UFV Sports Saturday – Men’s Hoops Winning Streak Snapped, Volleyball, Wrestling

Abbotsford – Men’s Basketball (with files from Braedan Willis, Victoria Vikes communications): Vikes stop Cascades’ streak, prevail 78-75

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team’s 10-game win streak came to an end at the hands of the Victoria Vikes on Saturday evening, as the hosts prevailed 78-75 in a game that went down to the wire.

Down three points in the dying seconds, Cascades sharpshooter Parm Bains – who had drained six triples earning in the evening – had two attempts from downtown bounce off the rim and out.

That allowed the Vikes (6-8) to escape with a much-needed win, while the Cascades fell to 11-5 – still good for a share of fourth place in Canada West.

“It was a really exciting game,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said. “We came out on the short end today, but Victoria played really well. They were really hungry. A couple decisions here and there on our part could have made life a little bit easier on us, but it’s a great opportunity to learn. They’re such a well-coached team, we knew at the end of this weekend we were going to become a better team for it. And I think that’s what’s going to happen.”

After two tightly contested quarters of play, the Cascades held a narrow 43-41 lead at halftime thanks in large part to the three-point shooting of the Bains. The fourth-year guard was 5-for-8 from beyond the arc and tallied a total of 19 points in the first half.

Neither team could gain separation until the early stages of the fourth quarter, when the Cascades reeled off a 10-0 run – bookended by triples from Sukhjot Bains and Parm Bains – to go up 67-59 with seven minutes left in regulation.

The Vikes, though, responded with a 15-4 surge, highlighted by seven points from Jake Newman, to grab a 74-71 lead with two and a half minutes left.

UFV answered quickly to reclaim the advantage after back-to-back buckets by Mark Johnson and Parm Bains. The home side seized back the lead after yet another basket from Newman followed by a pair of free throws by Aaron Tesfagiorgis with 11 seconds left. After the second Tesfagiorgis free throw, Parm Bains raced upcourt, but his step-back three rimmed out. Johnson fought for the rebound and sent it back out to Bains, but his second attempt also drew iron, and the buzzer sounded.

“We’ll live and die with Parm Bains shooting jumpers,” Friesen said of the Cascades’ leading scorer, who finished with a team-high 24 points. “The guys battled and competed, and we’ll accept what happened and move on.

“This was a playoff-calibre kind of game, and it’s a good lesson for us moving forward to the playoffs hopefully in a few weeks.”

UFV carved out a 52-42 edge in the rebounding department, and a trio of Cascades posted double-doubles: Vick Toor (17 points, 11 rebounds), Sukhjot Bains (16 points, 10 boards) and Johnson (10 points, 12 boards).

Newman finished with a team-high 23 for the Vikes, Jordan Charles scored 21, and Scott Kellum had 10.

The Cascades now enjoy a bye week, and return to action Jan. 25-26 as they host the reigning U SPORTS national champion Calgary Dinos at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.

Women’s Basketball (with files from Ali Baggott, Victoria Vikes communications): Kobes leads bounce-back effort, Cascades topple Vikes 73-71

Sparked by an outstanding performance off the bench from Veronica Kobes, the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team earned an impressive 73-71 win over the Victoria Vikes on the road Saturday evening.

It was a bounce-back of whiplash-inducing proportions for the Cascades, who had fallen 91-58 to the Vikes on Friday. The visitors gave a much better account of themselves in the rematch, buoyed by the play of Kobes, who racked up a career-high 17 points and six rebounds in just 14 minutes. The third-year science major from Abbotsford, B.C. scored 15 of her points in the second half, and five of her rebounds came at the offensive end, keeping crunch-time possessions alive for UFV.

Four other Cascades scored in double figures – Amanda Thompson (15), Kate Head (13), Taylor Claggett (12) and Madeline Beerwald – as the UFV squad improved to 10-6, good for sixth place in Canada West. The Vikes (8-6) are tied for eighth.

“I’m really happy with how the girls regrouped today,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “We had a productive video session, and I don’t think they really liked what they saw. They came out with a renewed determination tonight, and it was nice to see that pay off for them.

“For us, it usually starts at the defensive end of the floor. I thought we were a lot more active right from the beginning of the game, and we played a lot tougher. We did a way better job of controlling the boards tonight, and that was key to our success.”

The Cascades hung tough with the Vikes throughout the first half – Head scored seven points in the first quarter, but the UVic built a 19-17 lead, and they expanded it to 37-33 at the half.

The Vikes opened the third quarter on an 8-1 run, capped by an Amira Giannattasio jump shot, to claim their largest lead of the night at 45-34. But Kobes scored seven straight UFV points, and the Cascades would eventually draw even at 53-53 after a basket, plus the foul, from Thompson.

Beerwald tied the game 57-57 at the start of the fourth and from there a pair of free throws from Head combined with a bucket from each of Claggett and Kobes lifted the Cascades to their largest lead, up by six, 65-59, with six minutes to go.

The teams traded baskets down the stretch, with the Vikes drawing even at 67-67 after a pair of Calli McMillan free throws. But jump shots from Head and Beerwald, and an offensive board and putback from Kobes, put UFV up 73-68 with just over a minute left in regulation.

UVic’s Ashlyn Day scored to cut the deficit to 73-70, and after UFV came up empty on its next possession, Thompson fouled Aleah Ashlee on a three-point attempt with 1.9 seconds left on the clock. Ashlee made the first free throw, but missed the next two, and Alexis Worrell grabbed the rebound to seal the victory.

The Cascades overcame a huge night from Giannattasio (28 points), and Day and Katie Langdon chipped in with 10 points apiece for the Vikes.

Tuchscherer lauded the pivotal performance of Kobes.

“Obviously she was pretty key for us tonight,” he said. “She came in off the bench and right away, she had an impact on the game. She uses her length (6’2”) very well, and she picked up a lot of offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive for us. She keeps getting better every day. Her skill level gets stronger, and her IQ keeps improving.”

The Cascades head into their bye week on a high note, and return to action Jan. 25-26 with a doubleheader at home vs. the Calgary Dinos.

Women’s Volleyball (with files from Jordie Arthur, Cascades communications assistant ): Balanced attack paves the way as Cascades cruise past Chargers

The University of the Fraser Valley’s women’s volleyball team overpowered a strong Camosun Chargers squad in three sets on Saturday afternoon at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.

The Cascades prevailed in decisive fashion (25-14, 25-9, 25-21), authoring an impressive bounce-back performance in the wake of Friday’s five-set loss to the Chargers. The victory allowed them to keep pace with Camosun in the battle for PACWEST playoff seeding – UFV reclaimed third place in the conference at 9-5, with two games in hand on the fourth-place Chargers (9-7).

“It was a huge response,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray said. “That was a massive game for us, standings and playoff-wise, to make sure we keep pace with them. It was a clutch performance, and it was one of our most consistent nights. We rarely let them go on any runs.”

Both teams are nationally ranked – UFV is No. 8 in the CCAA rankings, with the Chargers slotted in at No. 12.

On Saturday, it was the host Cascades taking control early and never letting go. Keira Fisher and her 10-point service run were the story in the first set, staking UFV to a 15-6 lead and allowing them to cruise to a 25-14 victory.

The Cascades took their dominance to another level in the second set, jumping out to leads of 8-2 and 15-5 on the back of strong play at the net, before closing it out handily 25-9.

After UFV took a 17-13 lead in the third set, the Chargers pressed hard but a strong passing performance by libero Karissa Marazzi, with three digs in quick succession, regained the momentum for the Cascades as they clinched the decisive set 25-21.

The Cascades’ offence was extremely diverse, with five players registering between three and nine digs. Amanda Matsui led the way with nine kills, and Kim Bauder (six), Hanna Hieltjes (six), Fisher (four) and Alysha Cooper (three) all had their moments offensively. Setter Kara Williams’s outstanding distribution netted her player of the game honours, as voted by her teammates.

A trio of Cascades posted double-digit digs: Bauder (17), Marazzi (13) and Matsui (11).

Gilray lauded the play of Fisher – she came on as a sub at middle on Friday and sparked the team, and was subsequently inserted as a starter at right side on Saturday. Middles Hieltjes and Cooper also excelled – they didn’t have a single hitting error between them, and they each notched four blocks. As a team, UFV posted 12 blocks, an outstanding number in a three-set match.

Gilray also noted that his team was much more dangerous from the service line after a tentative showing the night before.

“Today we went back to real confident serving, and watched how it changed the game,” he said. “Overall, there was a big difference in our commitment to detail.”

The Cascades volleyball teams are back in action at home next weekend, hosting the College of the Rockies Avalanche on Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.) and Sunday (women 11 a.m., men 1 p.m.) at the EFAC.

Men’s Volleyball (by Jordie Arthur, Cascades communications assistant): For second straight day, Cascades fall in four to Chargers

The University of the Fraser Valley’s men’s volleyball team stuck to a familiar script on Saturday, dropping a four-set decision to the Camosun Chargers for the second consecutive day.

The host Cascades got off to a good start at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre – they built a 20-13 lead in the first set, and managed to hold off a late surge by the Chargers to take it 25-20. 

The second set was tightly contested until Camosun’s Nolin Hoodicoff went on a strong service run to give the visitors a 16-12 lead, and they would go on to take it 25-19.

The Cascades fell behind 21-13 in the third, but Shubdeep Wander went on a four-point service run to close the gap to 21-18. But it would not be enough as the Chargers held on to take it 25-19 once again.

In the fourth set, UFV grabbed a 16-10 lead, but the Chargers stormed back with multiple serving runs. They trimmed the deficit to 16-15, before overtaking the Cascades 21-19 and closing out the match 25-22. 

The Chargers improved to 12-4, while the Cascades fell to 1-13 on the season.

“Tonight was definitely a step forward,” UFV head coach Kyle Donen said postgame, noting that his squad was more competitive set to set than the day before. “I think we played well enough to win, we just fell a little bit short at the end of the sets we had our chances in. Especially that last set – unfortunately we just gave up too many runs towards the end and just fell short.”

Cascades captain Ben Friesen usually starts at left side, but he shifted to the setter spot on Saturday and racked up 30 set assists. Wander registered a team-high 11 kills, and Josh Fefchak and Ian Jagersma also had strong showings with eight kills each.

Eduardo Bida led the Chargers with 19 kills, while Mack Mravnik had a team-high 34 set assists.

“I thought we competed well defensively, and some different guys helped carry our offence a little bit,” Donen said. “Having Ben set, and having guys like Josh Fefchak and Shubdeep Wander step up offensively was huge for us. Having that extra depth is going to make a big difference for us down the stretch.”

The Cascades volleyball teams are back in action at home next weekend, hosting the College of the Rockies Avalanche on Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.) and Sunday (women 11 a.m., men 1 p.m.) at the EFAC.

Wrestling Dhillon wins gold, three others medal at Golden Bear Invitational

A gold medal from sophomore Karan Dhillon highlighted a solid showing for the University of the Fraser Valley wrestling program at the Golden Bear Invitational in Edmonton on Saturday.

Dhillon, a bronze medalist at last year’s Canada West championships, showed he may be poised for bigger things this season, emerging victorious in the tough 82-kilogram men’s weight class. The Surrey, B.C. product won his first two matches in decisive fashion, via tech fall and pin, respectively. In the final, Dhillon faced a stiff test from John Fayad of the Calgary Dinos, but battled his way to a 6-4 decision.

Three other Cascades climbed the podium in Edmonton. Rookies Jason Bains (men’s 100 kg) and Gurjot Gill (men’s 76 kg) showed great promise, winning silver in their respective weight classes, each posting 3-1 records.

Two-time defending U SPORTS national champ Brad Hildenbrandt settled for bronze in the heavyweight division – he was upset in the semis by Tyler Duguid of the Alberta Golden Bears, but bounced back for a technical-superiority triumph (11-0) over Jordan Tholl of Cattown Wrestling Club to clinch third.

Five other Cascades earned top-six placings for the UFV men’s team, which finished third overall with 36 points. The host Golden Bears amassed 57 points, while the Saskatchewan Huskies were runners-up with 43 points.

Sunny Benning (90 kg) finished fourth, Harvin Mand (68 kg) and Simren Brar (54 kg) were fifth, and Parker McBride (57 kg) and Ali Rahguzar (61 kg) were sixth. Amarvir Atwal (72 kg) and Ravi Manhas (54 kg) also competed for the Cascades men’s team, but did not place.

On the women’s side, with reigning Canada West champ Ana Godinez Gonzalez a late scratch from the tournament due to injury, Calista Espinosa was the lone UFV entry. She posted a fifth-place finish, defeating Robbie Ann Pinagal of the EWC Bears 6-1 in her final match of the event.

The Golden Bear Invitational marks the start of a second-half sprint which will see the UFV wrestling program host two major events in the next month. The Cascades Classic, UFV’s annual Canada West regular-season tourney, takes over the Envision Financial Athletic Centre Jan. 26-27. Two weeks after that, the Cascades host the Canada West Wrestling Championships for the first time in program history, Feb. 8-9. The season culminates with the U SPORTS national championships Feb. 22-23 in Calgary.

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