Byrne’s goal boost UFV past TWU, punches Cascades’ playoff ticket


A second-half goal by Kree Byrne lifted the University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team to a 1-0 road win over the Trinity Western Spartans on Friday evening.

More importantly, it enabled the Cascades to punch their ticket to the Canada West playoffs for the second consecutive year.

“It was a terrific squad performance, and they all really played their part,” Cascades head coach Alan Errington said afterward.

“We’ve achieved our first goal, which is to make the playoffs. I think the players have really started to become good pros. They’re learning the game, and they’re building experience in the team.”

It was tightly contested first half as neither team allowed much in the way of offensive forays.

In the 34th minute, the Cascades had their best chance of the opening half when Justin Sekhon stepped around his defender in the box and had a clear-cut shot from six yards out. But Spartans goalie Evan Lowther cut down the angle and did well to block Sekhon’s shot.

UFV outshot the Spartans 4-1 through 45 minutes but few of the Cascades chances were Grade A. In the second half, it was more of the same.

But the game changed in the 73rd minute when Byrne opened the scoring. The third-year midfielder from Abbotsford was sprung on a breakaway thanks to a perfectly weighted pass by Michael Mobilio, and slotted his shot from the top of the box past Lowther.

From there, the Spartans generated a few chances but were unable to put anything on target.

Mark Village was forced to make just one save to earn the clean sheet for UFV while Lowther made six saves in the loss.

“I thought we did very well, considering the conditions – it was very wet,” Errington said. “Credit the Trinity team – they had to win tonight to stay alive, and they battled and made it very hard for us. But we pulled through.”

The loss puts TWU (3-6-2, 11 points) in a precarious position in terms of the playoffs. They trail the UBC Okanagan Heat (4-5-1, 13 points) for the Pacific Division’s fourth and final post-season berth, and have just one game remaining (Sunday at first-place UBC) while UBC-O has two left against cellar-dwelling Thompson Rivers University.

The Cascades (6-4-1, 19 points) are comfortably in the playoff picture, and wrap up the regular season on Saturday at UVic (7:15 p.m. start). They’re currently third in the Pacific Division and can finish no higher, but could be overtaken by UBC-O if they lose to the Vikes and the Heat win both vs. TRU.

– with files from TWU Athletics