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UFV Saturday Sports Wrap

Abbotsford, BC -Women’s Basketball: Cascades bounce back to beat Dinos in exhibition action
The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team bounced back from a Friday defeat to earn a split of their weekend exhibition series with the Calgary Dinos.

Playing at UFV’s Envision Athletic Centre on Saturday evening, the Cascades got 15 points from Katie Brink and 14 from Kayli Sartori in a 64-59 victory.

The Dinos, coming off a 69-57 win in the opener, saw Claire Colborne tie Brink for game-high scoring honours with 15 points. Kelsey Lund (nine points) and Ashley Hirons (eight) also chipped in offensively for the visitors.

“I think tonight we were solid,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer analyzed. “We wanted to look at a few different things defensively, and I thought that brought some focus at the defensive end of the floor. We kept them to the perimeter a bit better tonight.

“And then offensively, I thought our tempo was more deliberate tonight, whereas last night we were a little bit frantic. Those were a couple of big adjustments that allowed us to have success.”

Tuchscherer was pleased with the play of point guard Kate Head, a rookie out of Maple Ridge Secondary, and shooting guard Sydney Williams, a transfer from Thompson Rivers University. Both players were inserted into the starting lineup after coming off the bench on Friday, and Tuchscherer said the duo played “fantastic.”

Williams counted a pair of three-pointers among her eight points, and Head’s four points were highlighted by a huge fourth-quarter trey to help the Cascades maintain the lead.

“The most encouraging thing for us was that we did make some adjustments, and we were quite a bit better tonight,” Tuchscherer said. “And our effort was good both nights, so we don’t need to teach that. When that’s there, you can make inroads quite quickly.”

The Cascades now take a break from game action for a couple weeks before participating in the Regina Cougars’ preseason tournament, Oct. 8-10.

Men’sSoccer : Cascades get early offence in win over Vikes

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team handed the Victoria Vikes their first loss of the season on Saturday, and picked up their first home win in the process.

The Cascades surged ahead with a pair of goals early in the first half at Abbotsford Senior Secondary, courtesy Colton O’Neill and Michael Mobilio. From there, they leaned on some stellar goalkeeping and strong defence to see them through.

UFV improved to 2-2-0 on the season, tied for third in the Pacific Division of Canada West. Despite the loss, the CIS No. 8-ranked Vikes remain first in the Pacific at 3-1-1.

“It’s huge – a massive result,” enthused Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes, whose team was coming off a tough 3-2 loss to UBC on Friday. “UBC and UVic is a tough weekend, and if you’d offered us three points at the start of the weekend, we’d probably snatched it and snatched your hand off.

“But it’s a building step, and it’s another step in the right direction for us.”

O’Neill, the Cascades’ captain, opened the scoring in the 11th minute on a penalty kick. UVic defender Keevan Webb was deemed to have contacted the ball with his hand in the box and O’Neill took advantage, driving a hard shot down the centre of the goal to give UFV the lead.

The Cascades scored again in the 22nd minute, as Mason Thompson delivered a perfect through ball to Mobilio who made no mistake. Vikes keeper Noah Pawlowski watched the ball settle into the bottom right corner of the net, extending UFV’s lead to 2-0.

UVic would get one back in the 25th. The Vikes pounced on a broken UFV play and immediately turned the ball towards goal. Dominic Colantonio charged forward and found Cam Hundal to his right who struck the ball in off the left post behind UFV goalkeeper Alex Skrzeta for his second goal of the season.

Skrzeta preserved the Cascades lead in the 39th minute. Vikes midfielder Sam Prette broke in alone and fired the ball low and hard to the corner of the net, but the UFV keeper dove to his left and parried the ball wide of the post.

The Cascades’ keeper was again called into action in the 51st minute. Hundal, looking for his second tally of the game, broke down the right wing and drove the ball on goal. Skrzeta ranged to his left and smothered the ball to negate the scoring chance.

Midfielder Connor MacMillan had a chance to extend the Cascades’ lead in minute 73 after Connor O’Neill touched the ball into his path. MacMillan took a touch forward into the box but UVic keeper Pawlowski quickly closed on the attacker and made a sliding save.

UVic had another chance at goal in the 77th minute. After some impressive ball movement in the offensive third, forward Craig Gorman punched a rising strike from 20 yards out. Skrzeta lunged quickly to his right and smothered the ball, securing the Cascades’ victory.

“It’s definitely a turning point in the season,” Mobilio asserted. “Last night (vs. UBC) we came out and we definitely deserved at least a point, or a win. We couldn’t get it, but tonight we proved ourselves.”

“We worked really, really hard tonight,” Lowndes analyzed. “Being 2-0 up in 20 minutes, it’s not a situation we find ourselves in too often, and we let them back in on a sloppy goal.

“But I challenged them at halftime – could we come out with the same intensity and desire that we came out with in the second yesterday against UBC? We knew it was going to be tough and we were going to have to defend for periods, because UVic was going to come at us. But I couldn’t be more proud of our effort or the way we defended in the second half to get the win.”

UFV now heads to Prince George for a pair of games versus the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves, Sept. 26 and 27.

The Vikes return home to take on the UBC Okanagan Heat on Saturday before welcoming the Thompson Rivers WolfPack the following night.

Womens Soccer

A game-breaking performance in the second half from Gurneet Dhaliwal powered the University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team to a 3-1 win over the UBC Okanagan Heat on Saturday evening.

Playing under a steady drizzle at Abbotsford Senior Secondary, rookie forward/midfielder Dhaliwal scored two goals in three minutes to snap a 1-1 tie and lift the unbeaten, CIS No. 7-ranked Cascades to their third straight win.

UFV improved to 3-0-1 in Canada West play this season, while UBCO fell to 1-2-3.

“Gurns, she’s a game-changer with how she can finish,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said afterward. “She has those little touches, those little moments of brilliance where she can decide games. We saw that today – just the nose for goal she has. She hunts for opportunities to get goal-scoring chances, and takes advantage of those.”

Danica Kump gave UFV a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute on Saturday. Shelby Beck made a lung-busting run down the left flank, beating a couple UBCO defenders before cutting the ball back to the penalty spot. Jade Palm was first to the ball but her effort on goal was stopped by UBCO keeper Joella Koblischke. Kump found the ricochet and slotted the ball into the middle of the net.

UBCO would come close to equalizing just minutes later, when midfielder Madelyn Ellis launched a shot off the crossbar from 25 yards. UFV keeper Kayla Klim reacted quickly to bring the ball down before UBCO attackers could get to it.

The Heat’s equalizer would come just before halftime. First-year forward Ally Ferronato received the ball from Mairi Horth on the left side before launching the ball on goal and into the top corner on the far side.

UFV retook the lead in the 66th minute courtesy of Dhaliwal. Kump played the ball from the right side through to Dhaliwal, who calmly chipped it over a charging Koblischke.

Dhaliwal’s second of the game came in quick succession. She again found herself in on goal in the 69th after a through pass from Brittney Zacharuk. Dhaliwal took a quick touch to settle the ball before slotting it into the left corner.

“The first half, I felt like I had a couple chances as well, I just couldn’t bury them,” Dhaliwal said. “But chances keep coming, and you’ve got to bury the ones you get.”

Dhaliwal has emerged as an influential offensive presence on a veteran-laden team, but the rookie said it’s not as easy as she’s made it look.

“It’s really tough, because I don’t have the confidence that the fifth-years and fourth-years would,” she said. “I’m usually extremely nervous at the beginning, and before games. As soon as the whistle blows, after my first mistake, I kind of get into it and I try to keep battling.”

Giesbrecht was pleased his team took care of business on their home turf this weekend, authoring wins over Thompson Rivers (1-0 on Friday) and UBCO.

“You have to get your points at home, and you have to get your points against teams that are on our side of the conference, and we did that,” he said. “We only see these teams once this year, so to drop points to them is huge in the table.

“Both TRU and UBCO are much-improved teams, and they gave us a lot to deal with. I thought at the end of the day, we got the job done. Not always pretty, but we were effective, and we got the six points so we’re happy.”

This coming week, the Cascades head to Edmonton to take on the University of Alberta Pandas on Friday, Sept. 25. Two days later, they visit Prince George to play the UNBC Timberwolves.

The Heat are at home next week to face the UBC Thunderbirds on Saturday and the UVic Vikes on Sunday.

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