UFV Sports Friday – Hoops, Volleyball, Soccer

Abbotsford/Chilliwack – Men’s Basketball: Cascades fend off Wesmen’s comeback, win exhibition tourney opener

The University of The Fraser Valley men’s basketball team held off the Winnipeg Wesmen down the stretch to record a 71-64 victory at the 2015 Lea Marc Printing Men’s Basketball Tournament on Friday evening.

In the opening game of the exhibition tourney at the University of Winnipeg’s Dr. David F. Anderson Gymnasium, the Cascades held a 20-point lead (48-28) midway through the third quarter, but needed every ounce of energy to hold off a fast-charging Wesmen squad.

Fourth-year power forward Nate Brown was the Cascades’ top scorer with 15 points, while newcomer Mark Johnson contributed 14 points and nine rebounds. Vijay Dhillon also scored in double figures, counting a trio of three-pointers among his 11 points.

“We kind of played a little hot and cold,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said. “We got ourselves a lead, but weren’t able to hold it on a couple of occasions. Winnipeg really played heard and showed a lot of heart, and made some great runs back at us.

“We showed flashes of playing some really good basketball, and having balanced scoring isn’t anything new for us. Our good stretches were really good and our poor stretches weren’t great. We’ve just got to work on being more consistent.”

The two teams were deadlocked at 12 after the opening quarter, but the Cascades found some breathing room in the second, outscoring the Wesmen 24-12 in the frame to carry a 36-24 lead into the halftime break.

In the third quarter, after UFV built a 20-point lead, Winnipeg responded with a 15-4 run, sparked by three-pointers by Jamar Farley and Jelane Pryce.

The hosts opened the fourth quarter on a 12-3 run to start the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 57-55 with seven minutes remaining in the contest, but the Cascades went on a late run to secure the victory.

Winnipeg was led by guard Denzel Lynch-Blair’s 14 points and nine rebounds. Pryce, the Wesmen’s senior star, added 12 points, but the Cascades harassed him into 3-of-19 shooting from the field. Farley finished with 11 points, including three treys.

The Cascades wrap up the tourney against the Manitoba Bisons on Saturday at 8 p.m. Central time. Winnipeg will play Brandon in the early game at 6 p.m.

Women’s Basketball: Claggett leads Cascades to exhibition win over Blues

A big game from rookie forward Taylor Claggett powered the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team to a 75-48 exhibition win over the Capilano Blues on Friday at the Envision Athletic Centre.

Claggett notched her second double-double in as many games, racking up 20 points and 12 rebounds – both game-high totals – as the Cascades turned aside the PacWest conference’s Blues.

Kayli Sartori chipped in with 15 points, while Sydney Williams posted 12 points and seven boards for UFV. Karyn Nelson, with 12 points, was the lone Capilano player to score in double figures.

Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer noted that Claggett, a graduate of Abbotsford’s Mennonite Educational Institute, is seeing increased playing time due to the absence of veteran power forward Katie Brink due to injury, and is taking full advantage.

“She’s seen it as an opportunity, and she’s done some great things with it,” Tuchscherer said. “She’s not playing like a rookie. She’s always been pretty composed and able to draw fouls, and it’s nice to see her able to do that here as well. It’s kind of cool – it’s a bright spot for sure.”

Tuchscherer felt there was room for improvement for his team, though – they combined to shoot just 6-for-27 (22.2 per cent) from beyond the arc, for instance.

“I thought we were okay,” he analyzed. “I thought we moved the ball okay in the first half and we shared the ball well, and I thought we did a great job of pushing (the ball) which was good. But we didn’t hit shots tonight, and I didn’t think we were locked in defensively how we needed to be. We gave up some easy looks, which was frustrating at times.

“We need to be able to play 40 minutes, and we’re a long ways away from that at this point. It’s a work in progress, and it’s a young group out there trying to figure things out.”

The Cascades’ final preseason game is Saturday night at 6 p.m. at the Envision Athletic Centre, against the Western Mustangs. Admission is by donation of a non-perishable food item for the Abbotsford Food Bank.

Women’s Soccer: Cascades fall 2-1 on the road to T-Birds

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team dropped a 2-1 decision on the road to the UBC Thunderbirds on Friday evening.

The Cascades had a promising start, earning five first-half corner kicks and having the better of the territorial play for much of the half. But the CIS No. 4-ranked T-Birds started finding some traction before the break, and they carried that momentum into the second half, netting two quick goals courtesy Amrit Berar and Jasmin Dhanda.

The Cascades found a response just four minutes after UBC’s second goal, as sophomore striker Monika Levarsky scored her team-leading seventh goal of the season – third-most in Canada West – off a cross from Amanda Carruthers. But the T-Birds (11-1-1) kept them at bay from that point, dropping the Cascades’ record to 8-4-1.

“It was too little too late for us, and we couldn’t get back in it,” noted UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht, whose squad had dealt UBC its lone loss of the season by a 2-1 score back on Sept. 12.

“The start of the game was fine – we did really well, and we were in their end more than they were in ours. But we kind of lost our way a bit, and it was frustrating. You can’t do that against a quality team like UBC.”

The loss to UBC, combined with Trinity Western’s 1-0 road win over the Victoria Vikes, means that the highest the Cascades can finish in the West Division standings is third. But third place would mean a home playoff game, and UFV can clinch that result with a win or a draw in tomorrow’s regular season finale at UVic (5 p.m. start). A loss would mean returning to Victoria next weekend for their first-round playoff game.

Men’s Soccer: Vikes rally in second half, beat Cascades 3-1

With a chance to clinch second place in the Pacific Division, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team built a first-half lead on the road against the Victoria Vikes on Friday evening.

But the Vikes came storming back after the break, scoring three times in a 15-minute span to claim a 3-1 victory.

The result enabled UVic (5-3-3, 18 points) to leapfrog the Cascades (5-4-2, 17 points) for second place in the Pacific, and the Vikes control their destiny with one regular-season game to go for each. UFV visits the undefeated UBC Thunderbirds on Saturday (7 p.m. start, webcast at canadawest.tv), while Victoria hosts the Trinity Western Spartans.

Fifth-year captain Colton O’Neill put the Cascades in front in the 27th minute, after the ball deflected up and off the hand of Vikes defender Keevan Webb for a UFV penalty. O’Neill stepped to the spot and made no mistake, driving the ball off the post and past Vikes keeper Noah Pawlowski for his team-leading fourth goal of the season.

In the second half, the Vikes needed only five minutes to reverse their fortunes. After a three-way passing play in the middle of the field, UVic’s Cam Hundal found the ball on the left side of the box facing a one-on-one with a Cascades defender. Hundal took the shot and put it far post for his sixth goal of the season to even the score 1-1.

In the 55th minute, the Vikes took advantage on a corner that was nodded in by defender Michael Baart – his first goal of the season in his second start. The Vikes extended their lead through Baart again in the 60th, this time on the break after Hundal slipped a ball through to the middle of the box.

“We did well in the first half – we defended as a unit, we had the PK, and we looked strong defensively,” UFV head coach Tom Lowndes analyzed. “In the second half, I think nerves crept in. I think we knew what was on the line.

“We went into our shell and had a bad 15 minutes, and we were punished for it. Give a good attacking team like UVic chances, and they’re going to score goals.

“Even at 3-1, we had a period of 20 or 25 minutes where we dominated the game. Maybe if one of those goes in, it’s a different game.”

The Cascades will need a result against CIS co-No. 1 UBC on Saturday, and some help from Trinity Western against UVic, in order to secure the No. 2 seed in the Pacific – and the home playoff game that comes with that distinction.

“It’s out of our hands,” Lowndes noted. “In a way, we can play with a bit of freedom. We can go out, enjoy the game and work hard . . . and where we’ll fall is where we’ll fall.”

Men’s Volleyball: Royals edge Cascades in five-set thriller

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team pushed one of the top programs in the nation to the limit on Friday evening, ultimately dropping a five-set decision on the road to the Douglas Royals.

The Cascades staggered the Royals, perennially among the top teams in the PacWest conference and the 2016 CCAA national championship host, by winning the first set. Douglas battled back to win the next two, but UFV levelled the match at two sets apiece to force a fifth. The Cascades led by a couple points early, but the Royals reeled off a huge run to put the finishing touches on a 19-25, 25-18, 25-19, 23-25, 15-8 victory.

“It wasn’t the finish we were hoping for, but overall it was a great match for us,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen said. “We played well in that first set, and we found our rhythm. We just had some trouble starting each set – that’s what got us into trouble. That made it difficult, facing an uphill battle.

“We had some unfortunate events at the end of the fifth set, but at the same time, we battled pretty well.”

Donen shifted fifth-year outside hitter Adam Chaplin to right side on Friday, and he gave the Cascades a different look against the Royals. Middles Connor Nickel and Dayton Pagliericci also had strong performances, and setter Adam Fredrickson did a good job of feeding them the ball. Libero Isaiah Dahl was outstanding, with 20 digs.

The Cascades and Royals clash again on Saturday at the New Westminster campus, starting at 7 p.m.

“I feel confident about how we’ll be tomorrow,” Donen said. “We showed ourselves tonight we’re a good team.”

Women’s Volleyball: Royals beat Cascades in three sets

The Douglas Royals dealt the University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team its first loss of the campaign on Friday evening in New Westminster.

The Cascades, coming off a pair of wins over the Columbia Bible College Bearcats last weekend, dropped a three-set decision (25-18, 25-17, 25-21) to the Royals to fall to 2-1 on the season.

“Douglas played very well tonight,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray said. “We had some excellent plays but could not get anything rolling.”

The Cascades had gotten great production from middles Monique Huber and Mandelyn Erikson in their last outing, a four-set win over CBC last Saturday, and the duo continued to demonstrate great chemistry with setter Nicole Blandford against Douglas.

Gilray was also pleased with the play of Keira Fischer off the bench as the Cascades switched to a 6-2 offensive system with starting right side Kara Williams taking over the setting duties.

The Cascades get another crack at the Royals on Saturday, in a 5 p.m. start at the New Westminster campus.

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