UFV Sports Friday – Opening Night For Basketball

Women’s Basketball : Claggett, Cascades light it up in first half, defeat WolfPack on opening night

Abbotsford (Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics) – – A flame-throwing first-half performance powered the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team to a 62-50 victory over the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on opening night of the Canada West regular season.

Taylor Claggett ignited the offensive pyrotechnics – the fourth-year forward from Mission, B.C. racked up 15 first-half points on flawless 7-for-7 shooting as the Cascades led 45-23 at the break, and she went on to finish with a game-high 21. As a team, UFV shot a scorching 56.3 per cent from the field over the first two quarters.

The WolfPack tightened things up in the second half, limiting UFV to just 17 points over the final 20 minutes of play. But the deficit was just too much to overcome, and the Cascades maintained a double-digit advantage throughout.

The Cascades (1-0) and WolfPack (0-1) renew hostilities on Saturday, tipping off at 5 p.m. at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.

“It was a really good start for us,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said, reflecting on his team’s energetic, confident showing in the first half. “It’s really how we want to play – we wanted to up the pace a little bit, and we really moved the ball well and created some stuff off of our defence. If we can play like that moving forward, I’d be really happy.”

Indeed, the ball was whizzing around in the early going for the Cascades – they raced out to a 23-16 lead at the end of the first quarter, and outscored the WolfPack 22-7 in the second to stretch the lead beyond the 20-point threshold. More often than not it was Claggett knocking down shots for the Cascades, showcasing a confident jumper from the perimeter.

“Taylor works as hard every game as anybody, and we know she’s a pretty crafty player,” Tuchscherer said. “She’s in her fourth year now, so she’s going to be a load for anybody to defend. I think she’s gained some confidence in her perimeter game, and it’s going to be tough for teams if she continues to knock down the perimeter stuff.”

The WolfPack pushed back after the break with Michelle Bos leading the charge. She finished with a double-double (15 points, 10 boards). Leilani Carney notched nine points for the visitors, and Emily Vilac and Jordon Haggerty had eight apiece.

The Cascades benefitted from a strong performance from their third-year starting backcourt of Victoria Jacobse and Kate Head. Both players stuffed the stat sheet – Jacobse with 10 points, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and a block, and Head with five points, seven boards and four assists. Amanda Thompson also excelled for the Cascades, counting a pair of triples among her nine points.

Tuchscherer noted his team needs to do a tidier job of finishing.

“Teams aren’t going to stop playing just because we’ve got a big lead,” he said. “We’ve got to learn to finish games and play with intelligence, and we didn’t, especially in that fourth quarter. We were giving up easy buckets, and fouling at inappropriate times. So they’re lessons we need to learn, unfortunately. But I’d rather learn those lessons with a W than a loss.”

TRU head coach Scott Reeves said his squad will look to build on their second-half surge in Saturday’s rematch.

“They came out hot on opening night, which is expected, I think,” Reeves said. “To shoot 63 and 50 per cent (in the first and second quarters), you’re probably going to be down. We were still getting offensive rebounds and doing a good job there, and we got more shots than they did, but shooting percentage was everything. They came back to earth a little bit in the second half, but by then, the game was out of reach.”

Men’s Basketball: Nuno’s late triple ties it, WolfPack go on to edge Cascades in OT

The Thompson Rivers WolfPack completed an improbable rally on Friday evening at the Envision Athletic Centre, edging the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team 69-64 in overtime.

On the opening night of the Canada West regular season for both programs, the Cascades held a three-point lead in the dying seconds of regulation after Sukhjot Bains went 1-for-2 from the free throw line. But the WolfPack sprinted the length of the court and Enrico Nuno swished a contested three-pointer with 2.6 seconds remaining to knot the score and ultimately force OT.

The WolfPack (1-0) continued to connect from downtown in the extra session, as triples from Anton Bilous and Madhu McConnell helped the visitors pull away.

Bains was heroic in defeat for the Cascades (0-1), racking up a game-high 27 points.

The two teams lock horns once again on Saturday, tipping off at 7 p.m. at the EFAC.

“We stole one,” TRU head coach Scott Clark said with a wry chuckle afterward. “We made some plays, but he (Bains) had to miss a free throw, and we had to go the length of the court and make a three.

“Tough one for Fraser Valley, and it’s a good one for us. They’re a good basketball team – they’re as talented as any club in our whole league. We feel fortunate with the result.”

The WolfPack got off to a strong start on Friday, building a 20-11 lead at the end of the first quarter and leading by as many as 12 in the second. But the Cascades battled back, reeling off a 12-0 run with triples from Mark Johnson and Parm Bains lighting the fuse, leveling the score 27-27.

TRU opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 41-32 lead, but the Cascades answered, and grabbed a 44-43 edge heading to the fourth.

Sukhjot Bains looked to put the UFV squad on his back in the late going. He hit a three with 1:44 left to put UFV up 55-52, and after Bilous answered with a triple of his own, Bains hit a tough driving layup to give the Cascades the lead once again.

Those would be the last points scored before TRU fouled Bains to send him to the line in the dying seconds. He made one but missed the second, and Nuno grabbed the rebound, raced downcourt and hit a pull-up trey over a strong contest from UFV’s Andrew Morris.

Neither team shot the ball particularly well – TRU was at 36.6 per cent from the field for the game, fractionally better than UFV’s 35.4 per cent mark. But while the WolfPack were lights-out from beyond the arc (15-for-30), the Cascades were subpar (10-of-30), and they also managed just 8-for-17 from the free throw line.

“You have no choice but to bounce back,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said afterward. “I thought we had some good opportunities on offence – we shot the ball really poorly from the foul line and from three, but I’m really happy with our defence from the second quarter on. We’ve just got to keep defending like that, and offensively, believe we’re going to knock some more shots down tomorrow.

“I was really happy with how we competed. They (TRU) hit some really tough shots – there were some daggers out there. We had our moments, but weren’t able to capitalize as often. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Parm Bains (14 points, seven assists) and Johnson (11 points, 11 rebounds) joined Sukhjot Bains in double figures for the Cascades, and Sukhman Sandhu chipped in with three blocks and eight boards.

TRU’s Bilous counted four triples among his team-high 25 points. Joe Davis scored 11 points, Yonathan Michael had nine points off the bench, and Nuno finished with eight points and eight boards.

Women’s Volleyball: Chargers hold off Cascades in four sets

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team saw its two-game win streak snapped on the road Friday evening, as the Camosun Chargers prevailed in four sets in Victoria.

All four sets were closely contested, with the match ultimately breaking the Chargers’ way (23-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-22).

The result allowed Camosun (3-2) to move ahead of the Cascades (2-3) and take sole possession of fourth place in the PACWEST conference. The two teams duel once again on Saturday in a 1 p.m. start at Camosun.

“The game just did not allow for any rhythm – there was 57 missed serves between the two teams,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray said, noting that those missed serves were split almost precisely down the middle with 29 for UFV and 28 for Camosun. “The biggest issue with the missed serves was, it made everybody afraid to make any mistakes. That’s not the type of volleyball we’re accustomed to, and how we train every day in our gym.

“But I’ve always said we learn more from our losses than our wins, and we’re going to try to move forward and better ourselves tomorrow.”

After the Cascades claimed the first set, the match pivoted in the second. Camosun built a 20-14 lead, only to watch UFV roar all the way back and tie it up 20-20. The hosts, though, finished the set strong, and went on to win the next two sets as well.

Amanda Matsui led the Cascades in both kills (13) and digs (13), and Kim Bauder notched eight kills and 12 digs of her own. Gilray also lauded the play of sophomore outside hitter Lexi Edwards, who came off the bench and gave the team a jolt of energy. She finished with three kills.

“I love that the girls hate losing as much as they do – that’s a good thing,” Gilray summarized. “We want to take the learning and lessons from that loss, but not dwell on it.”

Men’s Volleyball: Cascades drop straight-sets decision to Camosun on the road

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team suffered a three-set defeat at the hands of the Camosun Chargers on Friday evening in Victoria.

The Chargers prevailed by scores of 25-20, 25-20 and 25-17, boosting their record to 3-2 while dropping the Cascades to 0-5. The two teams wrap up the weekend set Saturday afternoon in a 3 p.m. start.

Cascades took a makeshift lineup into Friday’s match, as both of their setters, Bobby Blaskovits and Adam Frederickson, were sidelined. Blaskovits, in fact, suffered an injury in practice the night before the UFV squad hopped on the ferry for Victoria.

That pressed Ben Friesen into action at the hub of the Cascades’ offence – the fourth-year Abbotsford, B.C. product is usually an outside hitter, and a good one at that, leading the UFV squad in total offence this season.

“I thought he played great,” UFV head coach Kyle Donen said of his substitute setter. “The first two sets in particular were relatively close, considering. I thought we had really good battle, and we gave ourselves a chance. Our biggest thing was, we struggled to pass down the stretch, and we gave up too many points that way. Considering what we had to do under the circumstances, I thought we held our own.”

Friesen finished with 16 set assists, and left side Landon Uy and middle Ian Jagersma paced the Cascades with five kills apiece.

Vitor Periera led the Chargers with 14 kills.

“We battled hard against a good team, and we showed a lot of fight as a group,” Donen said. “Hopefully we can reach another level tomorrow.”

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