Abbotsford – Files from Dan Kinvig
Women’s Basketball: Jacobse’s clutch bucket lifts Cascades past WolfPack
Victoria Jacobse played the hero in the dying seconds, as her basket – plus the foul – lifted the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team to a 55-53 exhibition victory over the Thompson Rivers WolfPack at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.
With the host Cascades trailing TRU 53-52 and with possession on a baseline inbounds, Amanda Thompson fed a slick pass to Jacobse cutting to the hoop, and the fourth-year guard finished through contact as the clock ticked inside of four seconds. She hit the ensuing free throw, and UFV secured the win after the WolfPack missed a long three-pointer at the buzzer.
Jacobse’s clutch bucket capped a furious rally by the Cascades, who had trailed by 10 points (22-12) after the first quarter and by 11 (33-22) at the break.
Rookie forward Deanna Tuchscherer caught fire in the third quarter, scoring 10 of the Cascades’ 15 points in the frame as they cut the deficit to 40-37. Fifth-year Taylor Claggett took over in the fourth, scoring eight points to pull UFV closer, setting the stage for the Thompson-Jacobse connection for the winning points.
Getting the win did little to sooth head coach Al Tuchscherer’s concerns about his team’s slow start, which has been a recurring pattern in the preseason.
“I really wasn’t very happy with the game, other than the last couple minutes where we played hard and got ourselves back into position to win,” he said. “The first 38 minutes, from our standpoint, were not executed very well at all. . . . We’re putting ourselves in holes, and it’s tough to recover from that.”
Deanna Tuchscherer finished with 15 points, Claggett scored 11, and Thompson had eight for the Cascades. Emma Piggin paced the WolfPack with 14 points, and Leilani Carney added 11 for the guests.
The two teams wrap up their weekend exhibition series on Saturday (1 p.m., EFAC).
Men’s Volleyball: Mariners defeat Cascades in straight sets
The Vancouver Island University Mariners topped the University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team in three straight sets on Friday evening in Nanaimo.
The Mariners were tough to crack defensively – they limited the Cascades to a .093 hitting percentage for the game, winning by set scores of 25-14, 25-20 and 25-21.
“I thought it was great for us to play a team that’s at a high level and see what’s needed to be successful in this league,” UFV head coach Nathan Bennett said. “I’m happy this match has happened so early in the season – it gives us a bar to reach, and we have a few months to be able to hit it. They’re a good team, and I give them all the credit in the world. But we have to be better, and we now know what to shoot for.”
Landon Uy had a solid performance for the Cascades, registering 12 kills with a .231 hitting percentage. Caleb Kastelein added six kills, Jackson Obst had five, and setter Graham Walkey paced the UFV squad with seven digs in addition to posting 19 assists.
Jeff Webb had a big night for the Mariners, racking up 10 kills on 15 swings, Dario De Queiroz-Pereira had five service aces, and Adam Kapteyn chipped in with five kills and two blocks.
The two teams clash once again on Saturday (3 p.m., pacwestbc.tv) to close out the weekend series.
Women’s Volleyball: Mariners deal Cascades their first loss
The Vancouver Island University Mariners lived up to their pedigree as two-time defending CCAA national champions, knocking off the UFV Cascades in three straight sets on Friday in Nanaimo.
The Mariners (3-0) prevailed by scores of 25-19, 25-21 and 25-21 to hand the Cascades (2-1) their first loss of the young PACWEST season. The two teams wrap up their weekend series at 1 p.m. Saturday (pacwestbc.tv).
“They make a lot less mistakes,” said Cascades head coach Janelle Rozema, reflecting on the difference between the Cascades and a championship-tested squad like the Mariners at this early stage. “They’re just a little more refined, and they really make us earn our points. We want to make them work hard for their points, and I think we kind of took a step back today.”
Indeed, the Cascades gave the Mariners 27 points combined on service and attacking errors, compared to just 19 such errors for VIU. Beyond that, UFV had a tough time containing VIU’s aggressive servers.
“Our serve-pass game really struggled,” Rozema said. “Credit to VIU – they served really tough, but we have to be better in our serve-receive.
“For tomorrow, we just have to pass better and serve tougher. We can’t serve easy, but we can’t give them as many points as we gave them. We’re going to focus on cleaning up our errors.”
Amanda Matsui’s nine kills were a team-high for the Cascades, while Chelsea Kidd (six kills) and Sedona Arabsky (five kills, three aces) also chipped in offensively. Matsui racked up 20 digs, and libero Stephanie Demeules (10) and Kidd (10) also finished in double digits.
Danielle Groenendijk (16 kills) and Jane Nyukhalova (14 kills) were highly efficient for the Mariners.
Men’s Soccer: Cascades’ second-half surge comes up short vs. Vikes
The Victoria Vikes fended off a furious second-half push from the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades, hanging on for a 1-0 victory in Canada West men’s soccer action.
Isaac Koch’s goal in the 35th minute stood up as the game-winner and goalkeeper Jas Lally made 12 saves for the clean sheet, allowing the Vikes (8-5-1) to punch their ticket to the playoffs and maintain their grip on second place in the Pacific Division, which comes with hosting duties in the first round of the post-season. Home field advantage will be on the line on Saturday night when UVic closes out the regular season against the third-place Trinity Western Spartans in Langley.
The Cascades (5-5-4), meanwhile, find themselves in a must-win situation in the wake of Friday’s result. Anything less than a victory on Sunday vs. first-place UBC (2 p.m., Thunderbird Stadium) means they’ll fall from their fourth-place perch and miss the playoffs.
“Really proud of my players,” Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes summarized. “I thought in the first half we were good, we just made a mistake and got punished for it. Then in the second half, we’ve absolutely bombarded them for 45 minutes plus six minutes of injury time, and had numerous chances and just couldn’t put one away.
“We showed a real team spirit and team fight amongst us. I just don’t think we could have given any more tonight, and sometimes that’s just how it goes.”
The Vikes grabbed the lead when Niko Cristante carried the ball through the midfield and sent it out to Ian Whibley on the left. He played it back across the box to Koch for the finish. Koch’s ninth goal of the campaign gives him a share of second place CW in that department.
In the 42nd minute, the Vikes pushed the ball to the doorstep of the goal line on a scramble in the box, but Cascades keeper Ethan Duggan somehow managed to secure the ball with his legs in a maze of bodies to keep his team within a goal.
The hosts dominated the second half, outshooting the Vikes by a 12-3 margin, but were unable to coax the ball across. Just beyond the 70-minute mark, Manpal Brar rose for a header in the box and was contacted from behind by Lally – the UFV striker was forced to exit the game due to injury, and the Cascades bench was left to wonder why a foul hadn’t been called.
In the 78th, Gurmaan Jhaj played a slick little pass to Parman Minhas sprinting into the box down the left – he had a clean look, but Lally dove to his right to somehow get a hand on Minhas’s rising blast.
The Cascades continued to press, and launching numerous balls into the penalty area and getting on the end of several of them. In injury time, Jhaj unleashed a volley deep in the box, but it was blocked by a UVic defender. Just before the final whistle, a pass from Jehmrode Kahlon sprung Jhaj into a pocket of space at the left of goal, but Lally came charging out to cut down the angle and smother his shot.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s must-win vs. U SPORTS No. 5-ranked UBC, Lowndes noted that should the Cascades earn a victory, “then we truly do deserve to get into the playoffs.
“You’re going to the No. 1 team in the conference, nationally ranked, and a team that’s notoriously good at home,” he observed. “We’ll come up with a game plan. We’ll be banged up, bandaged up, missing a few players to suspensions. But I’ve got confidence in my squad that we can go there and shock the world.”
FREE KICKS: The Cascades honoured fifth-year seniors Jhaj, Brady Weir, Tyler Henderson and Nawaf Binsaleh in a pregame Senior Night ceremony to commemorate their final home game.
Women’s Soccer: Zacharuk leads as Cascades rally from two-goal deficit, clinch playoff berth
In a performance worthy of the captain’s armband she wears, Brittney Zacharuk carried the University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team to a massive playoff-clinching comeback win, 4-2 over the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Friday evening.
But just one minute after Miller struck for the WolfPack’s second goal, Zacharuk smashed home a shot from 14 yards out to get her team on the board. She subsequently set up goals by Kate Fisher and Katie Lampen to give the hosts a stunning 3-2 lead heading into the break. To top it all off, she notched the insurance marker in the second half.
Zacharuk’s outburst gave her sole possession of the Cascades’ all-time points record – she’d come into the night tied with Monika Levarsky (2014-2016) on 36 career points, and ended it on 40.
“I think Brittney showed a couple things tonight,” UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. “She showed her competitiveness – being down 2-0, you heard her on the park asking more of her teammates, and when the ball came to her in the box, there was no doubt it was going into the back of the net. She scores the first for us and sets us our next two, and she shows her quality. And just her character – she shows up in big games.
“Our leader stepped forward and was the difference today. I’m really proud of her.”
A nightmarish start for the Cascades was the stuff dreams are made of for the WolfPack. In the fourth minute, some physical play deep in UFV territory allowed TRU to claim possession. The ball was sent into the box where it went off the hands of Cascades keeper Andrea Perkovic, and Curts was there to hammer the loose ball home.
The WolfPack went up 2-0 in the 25th, as Miller ran onto a picture-perfect through ball from Curts and poked it past an on-rushing Perkovic.
Zacharuk took over at that point. In the 26th, she intercepted TRU keeper Danielle Robertson’s clearing attempt, took a touch and blasted a shot under the bar. In the 29th, she set up Kate Fisher for the first goal of her Cascades career. And in the 44th, she played Katie Lampen through on the breakaway, and the rookie fired it past Robertson for her fifth of the campaign.
Zacharuk rounded out the scoring in the 78th, catching Robertson off her line and launching a shot from 40-plus yards out that settled into the goal just beyond the TRU keeper’s outstretched arms.
“Super-slow start, but once we got that first goal, we realized we could do this,” she said afterward. “We just reset our whole mindset and started playing the way we had all season. We knew we had to win tonight, and it was really awesome for the girls to buckle down and do that.
“I think having a lot of seniors (in the program) over the years and watching them have those moments, and even being in those shoes myself over the years has really just built me up for those kinds of moments. It feels really special to do that.”
The Cascades wrap up the Canada West regular season Saturday (7 p.m., MRC Sports Complex) as they host the UBC Okanagan Heat, and Zacharuk will be honoured in a pregame Senior Night ceremony.