UFV Sports Saturday – Wrestling Gold, Basketball,Volleyball

Wrestling: Godinez Gonzalez sisters win gold at Golden Bears Invitational

Gold medals from sibling duo Karla and Ana Godinez Gonzalez highlighted a strong showing from the University of the Fraser Valley wrestling program at the Alberta Golden Bears Invitational in Edmonton on Saturday.

Cascades sophomore Karla Godinez Gonzalez, the reigning Canada West rookie of the year, moved up a weight class from 55 kg to 59 kg and was unfazed, going undefeated. For good measure, she added an exhibition victory over Cara Nania, a former Calgary Dino who was last season’s U SPORTS national champ at 55 kg.

Ana Godinez Gonzalez, Karla’s younger sister, made her Canada West debut after a leg injury sidelined her for most of the fall semester. The rookie emerged triumphant in the 63 kg division.

“They’re two of the hardest-working wrestlers I’ve seen in a long time,” Cascades head coach Raj Virdi enthused. “They’re always ready to learn, and they ask questions – that’s why you’re seeing them have so much success early in their careers. A lot of World and Olympic champions come out of U SPORTS, and they’re having great success already.”

The Cascades had five individual medalists on the men’s side, though none ascended to the top step of the podium. The freshman contingent had an outstanding weekend – Parker McBride (54 kg) and Jacob Torres (61 kg) both won silver in their respective divisions, falling in the finals against elite-level opponents. Torres was undefeated before running into reigning U SPORTS national champ Josh Bodnarchuk of the Saskatchewan Huskies in the final, and McBride’s run ended with a loss in the gold medal match to Jordan Wong of the host Golden Bears, who won three national age-class gold medals in 2017.

Freshman Karan Dhillon (72 kg), sophomore Amtoj Dhaliwal (90 kg) and third-year Brad Hildenbrandt (120 kg) all took home bronze medals. Hildenbrandt, the U SPORTS heavyweight champ last year, made a rare mistake in his semifinal and was pinned by Ben Dyck of Team Goldrush wrestling club.

Glaysia Sparling (1-3 record), Brittany Chiu (0-2), Kamil Golowko (0-2), and Haseeb Javed (0-2) also competed on behalf of the Cascades but fell shy of the podium. UFV’s De’Andre Williams had to withdraw due to an injury suffered during a dual meet Friday evening.

The next big event on the horizon for UFV wrestling program is their home tourney, the Cascades Classic, which runs Jan. 28 at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.

Men’s Basketball: Big third quarter propels WolfPack past Cascades

A disastrous third quarter cost the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team on Saturday evening, as they fell 99-69 to the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack in Kamloops.

The Cascades, seeking a weekend split after falling 77-71 to the WolfPack on Friday, had a strong start and led by as many as seven points in the first quarter. The host Thompson Rivers squad found some traction in the second and surged ahead, but UFV stayed within striking distance, down 46-39 at the half.

The third quarter, though, was all WolfPack. Daniel Adediran scored a layup off a feed from Vick Toor on the Cascades’ first possession, but TRU responded with a 15-0 run capped by a Nolan Willet triple. They would go on to stretch the lead beyond 30 points, outscoring UFV 30-9 in the frame and rendering the fourth quarter strictly academic.

The WolfPack (9-7) ran their win streak to seven games, while the Cascades fell to 5-11.

“The third quarter has been an issue we’ve had from the beginning of the year, especially on the road,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said. “When we miss shots, the frustration of that leads to turnovers and poor defensive play. We haven’t been able to figure out how to be able to recognize when we’re losing momentum, and more importantly, being able to change the momentum of the game.”

Toor continued his outstanding rookie campaign, sparking the Cascades on an otherwise tough night with 18 points and four assists. Centre Matt Cooley matched him for game-high scoring honours, and sophomore forward Daniel Adediran notched a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards.

The WolfPack’s balanced attack featured five double-digit scorers: Willett (16 points), Anton Bilous (16), Luke Morris (13), Tyus De Vries (12) and Derek Rhodes (11). TRU hit a scorching 56.7 per cent of their shots from the field, including 11-of-19 from beyond the arc, while the Cascades shot just 37.7 per cent.

The Cascades basketball teams are on a bye next week, returning to action Jan. 26-27 with road games vs. the UNBC Timberwolves.

Women’s Basketball: Cascades explode in third quarter, cruise past WolfPack 76-67

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team breathed new life into its playoff hopes, wrapping up a weekend sweep of the Thompson Rivers WolfPack by a score of 76-67 on Saturday evening in Kamloops.

The Cascades, coming off a 59-53 triumph on Friday, found themselves trailing 36-34 at halftime of the rematch, but blitzed the host WolfPack 23-7 in the third quarter to open a double-digit lead they would not relinquish.

UFV was led by its veteran triumvirate of Sara Simovic, Shayna Litman and Taylor Claggett. Fifth-year guard Simovic poured in 14 of her game-high 24 points during the decisive third quarter, and added seven rebounds and five assists. Fellow senior Litman notched a double-double with 23 points and 11 boards. Third-year forward Claggett finished one rebound shy of her second straight double-double, posting 17 points (on perfect 8-of-8 shooting from the field) and nine boards. All told, the trio accounted for 84 per cent of the Cascades’ offence.

Emma Piggin and Makayla Hoey replied with 13 points apiece for Thompson Rivers, which fell to 7-9 in Canada West conference play.

The Cascades boosted their record to 6-10, which leaves them 13th in Canada West, one spot out of a playoff berth with four regular-season games left on their schedule.

“I’m really most excited that we put a solid weekend together,” UFV bench boss Al Tuchscherer said. “We kind of played how I’d envisioned us playing throughout the year. We had a lot of different people being dangerous on the floor, and we played solid defence when we needed to. It was a really good weekend from that perspective.”

After a back-and-forth first half, the Cascades ended the third quarter on a 14-0 run to turn a 43-43 tie into a 57-43 lead heading to the final frame. Simovic scored seven straight points during that spurt. The nine-point final margin was as close as the WolfPack would get the rest of the way.

On Simovic, Litman and Claggett’s statistical dominance, Tuchscherer noted that “those three have been doing that all year.”

“In an lot of respects, they’ve had great seasons individually,” he said. “It hasn’t necessarily translated into wins, but tonight you could see it come together. I was happy for them. And we had a few other kids contribute for us tonight, and that was important for us.”

Tuchscherer lauded the play of sophomore guards Victoria Jacobse and Kate Head in supporting roles, and rookie forward Katelyn Mallette gave the Cascades outstanding minutes during their third-quarter run despite being limited for much of the night due to foul trouble.

The Cascades basketball teams are on a bye next week, returning to action Jan. 26-27 with road games vs. the UNBC Timberwolves.

Men’s Volleyball: Cascades settle for weekend split, drop three-set decision to Chargers

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team saw its three-game win streak come to an end at the hands of the Camosun Chargers, falling in three sets on Saturday in Victoria.

The CCAA No. 14-ranked Cascades had won seven of their previous eight games, including a five-set triumph over Camosun on Friday. But despite battling the host Chargers down to the wire in two of the three sets in Saturday’s rematch, they were unable to finish any of them off (27-25, 25-19, 25-23).

Camosun boosted its record to 6-8, good for fourth in the PACWEST, while the Cascades fell to 9-7 but still maintain a comfortable grip on third place.

“It was a tight match, tighter than a 3-0 score would indicate,” UFV head coach Kyle Donen said. “Two of the sets could have gone either way, and if either of those had gone our way, particularly the first one, it would have been a much different match. I’m happy with the compete level we put on the floor and the energy we expended . . . I thought we battled pretty well.

“I think one of the struggles we had was, we didn’t pass the ball as well tonight, and that made it more difficult to run the offence the way we needed to.”

Cascades left sides Nick Bruce (12 kills, two blocks) and Ben Friesen (eight kills) paced the offence. Middles Dayton Pagliericci and Josh Fefchak notched five kills apiece, and Pagliericci added three blocks. Libero Evan Bell-Foley registered a team-best 10 digs.

Donen also felt his team got great energy off the bench from the likes of Brendan Loewen, Justin Peleshytyk, Graeme Hughes and Carter Bronson.

The Cascades volleyball teams are on a bye next week, and return to action with road games against the Capilano Blues, Jan. 25 and 27.

Women’s Volleyball: Cascades complete comeback from two-set deficit, deny Chargers in five

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team had to dig deep to deny the Camosun Chargers their first victory of the season, rallying from a two-set deficit to win in five on Saturday afternoon in Victoria.

The host Chargers caught fire midway through the first set, winning it 25-17 and then building a 21-14 lead in the second. The Cascades, coming off a four-set win over the Chargers on Friday, found some traction at that point, battling back to draw even at 22-22. But Camosun took the next three points to go up two sets to none.

UFV, ranked No. 7 in the nation, lived up to that lofty billing in the third set, racing out to leads of 11-2 and 16-3 behind service runs from Olivia Heinen and Amanda Matsui, en route to a 25-11 win. They followed with a hard-fought victory in the fourth, 25-20.

In the fifth, with the score tied 8-8, back-to-back Matsui kills swung the momentum the Cascades’ way, and they went on to seal the match 15-12.

UFV improved to 10-6, tied for third in the PACWEST, while the last-place Chargers are 0-14.

“The biggest thing about this weekend is what you learn going to five and pulling out a win after being down 2-0 against the hungriest team in the league,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray enthused. “There’s a good chance this (Camosun) team goes on a winning streak – they’re good, and they’ve got a great young coach who’s keeping their spirits high. But we had good leadership and communication on the court.”

Matsui pounded a team-high 21 kills to go with 15 digs, and fellow left side Kim Bauder also notched a double-double with 13 kills and 22 digs. Setter Heinen racked up 48 assists and added 11 digs, and libero Cassidy King made it four Cascades with double-digit digs with 20 of her own.

Middle Keira Fisher notched five kills, and Chelsea Kidd came off the bench for four kills on an error-free 11 swings, including the final point of the match.

“What I’m excited about is our depth,” said Gilray, noting that Kidd, Kara Williams and Teagan Johnstone were among the standouts off the bench on Saturday. “We know we have our workhorses in our outside hitters, but we had different people contribute today and we’ve had a different lineup almost every weekend.

“It was fun to watch – to see them learning on the court, through adversity. Not everything was smooth today, and to push and battle through was good to see.”

The Cascades volleyball teams are on a bye next week, and return to action with road games against the Capilano Blues, Jan. 25 and 2

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