UFV Sports Friday – Hoops Road Wins In Edmonton, Volleyball

Men’s Basketball: Johnson, Bains light the fuse as Cascades beat Griffins

Edmonton (with files from Jason Hills, for MacEwan Athletics) – The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team shook off its Friday doldrums in emphatic fashion, defeating the MacEwan Griffins 94-79 in Edmonton.

Heading in, the Cascades had amassed an 0-3 record on Fridays during Canada West play this season; their 2-1 record on Saturdays indicated a much more energetic approach on the second game of a given weekend.

While their start wasn’t terrific – it took the UFV squad two and a half minutes to get on the scoreboard – they heated up in a hurry, leading 30-20 at the end of the first quarter and expanding the margin from there.

Mark Johnson and Parm Bains paced the Cascades’ season-high offensive output, pouring in 23 points apiece. Griffins leading scorer Jake Notice posted 20 points, struggling from the field (3-for-14) but making hay at the free throw line (14-for-16).

UFV (3-4) will have a chance to get back to the .500 mark on Saturday as they face MacEwan (0-7) in a rematch (7 p.m. Mountain, 6 p.m. Pacific, CanadaWest.tv).

“We talked about it all week, and again before the game,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said with a wry chuckle, alluding to his team’s tendency to struggle in the first game of a weekend set. “We performed better than past Fridays, but we still didn’t bring the same energy as we have on Saturdays.

“We’re continuing to have some slow starts, which isn’t ideal. But we shared the ball nicely and found some good shots, and offensively, played pretty efficient.”

After finding traction offensively in the first quarter, the Cascades built on it in the second, grabbing a 55-40 lead at the break.

The Griffins found a way to get back into the contest with a big run to start the third quarter. They outscored the Cascades 10-0 to start the second half, capped by a nice play at the rim by Dustin Gatzki off a missed three attempt and cut UFV’s deficit to 55-50.

The Cascades answered with an 11-4 surged highlighted by a pair of Johnson triples – he went 6-for-11 from downtown for the game – to get the lead back to double digits. Another 11-3 run to open the fourth quarter pushed the lead to 20 points at 84-64, essentially cementing the final outcome.

Johnson added 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season, and Bains chipped in with six assists and six rebounds. Sukhman Sandhu registered 11 points, five rebounds and four blocks off the bench, and Vick Toor scored nine points.

While UFV had a solid night from beyond the arc (12-for-34, 35.3 per cent), the Griffins were utterly abysmal from the land beyond, hitting just 3-of-27 (11.1 per cent). Gatzki (14 points), Liban Yousef (12) and Abdullah Shittu (11) joined Notice in double figures.

Women’s Basketball: Head, Claggett lead Cascades to road win over Griffins

Edmonton ( with files from Jason Hills, for MacEwan Athletics) – Big games from Taylor Claggett and Kate Head sparked the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team to a big road win over the MacEwan Griffins.

Fourth-year power forward Taylor Claggett was an absolute menace, racking up a huge double-double with 17 points and 18 rebounds. Third-year point guard Head posted a career-high 16 points, two assists, two rebounds and two steals in the victory.

The Cascades (3-4) and Griffins (1-6) clash again on Saturday (5 p.m. Mountain, 4 p.m. Pacific, CanadaWest.tv).

“I was really happy for Kate,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said afterward. “We really challenged her this week to step up her game, particularly offensively, and she really did tonight. She did a lot of the things we know she can. I hope we continue to see that moving forward.

“Taylor is doing a lot of really good things for us right now. Obviously she’s a great rebounder and she has been for a while, and she always finds ways to score. But just her confidence – bringing the ball up the floor, relieving pressure, and at the defensive end – has come a long way. It’s been a lot of fun watching her evolve into this elite player.”

UFV made things tough right from the opening tip-off for MacEwan. The visitors led 19-7 in the first quarter as Claggett made an early impact. She scored eight points in the opening 10 minutes and made some key defensive plays.

Head sparked the Cascades throughout in the first half, going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc en route to 13 points over the first 20 minutes of play. That matched her career high, which had also been set against the Griffins, back on Nov. 13, 2015.

The Cascades led 35-17 at the break, but the offence bogged down a bit in the third quarter, as MacEwan outscored them 11-8 in the frame. The UFV squad perked back up in the fourth, maintaining a double-digit cushion through the final buzzer. Rookie guard Abby Zawada chipped in with eight points and four assists for UFV.

“We’ve got a lot of holes to plug offensively right now, and we addressed some of those things tonight with a pretty energized first half,” Tuchscherer said. “We pushed the ball a little bit, we got some good shots, we got some inside and some outside. The next thing to address is putting it together for an entire game.”

The Griffins mustered just 24.6 per cent shooting from the field to UFV’s 33.3. Shannon Majeau led MacEwan with eight points and six rebounds, Kristen Monfort-Palomino scored seven, and Hannah Gibb and Mady Chamberlin chipped in with six points each off the bench.

“It seems to be a common story that we’re having a difficult time putting the ball in the hook. It’s not that we’re not getting good looks, we’re just not finishing. We rush and panic and throw it off the glass,” said Griffins head coach Katherine Adams.

“Our start really put us in a hole. It’s always tough when you’re playing from behind. In the first quarter we were down 12, and no team is going to lay down and let you back in it.”

Women’s Volleyball: Slow-starting Cascades hit their stride, beat Blues in four

An uneven start gave way to a lights-out finish for the University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team, as they earned a four-set home-court win over the Capilano Blues.

At the start of Friday’s match, the visitors looked thoroughly at home at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre – Capilano rolled to a 25-14 win in the first set, then erased a 17-9 deficit in the second to go up 21-19.

The Cascades, though, found their footing, clawing out a 25-23 triumph in the second capped by a huge kill down the line from Amanda Matsui. They were off to the races from there, winning the next two sets by matching 25-11 scores.

UFV (5-4) and Capilano (3-6) renew hostilities on Saturday at the EFAC (5 p.m., pacwestbc.tv).

“Early on, we were just shooting ourselves in the foot,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray analyzed. “We made 21 errors in the first set, and we know that if you don’t put them under a bit of pressure, it’s going to be hard. We just made a lot of errors. Everyone was trying to do a little bit extra, a little bit too much instead of just bettering the ball.

“Whereas in the third and the fourth, Kara (Williams, Cascades setter) would miss, and hitters would go fix it for her. Or passers wouldn’t pass a perfect ball, and Kara would make a nice set out of it. I think our blocking and defence turned the tide. We won a few of those long rallies, which changes the feel of the game and gives you that extra energy.”

The Cascades’ early struggles were multifaceted, but in particular, their passing was ragged in the first set and for much of the second.

Williams got UFV off to a great start in the second, serving the hosts to a 5-0 lead, and they extended it to 17-9 before the Blues came roaring back behind the serving of Sarah Curleigh and Jaylene Lucas, amidst an avalanche of errors from the Cascades. A couple of great serves from Lexi Edwards got UFV back into it, though – they were able to square the match at a set apiece, and from there, it was all Cascades.

“We did not have a good night passing,” Gilray acknowledged. “But what we did in the third and the fourth, instead of making errors, we did a good job of recycling and forcing them to win points. And then we let our transition offence go to work.”

Matsui and Kim Bauder paced the offence with 13 and 11 kills apiece. Matsui added 15 digs and three aces, tying Williams for team-high honours in the latter category. Libero Karissa Marazzi finished with 20 digs, and Williams was also a double-digit digger with 11.

Edwards was the Cascades’ player of the match in honour of her steady presence on an up-and-down night for the squad. Chelsea Kidd sparked the team off the bench in the third and fourth sets, racking up five kills on five swings.

Lucas’s seven kills were a team-high for the Blues.

Men’s Volleyball: Blues top Cascades in straight sets

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team found their mojo midway through the third set, but it was too little, too late as the Capilano Blues prevailed at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre on Friday.

The visiting Blues took the first two sets in decisive fashion (25-18 and 25-17), and opened a 20-13 lead in the third before the Cascades mounted an epic comeback that fell just short as Capilano closed it out 25-23.

The Blues boosted their record to 6-3, good for fourth place in the PACWEST, while the Cascades fell to 0-9. The two teams tangle again on Saturday at the EFAC (7 p.m., pacwestbc.tv).

“The first two sets were not good,” UFV head coach Kyle Donen noted. “We struggled to execute, for the most part. I thought we passed the ball decently well, we just struggled to get the ball to go down. We had a lot of attempts for very few points, and we couldn’t sustain any consistency. And we struggled to slow them down until that third set, really.

“I think the fight was better in the third, at least towards the end. We need a little more of that, and we need to be able to do that for an entire set, an entire match. We showed we can play, we just need to show that from point one to point 25.”

The Cascades’ encouraging third-set stretch was ignited by a five-point service run from Josh Fefchak, with rookies Jackson Obst and Shubdeep Wander providing great energy and solid defensive play. Ultimately, though, the Blues were able to stave off UFV’s long-odds rally.

Ben Friesen racked up a game-high 10 kills for the Cascades, Fefchak registered five kills and two aces, and Matt Whittall had four kills. The attacking struggles Donen alluded to manifested in a .091 hitting percentage for UFV; Capilano was at .347.

Blues setter Simon Friesen – Ben’s twin brother – had 23 assists to go with a trio of kills, and Jacob Hopkins and Markus Bratsberg had seven kills apiece.

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