Chilliwackian Connor MacMillan patrolling the pitch for the UFV Cascades.

Chilliwackian Connor MacMillan patrolling the pitch for the UFV Cascades.

MacMillan helps UFV soccer squad make history

Chilliwack's Connor MacMillan's late goal against Alberta has propelled the Cascades to their ever Canada West Final Four appearance.

Connor MacMillan’s goal in the 84th minute lifted the University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team to a 4-3 playoff win over the Alberta Golden Bears, and into the Canada West Final Four for the second time in program history.

Playing at Foote Field in Edmonton on Saturday afternoon, the Cascades didn’t do it the easy way – after building leads of 2-0 and 3-1 in the second half, the Golden Bears roared back to knot the score 3-3.

But MacMillan restored the UFV lead, blocking an Alberta clearing attempt and then poking the ball past Golden Bears keeper Connor James, and the Cascades hung on from there. They advance to the Canada West Final Four, which will be hosted by the UBC Thunderbirds next Friday and Saturday. A semifinal victory would not only send UFV to the conference gold medal game, it would also punch their ticket to the CIS national championship, hosted by York University in Toronto, Nov. 12-15.

“I’ve aged about 10 years,” Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes joked afterward.

“We could have caved because of the goals we conceded and how unlucky we were, but we battled as a team. I couldn’t be more proud of their effort.”

The Cascades had the better of the play during a defensive-minded first half, registering three shots on target to Alberta’s zero. One of those found the back of the net – Mason Thompson slipped a slick pass through the Bears defence and into the path of fellow midfielder Kree Byrne, who beat James to the ball and chipped it over the Alberta keeper.

MacMillan made it 2-0 in the 67th minute, finishing from point-blank range after Justin Sekhon barged through the Bears defence and fed the ball over to him.

The Cascades’ lead seemed comfortable, but that goal was the first of six that the two teams would combine for during a wild 17-minute stretch.

Alberta’s Daniel Barker-Rothschild cut the UFV lead in half in the 69th minute, but less than a minute later, Cascades striker Elijah Sampson was sprung on a breakaway and hammered a rising shot under the crossbar to restore the two-goal cushion.

The Golden Bears kept coming, though, and got a fortunate bounce in the 71st minute when UFV defender Sukh Dhaliwal’s attempted clearance sliced into the top corner for an own goal. Alberta’s Tolu Esan leveled the score in the 81st minute, placing a shot just under the crossbar.

But MacMillan rescued UFV with his late-game heroics, and the Cascades weren’t about to let the lead slip away this time.

“We conceded two of the unluckiest goals,” Lowndes said. “We could have crumbled, but we kept fighting. Connor MacMillan, they say big players come through in big games, and he did. It was a well-earned victory, and we deserved nothing less.”

Just Posted

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
Student’s quote in Chilliwack high school yearbook equates graduation with end of slavery

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

(Maps.Chilliwack.com)
RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Doses prepared at pop-up vaccine clinic in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood, in the M3N postal code, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. ( THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston)
4 vaccine clinics coming to Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Fraser Health made clinics ‘low-barrier’ meaning pre-registration not required

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

Most Read