Men’s Soccer: Thunderbirds top Cascades in Canada West semis
Vancouver (with files from Stu Walters, UBC Athletics) The UBC Thunderbirds got off to a hot start and rode that momentum, defeating the University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team 7-0 in the Canada West semifinals on Friday evening.
Playing at Thunderbird Stadium, the hosts got on the board in the fourth minute via Kristian Yli-Hietanen, and a pair of goals from Zach Verhoven and a single from Victory Shumbusho had UBC up 4-0 at the half-hour mark.
Second-half goals from Caleb Clarke, Mackenzie Cole and Shumbusho rounded out the scoring as the T-Birds punched their ticket to the Canada West title game where they’ll face the Trinity Western Spartans, 3-0 winners over the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in Friday’s earlier semifinal.
The Cascades and WolfPack will meet in the Canada West bronze medal match, Saturday at 7 p.m. at UBC’s Ken Woods Field.
“They’re a very good team, and they were clinical tonight,” Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes said of the T-Birds. “It really rattled us conceding that early goal. We’d talked about being really good defensively and getting through the first 20 minutes, and that didn’t happen.
“And after the first goal’s gone in, and our age and inexperience has shown. Instead of steadying the ship for 15 or 20 minutes and just getting through, we made bad decisions and a few errors. And we’ve just compounded the issue by conceding another poor goal, and you’re up against it.
“Could have done better on quite a few of the goals, but taking nothing away from them, they bossed the game tonight, they blitzed us. We were second-best 95 per cent of the game. It’s a tough one, but it’s experience for our younger players to see that’s the level and that’s the standard. We’ll have to put it in perspective, but obviously that takes time and it’s tough to do right now.”
Yli-Hietanen opened the scoring early, taking a pass from Nick Fussell at the top of the box before drilling a turf-burning shot into the bottom left corner past the outstretched arms of Cascades goalkeeper David Hicks.
UFV had a chance to answer shortly thereafter – Parman Minhas made a dangerous run down the right flank and sent a cross in, but Andrew Peat just missed getting a touch on it from point-blank range.
Verhoven created the T-Birds’ next three goals. In the 19th minute, he made a slashing run deep into the Cascades’ box before cutting the ball back across goal where Shumbusho connected on a one-timer.
Two minutes later, Verhoven collected the ball near the top of the box and took a quick step to his left before sending a shot through traffic that found the back-right corner.
In the 30th minute Verhoven would be heard from again. He took a feed from Thomas Gardner, made a slick turn, and drilled a left-footed strike into the right side of the net for 4-0 lead at the break, rendering the second half largely academic.
With a win over TRU on Saturday, the Cascades can match their best-ever Canada West finish – the program also won conference bronze medals in 2013 and 2015.
“Obviously this one is fresh and it hurts,” Lowndes said post-game. “But like I just said to the players, we’ve got a chance to match the best we’ve ever done tomorrow if we can get a result. We’ve got to use that as motivation. I told them to think about how far we’ve come from last season. If you’d said at the start of the year that we could be fighting for a Canada West bronze medal, I think we would have taken it and said, ‘Brilliant, let’s go for it.’”
Men’s Volleyball: Royals extend undefeated record at Cascades’ expense
The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team saw its upset bid come unraveled in the second set on Friday evening, as they fell to the Douglas Royals at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.
After the CCAA No. 7-ranked Royals took the first set by a 25-18 count, the Cascades came back strong in the second and built a 21-17 advantage. Douglas, though, reeled off five straight points to seize the lead, and went on to take it 25-23. Royals setter Jared Collin orchestrated the 5-0 surge, serving for four points including an ace, and handing out three set assists during the run. With the momentum squarely on their side, the visitors wrapped up the match in the third set, 25-20.
Douglas remains undefeated at 5-0, while the Cascades fall to 0-7. The two teams conclude the home-and-home set on Saturday afternoon in New Westminster (3 p.m. start, pacwestbc.tv).
“The simplest way to put it is, we struggled to find our stride,” UFV bench boss Kyle Donen analyzed afterward. “We had too many missed opportunities in our passing game. They served the ball tough at times, and they had a lot of success with it. We weren’t able to give ourselves a chance to keep it on our side.
“In the second set, we were very good up until 21 points, but we just threw it away. We had a chance to even the match, and we let it slip.”
Ben Friesen and Matt Whittall led the Cascades’ attack with seven kills apiece, and Whittall added two aces. Ian Jagersma chipped in with five kills for the hosts.
Ben Shand sparked the Royals with 10 kills.
Women’s Volleyball: Cascades author four-set upset of No. 2-ranked Royals
The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team earned a signature victory on Friday evening, knocking off the Douglas Royals in four sets at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.
The Royals, last season’s PACWEST champions and CCAA silver medalists, came in with the No. 2 national ranking. But the Cascades succeeded thanks in large part to a scorching performance from the service line – they pounded 17 aces against just 11 service errors, keeping the Royals on their heels for much of the evening. Set scores were 25-21, 25-19, 19-25, 25-20.
The two teams conclude the home-and-home set on Saturday afternoon at Douglas College in New Westminster (1 p.m. start, pacwestbc.tv).
“It was fun . . . it’s the best volleyball we’ve played this year, for sure,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray said.
“We’re coming off two big road trips, and that connection you get on the road is great, but there’s just something about being in your own gym. I think the girls were super-excited about playing at home, and it showed. They played fantastic.”
The Cascades’ red-hot performance from the service line was led by setter Kara Williams and outside hitter Kim Bauder. Williams had an eye-popping 28 serves over the four sets, notching six aces, and Bauder had five aces of her own.
Amanda Matsui paced the offence with 20 kills, and Bauder added 13 kills with just one error. Rookie middle Alysha Cooper chipped in with six kills on eight swings, and Williams racked up 47 set assists.
Bauder (13 digs), Karissa Marazzi (12) and Williams (11) all mustered double-digit digs for the hosts.
“We’ve got two big horses in our league (Douglas and CCAA No. 1 Vancouver Island University), and they’re real good measuring sticks for where your game is going,” Gilray noted. “Last week, we didn’t play at the level we want to play at (splitting on the road vs. Camosun), and to come back and answer with our best volleyball of the season is outstanding.”
Women’s Volleyball: Cascades fall to No. 5-ranked Huskies on the road
Saskatoon (with files from Matt Johnson, Huskie Athletics) – It was a rough night on the road for the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team, as they dropped an 87-47 decision to the Saskatchewan Huskies.
The Huskies, last season’s U SPORTS silver medalists and currently the No. 5-ranked team in the nation, opened the game on a 9-0 run and finished in similar fashion, outscoring the Cascades 26-9 in the fourth quarter.
The result leaves the two teams with matching 2-1 records, and they clash again on Saturday in Saskatoon (6 p.m. Central / 5 p.m. Pacific, CanadaWest.tv).
After the Huskies’ game-opening surge, the Cascades found a bit of traction. Taylor Claggett posted eight points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field in the first quarter, and the deficit was 23-15 after 10 minutes.
But Sask opened the second quarter on a 16-5 run to seize control of the game. UFV responded with back-to-back three-pointers from Victoria Jacobse and Kate Head, but the hosts’ lead was 42-26 at the break.
The Huskies began the third quarter on a 12-4 run, and pulled away from there.
Claggett was the lone Cascade to score in double figures, with 14 points, and Jacobse and Katelyn Mallette had eight points apiece.
Summer Masikewich was Saskatchewan’s leading scorer with a game-high 17 points, and rookie Ashley de Sousa Martins recorded 14 points and 11 rebounds.
MBB: Huskies start strong, keep Cascades at bay
Saskatoon (with files from Matt Johnson, Huskie Athletics) – The Saskatchewan Huskies got out to an early lead and never looked back, defeating the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team 92-65 on Friday in Saskatoon.
The host Huskies outscored the Cascades 27-8 in the first quarter, and rolled from there. The UFV squad had a tough night offensively, hitting just 31.8 per cent from the field.
The Cascades (1-2) and Huskies (2-1) renew hostilities on Saturday evening (8 p.m. Central/7 p.m. Pacific, CanadaWest.tv).
Emmanuel Akintunde led the Huskies in scoring with 24 points while adding 11 rebounds to complete the double-double. JT Robinson chipped in 22 points, four rebounds and four assists in the win.
Parm Bains paced the Cascades with 17 points on 4-9 shooting from downtown. Sukhjot Bains added 15 points and four rebounds, and Vick Toor had 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists off the bench.
The Huskies started the game on fire and got out to a 16-0 lead – Robinson and Akintunde each hit from three-point range, and Chan De Ciman converted twice from beyond the arc. Sask would shoot 6-for-13 from distance in the opening frame, while the Cascades went just 1-for-9 themselves and shot just 17.6 per cent from the field overall.
UFV battled back with a strong second quarter, outscoring Saskatchewan 17-15 in the frame, but still entered halftime facing a 42-25 deficit.
The Huskies continued to pull away after the break, outscoring the Cascades 27-18 in the third, and they salted the game away with a 7-0 run in the fourth.