UFV Sports Friday

Women’s Basketball: Huskies edge Cascades in season opener

The defending national champion Saskatchewan Huskies were pushed to the limit by the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades in the Canada West women’s basketball opener for both teams, but the Huskies pulled away in the dying minutes for a 53-44 victory.

In a relentlessly physical clash at the Envision Athletic Centre, the Cascades limited the Huskies to 26.5 per cent shooting from the field. But Saskatchewan survived thanks to their prowess on the offensive boards – they corralled 21 of their own misses, and won the rebounding battle 49-40 overall.

Sascha Lichtenwald notched a game-high 22 points for the Huskies (1-0) and was the lone Saskatchewan player to score in double figures, while Taylor Claggett, Sara Simovic and Kayli Sartori posted 10 points apiece for the Cascades (0-1).

The two teams renew hostilities on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the EAC.

“I thought it was disappointing tonight, to be honest,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said afterward. “We had an opportunity to get a better result, and I didn’t think we had everybody fully engaged in the game tonight. I think if that would have happened, we would have probably had a better result.”

The host Cascades dug in defensively from the opening tip, limiting the Huskies to six points in the first quarter and holding an 11-6 lead at the end of the opening frame.

The Huskies found some traction late in the second quarter, going on a 9-2 run to take a 22-19 lead at the break.

UFV had a strong start to the third quarter and led 30-25 after an and-one layup by Claggett, but Sask ended the quarter on a 6-0 run and never trailed again. Huskies point guard Libby Epoch hit a three-pointer with 1:17 left in regulation to take the air out of the Cascades’ comeback hopes – it was her only basket of the night (she shot 1-for-12 from the field), but it gave the visitors a 50-42 lead.

Shayna Litman finished with eight points and 10 boards for the Cascades, while Megan Lindquist chipped in offensively for the Huskies with nine points.

“I thought defensively for most of the night, we were pretty solid,” Tuchscherer said. “We made some strides defensively in the past few weeks – we’ve obviously changed up our defence a little bit from years past, so we’re probably going to get some teams early in games with a little bit of confusion as to what we’re running. As the game went on, you could see Saskatchewan started to figure us out a little bit and got a little bit tougher on the o-boards, and that was a big difference in the game.”

Men’s Basketball: Cascades quiet Huskies’ offence in opening-night win

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team turned in an airtight defensive performance on opening night, smothering the Saskatchewan Huskies 59-50 at the Envision Athletic Centre on Friday.

In the Canada West regular-season opener for both teams, the Cascades (1-0) limited the Huskies (0-1) to 27.1 per cent shooting from the field and won the rebounding battle 48-39 to earn a gritty home-court win.

UFV’s Vijay Dhillon counted four three-pointers among his team-high 17 points, and fellow fifth-year guard Manny Dulay also scored in double figures with 10 points. Centre Nav Bains had a tremendous all-around performance with eight points, six assists and a game-high 16 rebounds.

Shane Osayande paced Saskatchewan with 18 points and 13 boards, while Matt Forbes registered nine points.

The two teams clash again on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Envision Athletic Centre.

“You’re always happy to come away with the win,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen noted afterward. “Defensively, I think we did a pretty good job. They missed some shots they can definitely make, and tomorrow could look like a totally different game. But tonight, the guys had a lot of energy and heart. They really wanted it, and it showed.”

Both teams started slowly offensively – five minutes in, the score was tied 4-4. The Cascades found their collective shooting stroke, though, and ended the first quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 15-9 lead.

Dhillon hit a trio of treys in the second quarter as the Cascades extended their advantage to 32-19 at the break, and the lead ballooned to 20 points midway through the third quarter following a huge two-handed dunk by Bains and a transition three-pointer by Dhillon.

The Cascades’ offence slowed in the fourth quarter, and the Huskies got back to within 12 points after Trevor Severinski swished a corner trey with 3:04 left in regulation. But Denver Sparks-Guest answered on the next UFV possession, draining a tough contested triple with the shot clock winding down, and Saskatchewan never truly threatened again.

The Huskies’ shooting struggles were comprehensive – in addition to hitting just 27.1 per cent of their attempts from the field (16-for-59), they shot 18.2 per cent from beyond the arc (4-for-22) and 56.0 per cent from the free throw line (14-for-25).

The Cascades didn’t shoot the ball terribly well themselves – 39.3 per cent from the field – but in addition to harassing the Huskies defensively, their strong showing on the boards prevented the visitors from generating many second-chance points.

“We just hustled,” reasoned fourth-year centre Bains, who authored one of the most complete games of his Cascades career. “We stuck to our game plan, played good defence in the post. We kept it simple, and that’s what got us the win.”

“I really liked the determination and desire to get stops,” Friesen echoed. “Defensively, that’s what it’s going to take for us to be successful at that end of the floor. We’re not the most athletic or the tallest, but we have some smart players who play together and really play with a lot of heart and communicate with one another.”

Women’s Volleyball: Chargers rally past Cascades

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team got off to a promising start, but the Camosun Chargers came roaring back to earn a four-set victory on Friday evening.

At the Envision Athletic Centre North Gym, the Cascades looked strong in the first set, fending off a late Camosun charge when Rachel Funk hammered a kill between two blockers to seal a 25-23 victory.

But it was all Chargers from that point – the visitors from Victoria took the next three sets by scores of 25-22, 25-19 and 25-20.

Camosun (4-3, third place in PACWEST) and UFV (1-5, seventh place) clash again on Saturday afternoon (1 p.m., EAC North Gym).

“Almost every game this year, we’ve been imbalanced,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray said afterward. “We’ve either had our outside hitters going well and our middles are struggling, or our middles are going well and our outsides are struggling. We’ve got to find a balance.”

On Friday, it was the Cascades’ outside hitters leading the charge. Kim Bauder (16 kills on 58 per cent hitting, 13 digs) and Funk (14 kills, 14 digs) excelled both offensively and defensively.

But beyond those two, Gilray felt his squad made too many errors. At the service line, for instance, the Cascades racked up 10 aces – a very good number in four sets. But they also missed 23 serves, effectively negating their aces in a true boom-or-bust performance.

“In the last set, we stopped making service errors and started making hitting errors,” Gilray noted. “We need to connect and get all parts of the game moving together.”

Men’s Volleyball: Cascades defeat defending champion Chargers

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team knocked off the reigning PACWEST conference champs on Friday, downing the Camosun Chargers in four sets.

The Chargers took the first set 25-19, but the Cascades hit their stride midway through the second set and went on the take the match by scores of 25-22, 25-12 and 25-21.

The victory enabled UFV to improve to 4-2 and leapfrog Camosun (4-3) in the PACWEST standings. The Cascades are now tied for second in the conference with the Douglas Royals, but the CCAA No. 10-ranked Chargers have a chance to get even Saturday afternoon when the two teams clash again at the Envision Athletic Centre North Gym (3 p.m. start).

“I don’t think the first set was very good at all,” UFV bench boss Kyle Donen analyzed bluntly. “The second set could have gone either way – neither team was serving very well. It was really odd – at one point I think there were five or six missed serves back and forth. We found our stride a little bit quicker than they did in that set, and we kind of exploded in the third and carried that on into the next set.

“We looked comfortable eventually. It just took us a bit of time, and we found our groove.”

The Cascades got dynamic performances from their outside hitters – left sides Ben Friesen (16 kills) and Matt Whittall (10 kills) both reached double-digit kills, as did right side Joel Kleingeltink (11). Middle Connor Pruim and setter Adam Frederickson tied for team-high honours with three blocks apiece.

“In the end, it’s a good win – it just felt like a really weird game, the way it went up and down the whole match,” Donen added. “I know they’ll be better tomorrow overall, and I know we can be better tomorrow, too.”

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