pacific Division, while the Timberwolves fell to 1-5.

UNBC now hosts the UBC Thunderbirds in a two-game set this weekend, Saturday and Sunday at 2:15 p.m.

At 4-0-1, the Thunderbirds are the fourth-ranked side in the CIS.

Fakunle said the matches represent another tough test, but he's confident the T-wolves will be up to the task.

"So far, all the credit goes to Steve and Wes, who've tried to change the culture of this team and implement new strategies," said Fakunle.

On the women's side, the visiting Cascades beat the Timberwolves 6-1 Sunday afternoon for their fifth consecutive win. The Cascades used their speed to win balls in the midfield and create a lot of scoring chances.

UFV scored three times in the first half and tacked on three more goals in the second half.

Trailing 5-0, third-year midfielder Tianna Pius passed the ball to forward Sydney Hall, who buried it for her second goal of the season.

The loss was UNBC's fifth straight of the season. The Timberwolves are now 0-5-1 in the West Division.

The Cascades, the sixth-ranked side in the CIS, improved to 5-0-1.

UNBC now hosts the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns (2-2-2) Friday (7 p.m.) and the 5-1 University of Calgary Dinos Sunday (noon).