UFV Sports Friday

Women’s Volleyball: Cascades bounce back for win over Bearcats

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team earned its first win of the PACWEST regular season in decisive fashion, dispatching the Columbia Bible College Bearcats in three straight sets at the Envision Athletic Centre on Friday evening.

The Bearcats had beaten the Cascades in four sets at Columbia Place on Thursday evening, but UFV head coach Mike Gilray’s charges delivered a much tidier performance in the rematch, prevailing by scores of 25-9, 25-18 and 25-14.

The Cascades improved to 1-2, tied for fourth in the PACWEST, while the Bearcats fell to 1-3.

“Hitters just made better choices today,” Gilray analyzed. “We dropped our errors from 61 to 26, and our passing and serving were on par with our standards. We made the key serves today – we probably missed the same amount (in total), but we kept them under pressure.

“The ability to respond the next day shows the character of the team – working to get better each day and not beating themselves up after having a game where they didn’t show up. I was impressed with the changes they were willing to make to be a better team.”

The Cascades were clicking offensively on this night – they posted an impressive 45 per cent kill efficiency, with left side Kim Bauder leading the way with 14 kills while hitting 57 per cent. Setter Jessica Funk (36 assists) engineered the attack and added four aces, and libero Amy Davidson paced the defence with 13 digs.

Gilray was complimentary of the contribution that reserves Cassidy King and Shaylene Reimer made to the team’s ball-control efforts, and of the versatility that sophomore Chelsea Kidd showed in stints at left side and right side over the two-game set with CBC.

“The players who came off the bench brought positive change and helped us stay in the game,” he said. “It speaks volumes to the depth of our team.”

The Cascades volleyball teams hit the road next weekend to face the VIU Mariners on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 1 p.m., men 3 p.m.).

Men’s Volleyball: Cascades complete sweep of Bearcats

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team maintained its undefeated record with a three-set triumph over the Columbia Bible College Bearcats on Friday evening at the Envision Athletic Centre.

The Cascades, coming off a straight-sets win at Columbia Place on Thursday, fashioned the same result in the rematch by set scores of 25-20, 26-24 and 25-21. However, UFV head coach Kyle Donen felt his squad could have been sharper.

“I didn’t think we were as strong as the night before,” he analyzed. “They played better, but we needed to be more consistent. We gave up a few more points that I would have liked, especially on serving.

“But it’s still a W for us. We just need to know we can be better than we showed and continue to improve this coming weekend.”

The Cascades improved to 3-0, tied for first in the PACWEST with the VIU Mariners and the Douglas Royals. The Bearcats fell to 0-4.

Outside hitters Joel Kleingeltink and Ben Friesen hammered 10 kills apiece to spearhead the offence, and Donen praised Dayton Pagliericci’s strong all-around performance. The third-year middle had quality touches on the block to slow down the Bearcats’ attack.

The Cascades volleyball teams hit the road next weekend to face the VIU Mariners on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 1 p.m., men 3 p.m.).

GOLF: Cascades women’s team finishes fourth, men ninth at CCAA national championships

The University of the Fraser Valley golf teams came up just shy of the medal podium on Friday at the PING CCAA Golf National Championships.

The Cascades were in the hunt after Thursday’s second round at Fox Meadow Golf Course in Stratford, PEI – the women were in third place, and the men were tied for fourth. But the UFV squads struggled in extremely windy, rainy conditions on Friday, and will come home without a CCAA medal for the first time since 2012.

LEADERBOARDS

TOURNAMENT PHOTOS

CASCADES ROUND 1 RECAP

CASCADES ROUND 2 RECAP

The No. 1-ranked Cascades women’s squad finished just two strokes out of the medals with a cumulative score of 487 over the 54-hole event. The Georgian Grizzlies (467), Humber Hawks (481) and Champlain St. Lawrence Lions (485) claimed the podium positions; UFV’s fourth-place finish matched last season’s result at nationals.

Individually, two-time CCAA All-Canadian Hannah Dirksen was the top Cascade – she tied for seventh overall at +23 for the tournament. Fellow All-Canadian Sharon Park was 10th (+32) and Jennifer Kell was 20th (+52). Georgian’s Addison Wallwin was the women’s individual champ at +14.

“Two shots out of a medal hurts, for sure,” Cascades head coach Chris Bertram said, reflecting on the women’s team’s performance. “But they grinded hard today in the wind and rain. They’ve learned a lot this week and they’ll be hungry to get back here for redemption.”

The No. 2-ranked Cascades men faded from contention after posting a collective score of 323 on Friday – 30 strokes higher than their effort on Thursday in more favourable conditions. They ended up in ninth place with 908 total strokes. The Niagara College Knights (879) won the gold, followed by the Cégep André-Laurendeau Boomerang (880) and the UNB Varsity Reds (890).

Halen Davis finished as the top Cascade in the individual race, tying for eighth at +4 for the tourney. Cole Briggs (T28, +11), Connor O’Dell (T30, +12), Zach Olson (T43, +17) and Nathan Bahnman (T54, +22) rounded out the UFV contingent. Niagara’s Josiah Dixon won the individual gold in a playoff, after finishing tied with André-Laurendeau’s Marc-Olivier Plasse at -5 through 54 holes.

“I guess you could say it was a worst-case scenario kind of day,” Bertram said. “The conditions were brutal, and we simply didn’t respond well.

“The good news is we will learn from this, and come back better next time.”

Women’s Soccer: Cascades erase two-goal deficit, earn draw with Dinos

Friday’s clash between nationally ranked women’s soccer teams lived up to its billing, as the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades and Calgary Dinos battled to a 2-2 draw in an exciting, fast-paced game at MRC Sports Complex.

The No. 5-ranked Dinos were staked to a 2-0 lead by Natalie Arnett, who scored in the 37th and 49th minutes. The No. 9-ranked Cascades dug deep, though, and drew even on goals by Danica Kump and Simi Lehal – each player picking up an assist on the other’s goal.

UFV had several opportunities to pick up the win in the dying minutes, but Calgary keeper Sophia Traxler came up with huge saves on Lehal and Kara Delwo to secure the single point for the visitors.

The Cascades (8-2-3, second in the Pacific Division) wrap up the regular season on Saturday against the Lethbridge Pronghorns (5:30 p.m., MRC Sports Complex), while the Dinos (9-1-3, first in the Prairie Division) finish up on the road against the Trinity Western Spartans (5 p.m. start).

“I’m really proud of the girls – they didn’t quit, came back against a good side, and in some ways unlucky not to win there with the number of chances we had,” UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht said afterward. “We’ve got to learn that we can’t dig ourselves that hole. Coming back from 2-0 down is tough, but I’m proud that we worked hard, proud that we didn’t give up, proud that we kept attacking.”

The Dinos got their goals on either side of halftime. Arnett opened the scoring off a feed from Jordan Smith late in the first half, and then finished off a through ball from Mollee Ramsay into the bottom corner just after the break.

But the Cascades kept clawing away, and around the 60th minute, the tide turned. UFV would out-shoot Calgary 9-6 in the half, with a 5-1 edge in corners.

In the end, it was a fifth-year veteran and a rookie who teamed up for the key offensive plays. Senior midfielder Kump cut the deficit in half in the 64th minute, pouncing on a rebound off Lehal’s initial shot. Lehal, a first-year striker, levelled the score five minutes later on a gritty effort, fighting through contact to knock the ball home on a goalmouth scramble.

The Cascades had numerous chances off corners that they couldn’t quite connect on, and Lehal later ran onto a through ball and manoeuvred around Traxler, but the Calgary keeper recovered to stop her shot from a tight angle.

Delwo had a great look just before the final whistle from inside the penalty area to the right, but Traxler made the save.

“I wish there were a couple more minutes,” Kump said afterward. “As soon as we got that second one, we felt (another) one coming. I swear we had another one in us, and we got robbed on a couple chances. But you can’t think about it – they’re a good side, and we put up a good fight.”

Giesbrecht praised the play of Kump and Lehal in leading the comeback.

“Simi showed what she can do in terms of her physical force and her attacking mentality – she’s deadly,” he said. “And Kumper’s energy was fantastic today – she was buzzing. I’m really proud of our players, because you just saw the commitment they had on the park today.

“We’re never going to throw the white towel in, no matter what’s happening to us. We’re going to keep going and keep working as hard as we can, and try to get the results our way.”

Men’s Soccer: Cascades, T-Wolves battle to a draw

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team needed a single point from Friday’s game with the UNBC Timberwolves to punch their Canada West playoff ticket for a fourth straight season, and that’s exactly what they got.

On a rain-soaked evening at MRC Sports Complex, the Cascades’ James Najman opened the scoring in the 13th minute and UNBC’s Cheona Edzerza replied in the 60th to account for all the offence in a 1-1 draw.

Not only did UFV (7-6-2) clinch a post-season berth, they locked up third place in the Pacific Division by virtue of the fact their closest pursuers, the Thompson Rivers WolfPack and UBC Okanagan Heat, lost their games on Friday.

The Timberwolves (4-9-2), meanwhile, are seventh in the Pacific and have been eliminated from playoff contention.

UFV and UNBC renew hostilities on Saturday (8 p.m., MRC Sports Complex) in the Canada West regular-season finale for both squads.

“Mixed feelings, really,” Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes said, reflecting on his team’s Friday performance. “First half, we were good – we moved the ball really, really well and caused them a lot of problems. We were probably a bit unlucky to only be up 1-0 at halftime.

“Second half, I thought we were poor. We came out with a sloppy mentality – we let them back into the game with a goal, and full credit to them. They passed the ball really well, they’re really well-coached. No problems in saying they were the better team in the second half. If they’d gone on to win it, you probably would have held your hands up and said it’s what they deserve. For us as a group, we’ve got to be better. We can’t come out and go through the motions – there’s no easy games.”

Najman has been red-hot of late – he’d scored three goals in his previous four games, and made it four in five in the early going. The fifth-year striker got on the end of Justin Sekhon’s shot, took a touch and pivoted to the net and poked a shot inside the far post behind UNBC keeper Mitch MacFarlane.

The T-Wolves had a strong start to the second half, and leveled the score on a tremendous individual effort from Edzerza. He took on a couple of Cascades defenders and dashed to the centre of the pitch, where he unleashed a shot from the top of the 18-yard box that curled inside the far post past UFV keeper David Hicks. Hicks had come on in the 54th minute in relief of starter Alex Skrzeta, who departed with an injury.

“I don’t think that helped with the flow of the game,” Lowndes observed. “It’s obviously not great to have a goalkeeper having to come in off the bench. To be fair, I don’t think we did the best job of protecting him in front. Our shape wasn’t good in the back four and midfield in the second half. That’s got to improve.”

With the Cascades locked into the Pacific Division’s No. 3 seed, Lowndes said he’ll give some of his young players a look for Saturday’s rematch.

“We’ll rest a few players on yellow cards that may get themselves in trouble,” he explained. “It’ll be a good chance for our younger players to show what they can do. We’ll rotate things a little bit, freshen up the squad and see how we do.”

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