UFV Sports Saturday – Wrestling Bronze, Hoops, Soccer, V-Ball

Abbotsford/Chilliwack – Wrestling: Two individual bronze medals for Cascades in Calgary

The University of the Fraser Valley wrestling program earned a pair of individual bronze medals at the Canada West season-opening Dinos Invitational in Calgary on Saturday.

Competing on behalf of the Cascades varsity, Devin Purewal finished third in the men’s 76-kilogram division. It’s a step up in weight class for the Abbotsford product, who wrestled at 72 kg last season. On the women’s side, Pravi Dhaliwal was sixth at 59 kg.

The UFV non-varsity club team was represented by Brad Hildenbrandt and Amanveer Kaler. Hildenbrandt, moving up two weight classes from last season, took bronze in the heavyweight (130 kg) division, while Kaler dropped both of his matches in the 65 kg class.

“The first weekend, I think, is where they kind of find out where they are,” said Cascades co-coach Raj Virdi. “We made a couple of errors in our matches where we could have changed things completely. But that happens in wrestling.

“It was a really good weekend. We don’t have too much quantity, but we do have quality.”

The UFV wrestlers also participated in exhibition matches on Friday evening, prior to Saturday’s official Canada West event, and combined for a 4-1 record. On the men’s side, Purewal and Hildenbrandt both won their matches 10-0 by technical superiority in the second round, while Kaler fell to Dylan Bray of Saskatchewan.

Dhaliwal, a first-year wrestler out of Abbotsford’s W.J. Mouat Seconday, had a strong start in the exhibition matches, beating Faye Tuck of the Saskatchewan Huskies and Alberta’s Alissa Bridge. She ended up losing to those same two wrestlers on Saturday, though.

“She made some small errors, but other than that, she wrestled very, very well,” said Virdi, noting that if Dhaliwal had replicated her Friday victories on Saturday, she would have won the bronze medal. “For a first-year to come in, it’s tough competition, especially this tournament. We’ll see her progress a lot in her confidence and her abilities.”

Men’s Basketball: Hot-starting Cascades beat Bisons 72-67 in exhibition action

An explosive first quarter boosted the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team to a 72-67 victory over the Manitoba Bisons on Saturday evening at the Lea Marc Printing Tournament in Winnipeg.

The Cascades, coming off a 71-64 win over the exhibition tourney host Winnipeg Wesmen on Friday, opened Saturday’s game scalding hot, racing out to a 24-7 lead at the end of the opening frame. They maintained a double-digit margin going into halftime, at 39-28.

The Bisons made a push in the second half, but the Cascades kept them at bay in the fourth quarter.

Vijay Dhillon led the Cascades with a game-high 19 points, while Kevon Parchment added 16 and Nate Brown finished with 15. Mark Johnson led UFV with 11 rebounds and chipped in with nine points.

Manitoba was paced by Joseph Medrano’s 13 points, while Justus Alleyn, Joey Nitychoruk and Wyatt Anders each scored 11.

“We just came out with great energy and had things clicking,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said. “We played some of our best basketball of the year in the first quarter, and showed our potential, I think.

“We knew Manitoba wasn’t going to back down. They made a great run, and we were fortunate in the fourth quarter to make some plays and secure a win.”

The Cascades wrapped up the tournament with a 2-0 record, while the Bisons finished at 1-1.

It was the last game action for the UFV men’s hoopsters prior to their Canada West regular season home openers – Friday, Nov. 6 (8 p.m. start) and Saturday, Nov. 7 (7 p.m.) vs. the UBC Okanagan Heat at the Envision Athletic Centre.

“It was great to have a chance to be on the road together and spend a lot of time as a group,” Friesen said. “From the game standpoint, two wins are great, but we understand it’s all about what we do now. We have a pretty clear picture of where we are now and what we need to get better at.”

Women’s Basketball: Sartori, Cascades finish strong to earn preseason win over Western Mustangs

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Kayli Sartori took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 of her team-high 18 points in the final frame as the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team beat the Western Mustangs 64-55 in exhibition action on Saturday at the Envision Athletic Centre.

Sartori, the Cascades’ versatile fourth-year guard/forward out of Abbotsford’s W.J. Mouat Secondary, was effective getting into the paint down the stretch – her dozen points in the fourth quarter came on a trio of layups and six free throws.

The Cascades won for the second straight night, having beaten the PacWest’s Capilano Blues 75-48 in a preseason tilt on Friday. The Mustangs, a fellow CIS program from London, Ont., are in the midst of a three-games-in-three-days exhibition road trip through B.C. They fell 72-67 to the Victoria Vikes on Friday, and they wrap up their journey on Sunday with a 12 p.m. clash with the UBC Thunderbirds.

Saturday’s contest was the Cascades’ last game action prior to their Canada West regular season home openers – Friday, Nov. 6 (6 p.m. start) and Saturday, Nov. 7 (5 p.m.) vs. the UBC Okanagan Heat at the Envision Athletic Centre.

“We’re still a work in progress, but that was a good game for us today,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer analyzed. “You’re not going to be perfect for 40 minutes, but you can have effort for 40 minutes, and we had that for sure.”

The hosts had an excellent start, racing out to a 19-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. But the offence dried up for the Cascades in the second – the Mustangs outscored them 16-4 in the frame and took a 25-23 lead into the break.

UFV regrouped and surged back into the lead in the third quarter, and Sartori took them home with some strong play in the fourth.

“The second quarter really got away from us a little bit, and instead of reeling it back in by running some of our sets, we just got more and more disorganized,” Tuchscherer said. “We talked about that at halftime, and I thought the second half was a pretty good half for us. We ran some stuff, got some good looks, and in the fourth quarter, I thought Kayli just went into beast mode. She really put us on her shoulders, and we got a win out of it.”

Men;s Soccer: McCrindle’s late equalizer lifts Cascades to 1-1 draw with No. 1 UBC

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Dylan McCrindle scored his first career Canada West goal in the 90th minute to give the University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team a 1-1 tie on the road vs. the UBC Thunderbirds.

The T-Birds – tied for the top spot in the CIS national rankings with the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) – came into the game undefeated. But it took them until the 67th minute to solve Cascades goalkeeper Alex Skrzeta. Lucas Reis did the damage, with Connor Guilherme picking up the assist.

The Cascades kept battling, though, and they got the equalizer in the final minute of regulation. Daniel Molendijk flicked the ball on to Kree Byrne, and he headed it off the crossbar. But rookie midfielder McCrindle was johnny-on-the-spot to convert the rebound.

Byrne opened a gash above his eye on the header that led to the goal – head coach Tom Lowndes said it will likely require stitches, a fitting finale for a banged-up team that gutted it out to earn a result on Saturday.

It was just the second game all season where Pacific Division winner UBC (10-0-2, 32 points) failed to earn the maximum three points.

UFV (5-4-3, 18 points) wraps up the regular season in third place in the Pacific, and will hit the road for the first round of the Canada West playoffs. They’ll face the second-place finisher in the Prairie Division – either the Alberta Golden Bears or the Calgary Dinos, pending the outcome of Sunday’s games.

“We kind of battled through tonight,” Lowndes said. “We had a couple injuries – we’re the walking wounded a little bit right now. But we kept battling and kept believing. We can build on this going into the playoffs.

“For us, the playoffs are huge. We expect to make the playoffs now – it’s the minimum. This year, it’s our chance to kick on and look to make some waves. What we’ve done well in fits and spurts, can we do it for two or three games and really do something?”

Women’s Soccer: Cascades tie Vikes 2-2 to clinch home-field advantage for first round of playoffs

Ties are generally considered less-than-thrilling results, but the University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team’s 2-2 draw on the road vs. the Victoria Vikes on Saturday was one that will go down in program history.

UFV midfielder Amanda Carruthers scored in the 81st minute to knot the score and achieve an unprecedented outcome for her team. The Cascades, for the first time ever, will host a Canada West playoff game.

The Vikes came into the evening requiring a victory to overtake UFV for third place in the West Division, and they looked to be in good shape at halftime, leading 2-1 and controlling the proceedings.

But after the break it was all Cascades, and after several close calls, senior midfielder Shelby Beck dashed through the Vikes defence to the right edge of the box, where she delivered a cross that found Carruthers all alone at the far side of goal. UVic keeper Meaghan Storie could only watch as the third-year midfielder from Calgary fired the ball into the yawning cage.

The Cascades (8-4-2, 26 points) and Vikes (7-3-4, 25 points) won’t have to wait long to renew hostilities – they’ll be opponents in the first round of the Canada West playoffs. The game goes Saturday, Oct. 31, at 4 p.m. at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.

“I’m very proud of my team and where our program has come, because of the quality kids we have,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. “We’ve showed throughout the year that we can get results against good teams. If you do that often enough, you earn the right to host a playoff game, and now we can focus on getting ready for next weekend.”

The Cascades had a terrific start to the game, dominating possession and forcing Storie to work hard in the early minutes to keep it scoreless. But UFV was not to be denied, and broke through in the 10th minute, as Beck slipped a pass over to Brittney Zacharuk. The rookie midfielder had plenty of time and space to unleash a rocket into the top left corner.

The Vikes wrested away control, though, and drew even on Emily Lieuwen’s goal in the 15th minute. Off a corner, the ball fell to a Victoria player, and UFV keeper Kayla Klim made a sensational save from point-blank range. But Lieuwen followed up and buried the rebound.

The hosts continued to carry the play, and were rewarded in the 25th minute off another corner. The ball ricocheted out to Stephanie Badilla Gutierrez at the top of the box, and she fired a bar-down rocket to give the Vikes a 2-1 lead.

After halftime, though, the Cascades regained the momentum. They out-shot UVic 12-4 over the second 45 minutes, and earned five corners to just one for the hosts. Finally, they got the equalizer from Carruthers – her second goal of the season.

“Coming into the game at half, I knew I needed to put everything I had on the field,” Carruthers said. “Thanks to the hard work of the girls around me, I was able to put one in the back of the net.”

UFV had every opportunity to win the game outright, but Storie was sensational in the dying minutes. On a looping ball into the box, she came charging out to meet Beck and smother her volley. Shortly thereafter, she leaped to her left to tip away Monika Levarsky’s rising shot that was ticketed for the top corner.

Beck had an opportunity to give her team the lead in the 89th minute after a Vikes defender handled the ball in the box, but her attempt from the penalty spot ran just wide of the left post.

Gurneet Dhaliwal had a subsequent chance, but Storie was there once again, leaping to knock her hard shot away.

“The first 15 minutes, I told the girls at halftime, was probably the best 15 minutes we’ve played this season – and then, really struggled from that point on (in the first half),” Giesbrecht noted. “The momentum shifted, and we just couldn’t get it back. UVic is such a good team – so dangerous going forward. We had to make some adjustments at half and have some girls step up, and I’m so proud of how they responded.

“We asked the girls to put the next level of energy and commitment in, and they did it. We forced a lot of good saves out of their goalkeeper.”

Beck, with her two assists on Saturday, moved into sole possession of first place in Canada West with nine assists this season.

Men’s Volleyball: Cascades drop three-set decision on the road to Royals

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The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team suffered a second straight loss at the hands of the Douglas Royals on Saturday in New Westminster.

The Cascades (2-2) had pushed the undefeated Royals (4-0) to the limit on Friday before falling in five sets, but Douglas dispatched them more efficiently in the rematch, winning by scores of 25-16, 25-18 and 25-15.

“For the most part, I thought we beat ourselves,” UFV head coach Kyle Donen analyzed. “We didn’t have a great game overall. We started slow again tonight in each of the sets, and this time Douglas didn’t let us back in. That was the difference for us – we were still fighting an uphill battle each game, and this time we couldn’t make it back.

“We struggled to pass the ball tonight. I’m not sure if it was them serving tougher or not, but we didn’t pass how we needed to. At the end of the day, our overall performance wasn’t what it needed to be, but we had a good weekend. We almost beat a team we’re capable of beating last night, and tonight wasn’t our game.”

Bright spots for the Cascades included a pair of second-year players – middle Dayton Pagliericci and libero Isaiah Dahl. Donen felt that while the Cascades didn’t pass the ball well enough to get Pagliericci many attacking opportunities, the Chilliwack product was “a dominant force” in the blocking department and had “the best weekend of his young career” in the coach’s estimation. Dahl extended rallies with his strong defensive work.

“Those two guys were on fire at times,” Donen said.

The UFV volleyball teams are back in action at the Envision Athletic Centre next weekend, hosting the Vancouver Island University Mariners on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.).

Women’s Volleyball: Royal beat Cascades in four sets to cap weekend sweep

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team did some things very well on Saturday evening on the road vs. the Douglas Royals, but not enough of them consistently enough to pick up the win.

The Cascades fell in four sets (25-14, 17-25, 25-23, 25-14) to the Royals in New Westminster, on the heels of a three-set defeat to Douglas the night before. In the aftermath, UFV head coach Mike Gilray felt that while there were some definite bright spots for his team, they weren’t able to match Douglas’s consistency.

In the first set, the Cascades were in control leading 11-7, but the Royals reeled off an 18-3 run to win it.

Then, in the second set, the Cascades rode some red-hot serving to victory, pounding 10 aces in the frame with Monique Huber and Keira Fischer leading the way in that department.

In the pivotal third set, the UFV women cranked things up in terms of their hitting efficiency, putting away 41 per cent of their attacks. But their magic at the service line deserted them – they had seven service errors in the set, allowing the Royals to steal a 25-23 win. The hosts maintained the momentum in the fourth to close out the match.

“We’re trying to find that balance between serving tough and forcing them to win points,” said Gilray, noting that his team’s 17 aces were nullified by 18 missed serves. “Right now, we’re winding up on the wrong side of the double-edged sword, if you will.

“We just gave up too many runs – we played some of our best volleyball this weekend,” he added. “It showed we can play with that team and stick with them. They were just more consistent.”

First-year outside hitter Chelsea Kidd led the Cascades with 10 kills to go with 10 digs, and she and fellow rookie Fischer both posted a hitting efficiency of 21 per cent. Libero Amy Davidson also had a strong game, coming off the bench in the second set to provide steady passing.

The UFV volleyball teams are back in action at the Envision Athletic Centre next weekend, hosting the Vancouver Island University Mariners on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.).

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