UFV Sports Friday – Great Night For Hoops, Volleyball Gains A Split

Men’s Basketball: Cascades flourish in the fourth, defeat Heat 68-61

Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics

Abbotsford – The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team found its offensive rhythm in the fourth quarter, surging to a 68-61 win over the UBC Okanagan Heat on Friday evening.

For the first three quarters at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre, neither team was able to gain much separation – the visiting Heat led by scores of 15-14, 35-34, and 50-48 at the quarter breaks.

The hosts found the range in the final frame, though, outscoring the Heat 20-11 to pull away and boost their record to 3-6. The Heat fell to 2-5.

The two teams reconvene at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre on Saturday (7 p.m., CanadaWest.tv).

“The game was sort of what I was expecting, but for a young group like us, we’re not as comfortable playing a slow-down, half-court, gritty kind of game,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said afterward. “UBCO does a great job of playing us every year – they got us out of our comfort zone, and they got us rattled for sure. But the guys were able to stay with it, figure out what would be successful for us, and put together a really good stretch in the fourth quarter.”

There were no double-digit leads over the first three quarters – the Heat were up by as many as six points at various junctures of the second and third, but the Cascades kept reeling them back in.

The hosts opened the fourth with five straight points, courtesy a Mark Johnson triple and a Vick Toor fast-break layup, and they maintained the lead the rest of the way. They put the game away by scoring on three straight possessions with less than three minutes to play – three-pointers by Andrew Morris and Vick Toor bookended a tough bucket in the paint by Daniel Adediran. UFV’s lead was 68-58 with 1:18 to go, and they cruised from there.

Cascades fourth-year guard/forward Morris registered 18 points and four assists, both game-high totals, and Johnson chipped in with 17 points and nine rebounds while setting the defensive tone for UFV. Adediran (13 points, seven boards) and Toor (11 points, eight boards) also excelled.

Aloysius Callaghan, with 14 points, led four Heat double-figure scorers, joined by Mahamad Omar (13 points), Cameron Servatius (11) and Triston Matthews (11).

The Cascades won the rebounding battle 50-39, but largely nullified that advantage by turning the ball over 18 times to just 10 for the Heat.

“Defensively they’re really tough and solid in the half-court, and offensively, they make you work and play a lot of the shot clock,” Friesen said of UBC Okanagan. “That’s different than we like to play normally, and some of the weekends we’ve had this season were more up-and-down.

“But in the fourth quarter, we found a little bit of a rhythm between throwing it down in the post, and also having our guards be aggressive. We didn’t really find that balance for the first three quarters. That combination made us really tough to guard in the fourth.”

Women’s Basketball: Assist-happy Cascades pull away from Heat

Unselfish team basketball was the order of the day for the University of the Fraser Valley women’s hoopsters, as they defeated the UBC Okanagan Heat 65-48 on Friday at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.

Of the Cascades’ 25 field goals, 21 of them came via an assist – a remarkable statistic that aptly illustrated the hosts’ focus on sharing the ball.

Shayna Litman was a beneficiary of that ball movement, racking up a season-high 24 points. Six UFV players had at least three assists, led by Taylor Claggett with four, as the Cascades improved to 3-6 in Canada West play. The Heat (0-7) are still looking for their first win.

The two teams lock horns again on Saturday (5 p.m., Envision Financial Athletic Centre, CanadaWest.tv).

“Give the girls credit – tonight they really embraced what we were talking about this week in practice about sharing the ball and finding the open man,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “Twenty-one assists off 25 field goals, it’s huge for us if we can play that way. Teams are going to be doubling down on our posts and causing all sorts of trouble, but if we can find the open man, we should be tough to stop.”

The Cascades ended the first quarter on a 13-2 run to take a 19-12 lead, but the Heat opened the second on an 8-0 run of their own, holding UFV scoreless for five minutes. The balance of the frame, was all Cascades, though – they outscored UBCO 13-4 and took a 32-25 lead into the locker room.

The hosts scored nine of the first 11 points registered in the third to stretch their advantage to double digits, and while the Heat hung around, they were never able to put a serious dent in the Cascades’ lead.

Fifth-year forward Litman added nine rebounds to go with her game-high point total, and Claggett chipped in with nine points and 10 boards. Sara Simovic scored 12 points, and Katelyn Mallette had a solid game off the bench with eight points and five boards. UFV won the rebounding battle 51-28.

Vanessa Botteselle paced the Heat with 11 points, and Brianna Falk scored nine off the bench.

“We’ve been talking about playing as a team and working on our positivity, and that was our huge focus for today,” Litman said. “That definitely carried over. It was awesome – it’s so fun playing with (assist) stats like that. Everybody sharing the ball, everybody getting their shots.”

Men’s Volleyball: Cascades engineer upset win on the road, sink No. 3 Mariners in five sets

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball earned a signature victory on Friday evening in Nanaimo, upending the Vancouver Island University Mariners in a five-set thriller.

Both teams came into Friday’s action ranked nationally – the Mariners at No. 3 in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association poll, and the Cascades at No. 14.

The hosts clawed out a 28-26 win in the first set, but UFV bounced back to take the next two by scores of 25-23 and 25-21. The Mariners squared the match with a 25-22 triumph in the fourth, but the Cascades rallied to win the all-deciding fifth 15-12.

UFV (6-5) and VIU (9-2) tangle again on Saturday in Nanaimo (3 p.m., pacwestbc.tv).

“It’s huge for us,” said Cascades fourth-year head coach Kyle Donen, noting that it was his first road win at VIU. “It’s a really good feeling for us to get a win like that against a solid team, and we’re feeling good about being on the road. That’s one of the bigger road wins we’ve had in a while.”

After splitting the first four sets, the Mariners built a 10-8 lead in the fifth, but the Cascades earned the next three points to prompt a VIU timeout. UFV kept it rolling – Brendan Loewen came off the bench for a pair of clutch serves, and a Nick Bruce kill made it 14-11. The next point went the Mariners’ way, but the Cascades’ Matt Whittall sealed the victory with a big swing from the right side.

Bruce (20 kills) and middle Dayton Pagliericci (15 kills) paced the attack, and Whittall chipped in with eight kills. Rookie left side Landon Uy stepped into the starting lineup in place of injured captain Ben Friesen and acquitted himself well, notching seven kills.

“I thought we were in it from the very beginning of the match,” Donen said. “The first set was the tough one to lose but I thought we changed the match when we won the second. We had a lot of different guys contributing, and overall, it was a great team win.”

Women’s Volleyball: No. 3-ranked Mariners top Cascades

The Vancouver Island University women’s volleyball team lived up to its advance billing, defeating the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades in decisive fashion on Friday evening in Nanaimo.

In a clash of nationally ranked teams, the No. 3 Mariners got the best of the No. 7 Cascades by scores of 25-10, 25-21 and 25-15.

VIU improved to 9-2, while UFV now sits at 7-4 ahead of Saturday’s rematch (1 p.m., pacwestbc.tv).

“When you let your opportunities slide, a team at that level is going to take advantage and that’s what they did tonight,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray said. “I don’t want to take anything away from them – they played extremely well, and their errors were really low. We didn’t match their intensity, and they executed at a much higher level.”

The first set was all VIU, but the Cascades battled the hosts tooth and nail in the second, leading 21-20 in the late stages. The Mariners, though, reeled off the next five points to take a two-set lead, as UFV struggled with attacking errors. That was the match’s turning point, and VIU rode the momentum to another big win in the third.

Gilray noted that it was his team’s worst performance at the service line this season to date, but also saw reason for optimism as libero Amy Davidson and setter Olivia Heinen each saw their first game action off the bench after multi-game injury absences. Davidson came on in the second set and helped steady the Cascades’ defence, finishing with six digs.

Left sides Kim Bauder and Amanda Matsui led the UFV attack with eight and seven kills, respectively, and Matsui added a team-high seven digs. Middle Teagan Johnstone registered two blocks, and Bauder’s 2.3 serve-receive rating was a team high.

“We have to learn from it,” Gilray summarized. “We’re a better team than that, and we have to be prepared to meet them at their best.

“Tomorrow’s another measuring stick.”

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