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T-wolves soccer teams remain hungry for wins on road in Abbotsford

Playoff hopes fading fast for UNBC men's and women's teams with just three games left in season
Men's soccer - Fraser Valey vs. T-wolves Oct15-21
Kensho Ando of the UNBC Timberwolves goes on the attack during Friday's game against the Fraser Valley Cascades in Abbotsford. The T-wolves rallied to tie the Cascades 2-2.

The UNBC Timberwolves are mathematically still in the hunt for a Canada West men’s soccer playoff spot but with just three games left they’re going have to win them all.

Victory eluded the T-wolves Friday night in Abbotsford, where they rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie the Fraser Valley Cascades 2-2.

Cody Gysbers, in his return from an ankle injury that sidelined him for five games, scored the tying goal in the 87th minute off a penalty shot to help UNBC clinch an important point in the standings. Gysbers took the shot after teammate Michael Henman was tripped up in the box.

“It is tough because I think, in some ways, the first half was reflective of our season,” said UNBC head coach Steve Simonson. “We were in on the goaltender four times, on breakaways, but don’t score. We dug ourselves a hole. They are fantastic on set pieces, which we knew they would be. They scored their goals in areas we knew would struggle at. Full credit to them.”

The Cascades turned a free kick into a goal to open the scoring at the 19-minute mark. Trevor Zanetta got his head on the ball and the rebound kicked out to Tobias Spiess, who scored on goalie Daniel Zadravec.

Another free kick led to the Cascades second goal in the 38th minute. Manpaul Brar’s boot created a scramble in close proximity to the T-wolves’ net and Zanetta got to the loose ball, putting it into the net off Zadravec.

Three minutes later, Henman collected his fourth point in two games to get the T-wolves on the scoreboard, angling in a shot after he was set up perfectly by Kensho Ando.

UNBC (1-4-4, seventh place) will try for its second win of the season in the rematch Sunday at 3 p.m. in Abbotsford. The tie improved the Cascades’ fifth-place record to 2-3-4.

“We need three. Sunday, we need three points,” said Simonson. “We can’t keep digging ourselves that hole.”

Meanwhile, in Canada West women’s soccer action in Abbotsford, the UNBC Timberwolves lost 2-1 Friday to Fraser Valley.

T-wolves rookie forward Kjera Hayman, who scored two goals the previous week in a 3-2 win over UBC-Okanagan, got UNBC on the scoreboard four minutes into the game. Hayman took a pass from Grace Gillman and buried it into the Cascades’ net behind goalie Joven Sandhu.

Fraser Valley built a 6-2 shot advantage but UNBC ’keeper Brooke Molby held the fort to keep the T-wolves ahead 1-0 at the half. But in the 48th minute Cascades shooter Simi Lehal went bar-down off the crossbar to tie the game and in the 58th minute Halle McCambley notched the game-winner, converting a pass from Lehal.

UNBC (1-7-1) remained in sixth place in the Canada West Pacific Division, while Fraser Valley improved its fourth-place record to 3-4-2. The teams meet again Sunday at 1 p.m. in Abbotford.

“We started extremely fast, which was great to see,” said T-wolves head coach Neil Sedgwick. “We had periods of time where we controlled, and they had times where they controlled. That’s the game of soccer. There were some great learnings that came from that.

“We will have a look at the things we have done and see how we shaped up - look at the way we started and see if we continue that. Whatever those actions were in the opening 20 minutes, fine tune those and continue them. The opposition is exceptional. I love the way Fraser Valley plays. We just have to make sure we match that.”