Cuthill records first career shutout in ground out season sweep of Cascades. Paal scores 2nd of season, 11th of career.
Men’s Soccer (Canada West Conference play)
University of Fraser Valley Cascades (4-4-0) vs. UBC Okanagan Heat (4-4-0)
|Goals by period||1||2||Tot|
|UBC Okanagan||5:32||Enzo Paal (2) (Jorden Leib)|
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – In a rematch of their September 12th 2-1 victory in Kelowna, the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s soccer team dispatched their host Fraser Valley Cascades in Abbotsford Saturday night 1-0 to claim the season sweep.
The game would be over barely after it began when second-year striker Enzo Paal (Coldstream, BC) slipped in his second goal of the season (11th career) five minutes into the match for the quick 1-0 lead that would stand through the final 85 minutes. Fourth-year forward Jorden Leib (Bellingham, WA) would pick up the assist.
Five-year veteran Austin Jones (Vernon, BC) would pick up Heat Player of the Game Honors while UFV’s Ravi Singh would get the nod as the Cascade’s man of the match.
With the match eventually stretching into extra minutes for extra opportunities for the Cascades, the Okanagan squad would not escape without a couple of scares.
Perhaps the best chance for the Cascades was when Colton O’Neill stepped up for a penalty kick in the 71st minute. Missing the PK and with second-year keeper Christopher “Tate” Cuthill deftly getting his hands and on point for every save, of which he made six, the Cascades were unable to solve the 6-5 keeper who tallied his first shutout of the season and of his Heat career.
“We challenged the guys to come out focused,” said Heat coach Dante Zanatta postgame, reflecting on how they were going to bounce back from a disappointing 2-1 defeat to the Trinity Western Spartans a night prior. “We talked about … the mistakes we were making that were costing us. I think everyone buckled down tonight.”
Specifically commenting on Cuthill’s performance in the clean sheet, Zanatta offered that “Tate was a lot better tonight than he has been, and it was a good, full-out effort for his shutout.”
Meanwhile, the head coach heaped praise for his backline too, calling tonight’s match “the best performance of [our] back four.” He went on to specifically name rookie Shaun Pilcher (Coquitlam, BC), who has seen regular starter minutes, as well as fourth-year Harrison Shrimpton, citing their contributions of “dealing with [UFV’s] direct play.”
UBC Okanagan is back to .500 boasting a 4-4-0 record, while the Cascades fall back also to a 4-4-0 record. However, the Heat have now leapfrogged into second seed in the division due to their sweep of UFV, though UVIC is also in the 12 point club with two games still in hand.
With the playoffs starting to loom more clearly overhead, the Heat are in serious position to clinch a top-four spot and earn a berth. However, Zanatta will not get too ahead of himself yet. “I’m not jinxing myself,” he laughed. “[But] it was very important to get the win tonight.”
On the road again next weekend, the Heat will visit the Vikes Friday night followed by a trip to Vancouver to see the UBC Thunderbirds Saturday. Kickoff Friday is at 7:15 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m.
Watch all the action at canadawest.tv.