UFV Sports Friday – Solid Weekend Start For Basketball, Volleyball

Men’s Basketball: Five Cascades score in double figures in win over UNBC

Abbotsford (Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics)– The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team rode a balanced attack and a stingy defence to a 81-62 victory over the UNBC Timberwolves on Friday evening.

Five Cascades scored in double figures, with Sukhjot Bains leading the way with a double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds). Andrew Morris (15 points), Mark Johnson (13), Vick Toor (13) and Parm Bains (10) also chipped in offensively, and Sukhman Sandhu contributed eight points and four blocks for the winners.

Jovan Leamy replied with a game-high 18 points and Austin Chandler scored 11 off the bench for the T-Wolves, who were limited to 30.9 per cent shooting from the field as a team.

The Cascades (5-4) extended their win streak to four games. They clash once again with UNBC (5-2) on Saturday (7 p.m., Envision Financial Athletic Centre).

“We shared the ball really well,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said. “For us to be successful, we need to have as many threats on the floor as possible at all times, and have everybody looking to be aggressive when their opportunity arises.

“Offensively this season, we’ve been a team that’s had some lulls over the course of the game. That occurred again today at times, but we’ve been really working on when we’re having those lulls is, are we out of the game when it’s over, or are we still in it? Do we rebound, do we take care of the basketball, do we get back on defence? Tonight when we had our stretches where we didn’t score, we were able to keep the lead because of all the other things we did well.”

The T-Wolves struggled mightily at the offensive end in the first half – they mustered just 10 points in each of the first two quarters, and shot 22.2 per cent from the field during that stretch including 0-for-10 from beyond the arc. The Cascades built a 19-10 lead after one quarter, and led 38-20 at the break.

UNBC made a third-quarter push, piecing together a 9-2 run to get back to within 11 points (46-35), but Morris ended that surge with a three-pointer, and UFV maintained a double-digit cushion the rest of the way.

“First half, we were a bit tentative,” UNBC head coach Todd Jordan analyzed. “I thought Fraser Valley did a good job – they came out with a lot of energy, and did a good job clogging the paint and made it difficult for us to get easy stuff. It took us a while for us to adjust to their length and size – it gave us some problems, and good on them.

“I thought in the second half, we made some adjustments offensively – we were able to score a bit more, get out a bit in transition . . . but we just couldn’t get enough stops. Every time we got close, to within 10, they’d go on a run. We had trouble keeping them from getting downhill from us off the dribble. We’ve got to do a better job of that tomorrow night if we want to give ourselves a chance to win.”

Sukhjot Bains noted that ball movement has been critical during the Cascades’ win streak.

“At practice, we always preach that we have to move the ball,” he noted. “We’re not really an iso team, so we all have to work together. Ball movement is a really important key for us . . . and when shots are going in, we’re pretty good.”

Women’s Basketball: Cascades hand first-place T-Wolves their first loss

Abbotsford – To beat a nationally ranked opponent, you need your best players to be the best versions of themselves, and you need extraordinary contributions from unexpected sources.

That’s what the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team got on Friday evening, as they knocked off the previously undefeated, U SPORTS No. 10-ranked UNBC Timberwolves by a score of 72-66 at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.

Cascades leading scorer Taylor Claggett was reliably outstanding, racking up a game-high 28 points to go with six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

But perhaps the biggest difference-maker of the night was UFV rookie Madeline Beerwald. The 5’11” forward out of Abbotsford’s W.J. Mouat Secondary came in averaging 0.6 points per game, with just one made field goal to her name over her seven previous appearances. UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer tapped Beerwald for her first career start on Friday, tasking her with defending T-Wolves’ 6’3” standout centre Vasiliki Louka. Beerwald not only brought energy in that department, she managed 11 points of her own, including a clutch 15-foot jump shot with 12.9 seconds left in regulation to expand a two-point UFV lead to four, and effectively ice the game.

The Cascades (4-5) and T-Wolves (6-1) renew hostilities on Saturday evening (5 p.m., EFAC).

“UNBC is a very strong opponent, and they’re having a great season,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer noted. “For us, we’ve been close a few times this season, and to get a quality win against a quality opponent is something our team really needed.

“We wanted to push the ball tonight, and I thought we did a good job of that. We’ve been trying to play a little bit quicker, and we haven’t been getting the results from it, but we stuck with it. It paid off tonight, particularly late in the game.”

Each of the first three quarters played out in similar fashion, with the Cascades asserting themselves early and the T-Wolves reeling them in late.

In the first, UFV led by as many as five points, before UNBC rallied for an 18-16 lead at the end of the frame following a Maria Mongomo bucket in the paint.

In the second quarter, the hosts opened on an 11-0 run capped by a Kate Head triple to seize a 27-18 edge, but the T-Wolves responded, with Canada West’s top two scorers – Mongomo and Louka – doing much of the damage and led 36-25 at the break.

The Cascades’ largest lead in the third was 52-47, but once again UNBC had a counterpunch with Madison Landry scoring the last four points of the frame to give the visitors a 55-54 margin heading to the fourth.

The T-Wolves began the final frame on a 5-0 run to grab their largest lead of the night, but UFV scored the next eight points – three apiece from Beerwald and Amanda Thompson to snag the advantage right back. Mongomo drove the left baseline with two minutes remaining to give UNBC a 66-65 edge, but those were the last points they would score. Victoria Jacobse knocked down a clutch triple on the next Cascades possession, and Beerwald made it a two-possession game in the dying seconds. After another defensive stop, Claggett swished a pair of free throws (her 15th and 16th of the night on 19 total attempts) to provide the final margin.

“The clock was going down and I was open, but I’d just missed one the play before, and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness,’” Beerwald said with a chuckle, reflecting on her late basket. “I let it go, and luckily it went in. It felt pretty good. It felt like, ‘This is why we play.’

“You can’t play scared in this league. If you’re given your shot to go out (and play), you have to give it your all at this point. We break our backs every day and push for hours on end to play these games, so you might as well give it what you’ve got while you can.”

Mongomo (21 points, nine rebounds) and Louka (23 points, 11 boards) both had big games for the visitors, and Landry (12 points) also scored in double figures. The T-Wolves got just 10 points from the rest of their roster, though.

Thompson chipped in with 12 points for the Cascades, while Jacobse (seven points, nine rebounds, seven assists) and Head (seven points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals) both stuffed the stat sheet.

Women’s Volleyball: Cascades’ sharp serving sparks straight-sets win over Bearcats

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team continued its recent momentum, cruising past crosstown rival Columbia Bible College in three straight sets on Friday evening at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.

The CCAA No. 9-ranked Cascades prevailed by scores of 25-18, 25-22 and 25-7, winning for the fifth time in six games and boosting their record to 7-4 in PACWEST play. The Bearcats fell to 0-11.

The two teams clash again on Saturday at CBC (5 p.m., pacwestbc.tv) to wrap up the home-and-home set.

“Our serve was our flagship again, for sure,” UFV head coach Mike Gilray said, noting that the Cascades put 90 per cent of their serves inbounds with more aces (10) than errors (eight). “When we’re serving like that, it’s hard to score, and we have the defence and blocking to surround it.”

“They (the Bearcats) are a scrappy team – it’s hard to put the ball to the ground. They run a pretty fast in-system ball that’s hard to get on. I thought our block did a good job of keying on the right people and getting those slowdowns to allow our transition offence to work. Our transition is easily one of our best skills – I think that’s where we separate.”

The Cascades got off to a solid start, building a 13-5 lead in the first set behind a five-point service run from Lexi Edwards, and kept the Bearcats at bay from there.

The second set was the most hotly contested of the night, with CBC carving out an early 9-6 lead before some strong serving from Kara Williams got the hosts back into it. UFV would surge ahead by six points, 23-17, and while the Bearcats would battle back to get it to within 24-22, the Cascades were able to hang on.

Kim Bauder took over in the fifth set, unleashing 13 straight serves – highlighted by a trio of aces – to stake her team to an insurmountable 21-6 lead.

Bauder would finish the night with 11 kills and 10 digs, and Amanda Matsui chipped in with 10 kills. Cascades setter Williams was voted player of the game by her teammates, racking up 26 assists.

Megan Polant paced the Bearcats with six kills.

Men’s Volleyball: Cascades outlast Bearcats in five-set thriller to earn first win

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team earned its initial win of the season in thrilling fashion on Friday evening, edging their crosstown rival Columbia Bible College Bearcats in five sets.

Playing before a raucous crowd in the Envision Financial Athletic Centre’s North Gym, the Cascades and Bearcats engaged in a roller-coaster affair that saw UFV seize the victory by scores of 19-25, 25-16, 25-22, 23-25 and 15-10.

The Cascades (1-10) and Bearcats (0-11) wrap up the home-and-home weekend set at Columbia Place on Saturday (7 p.m., pacwestbc.tv).

“It feels good to get the win,” UFV bench boss Kyle Donen noted with a smile. “It was a bit of a roller-coaster – both teams showed some inconsistencies, but both teams, I thought, showed some really good play at times too. I would have liked to see us sustain a little more consistency, but I think we came out with our best stuff at the right times.

“The goal was to protect home court first, and now we’ve got to go into hostile territory and get one more to finish the semester off strong. That’s the goal for tomorrow night.”

Friday’s wild first set was a preview of what was to come. The Cascades raced out to a 15-8 lead following a five-point service run from Jackson Obst, but the Bearcats answered with a four-point run with Graham Walkey at the service line to get back into it, and they pulled away to take it 25-19.

UFV bounced back to take the second set in decisive fashion, and clawed out a 25-22 triumph in the third capped by an Ian Jagersma kill. The hosts appeared poised to finish things off in the fourth, leading 9-4 early and 21-19 later on, but CBC finished strong, scoring four of the last five points of the set to take it 25-23 and extend the match.

In the fifth, the Cascades built a 5-1 lead behind a trio of Jagersma kills, and while the Bearcats were able to get back to within two points, UFV kept them at bay and wrapped up the win on a kill by captain Ben Friesen.

Afterward, Donen noted that the energy from the crowd in the smaller North Gym seemed to “provide a bit of a spark for both teams.”

“Usually games against CBC are like that, and the added feature of playing in the smaller gym – a lot of our guys were really excited to play there,” he said. “They thrive off the energy that comes from playing in there.

“For two teams who haven’t had the semester they wanted, I think a lot of good, positive things came out of the game for both sides.”

Friesen led the Cascades with 16 kills, Graeme Hughes racked up 13 kills with a .400 hitting percentage, and Justin Peleshytyk had nine kills. UFV’s young middles also came up big with starter Josh Fefchak sidelined due to illness. Jagersma finished with nine kills, and Jackson Obst had three kills and two solo blocks. Setter Bobby Blaskovits posted 27 assists.

Jackson Kathler (16 kills) and Jacob Molitwenik (14 kills) led the Bearcats’ attack.

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