The lone goal of the match came in the 18th minute when Najman got his head on a Colton O’Neill free kick and arced it just over the outstretched gloves of TRU keeper Travis Froehlich. It was a dispiriting moment for the home team and for the press box commentators, who were forced to pause a lengthy comparison of UFV mascot Sasq’ets to a Brillo brush, and glumly narrate the UFV goal.
UFV keeper Arturo Ortiz made several key saves to keep the Cascades in the lead, including a point-blank denial of TRU striker Oriol Torres in the 19th minute. Tonight was Ortiz’s first start for the Cascades this season, and also his first shut-out as a Cascade. Ortiz is a former TRU player, which makes this victory all the sweeter.
A second goal seemed tantalizingly close in the second half as UFV peppered 12 shots at the TRU net, and capitalized on the extra space as the WolfPack were forced to push for an equalizer. Between the 60th and 62nd minute the Cascades took four corner kicks in a row and came close to doubling their lead. The always tricksy Kree Byrne worked magic on the right flank, while his brother Tammer helped shut down a very tall and aggressive TRU offense.
Coach Alan Errington named James Najman the Player of the Match, with Tammer a close second.
“I’m very pleased with tonight’s performance,” said Errington. “There were a few more chances that I would have liked to see go in, but every player contributed which was markedly different from last night. It wasn’t an easy game, but I don’t think there are easy games anymore in this league.”
UFV will return to the friendly confines of Abby Senior Pitch for its next match against UNBC Timberwolves on Friday, September 19 (7:00 pm).