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UFV Sports Sunday

Abbotsford/Calgary/Chilliwack -Golf: Cascades’ Dirksen, O’Dell win individual titles at UFV Invitational

The Cascades men's and women's golf teams both wrapped up PacWest team silver medals at the UFV Invitational this weekend. They host nationals next week, Oct. 13-16 at Chilliwack Golf Club.

Tremendous performances from Hannah Dirksen and Connor O’Dell highlighted the University of the Fraser Valley golf program’s collective showing at their home tournament, the UFV Invitational, held at Chilliwack Golf Club this weekend.

Dirksen, a second-year Cascade from Mission, B.C., came into the fourth and final PacWest conference tournament trailing Carolyn Lee of the UBC Okanagan Heat by five strokes for top spot in the women’s cumulative season standings. She erased that gap, carding rounds of 83 and 76 to win the tournament by three strokes over Lee’s UBCO teammate Lauren Siemers. Lee finished fourth on the weekend, nine strokes back of Dirksen, who claimed the PacWest overall title by a four-stroke margin.

Hannah Dirksen turned in an impressive performance at the UFV Invitational to earn the PacWest women's individual title.

Derksen’s triumph extends the streak of UFV women winning the PacWest individual title to three straight years. Dani Shap won it in 2013, and Jen Woods was the 2014 champ.

“It feels great to be the PacWest champion,” Derksen enthused afterward. “I didn’t really expect to come out here today and win, just to go out and play my best. Today was a really good day, and I just felt great. I can’t stop smiling.”

O’Dell was triumphant on the men’s side this weekend to give UFV a sweep of the individual titles at their home tourney. The fourth-year Cascade from Maple Ridge, B.C. shot an even-par 71 on Saturday and a two-under 69 on Sunday to win by three strokes over Steven Hayes of the Douglas Royals. UFV’s Cody Stewart and Brady Stead of the Camosun Chargers tied for fourth place, four back of O’Dell.

Connor O'Dell won the men's individual title at the UFV Inviational, and moved up to second place in the cumulative season standings.

O’Dell became the second Cascade to win a men’s tourney title this season – Zach Olson won the KPU Invitational two weeks ago – and his strong finish allowed him to claim second place in the overall individual standings. He accrued 576 strokes over the course of the season, four back of Stead. Hayes was third at 577, while Olson (592) was seventh overall and UFV’s Stewart and Connor McLellan were tied for 10th at 604.

“It was key knowing the golf course,” O’Dell analyzed. “I’ve probably played it 100 times in the past couple years. I know all the nuances of the course – I know where to hit it and not to hit it, and my golf game is getting better. The last couple weeks I’ve played well, and hopefully it leads into nationals.”

For the first time in three seasons, the Cascades did not earn a PacWest team banner. The UFV men were three-time defending conference champs and the women were coming off back-to-back titles, but they ceded their PacWest crowns to the Camosun Chargers and UBC Okanagan Heat, respectively.

Camosun won the overall men’s team title with 2,318 combined strokes over four tournaments, besting UFV (2,372) and UBCO (2,414).

The UBCO women (1,314) edged the Cascades (1,349) to earn the women’s team banner.

Both the Chargers men and the Heat women won the team events at the UFV Invitational, with the Cascades again finishing second in both divisions.

“It was windy out here this weekend, and for both Hannah and Connor to step up and deliver the individual performances that they did is really impressive,” Cascades head coach Chris Bertram summarized. “There was pressure on them coming in, with it being our home course and our home tournament. I think both of them knew that eyes were going to be on them, and they both stepped up and played some of the best golf I’ve seen out of them all year.

“I’m really proud of both of them, and hopefully it’s a performance we can build on with the national championships right around the corner.”

Indeed, the PING CCAA Golf National Championships are fast approaching – that event runs Oct. 13-16 at Chilliwack Golf Club. It will be UFV’s first time hosting the CCAA golf nationals.

The PacWest awards were handed out at the conclusion of play on Sunday. Men’s conference all-stars (the top five overall finishers) were Stead, O’Dell, Hayes, James Casorso of UBCO, and Grant Maskiewich of Camosun. Women’s all-stars (the top three finishers) were Dirksen, Lee and Siemers.

Stead and Dirksen were honoured as the PacWest male and female players of the year, respectively, while Gert Van Niekerk of the Douglas Royals was voted coach of the year.

Men’s Basketball: With stars resting, Cascades fall to Vikes in Vetrie Tournament finale

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team wrapped up the Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament at the University of Victoria with a 76-49 loss on Sunday afternoon to the host Victoria Vikes.

Cascades head coach Adam Friesen elected to rest veteran stars Kevon Parchment and Nate Brown in this game. Both had played heavy minutes in UFV’s first two games of the Vetrie exhibition tourney – a 91-82 loss to the Saskatchewan Huskies on Friday, and a 73-69 defeat to the Carleton Ravens on Saturday. Friesen wanted to minimize the injury risk coming off two very physical contests, and wanted to give the rest of his roster an extended audition against a traditional Canada West powerhouse in UVic.

The Cascades’ offence, minus two of their key catalysts, struggled to get on track against the Vikes. UFV shot just 30 per cent from the field, and their top scorers were redshirt freshman guard Antonio Jhuty (nine points) and post players Matt Cooley and Nav Bains (eight points apiece).

The Vikes were paced by Mack Roth with 17 points, nine of which came on three-point shots. Justin Kinnear, Hassan Abdullahi, Grant Sitton, Kai Greene and Hayden Lejeune had seven points apiece.

“I wanted to see what we had in the other guys against a solid team,” Friesen said. “We have to figure out, in an extended period of time, how can these guys perform.”

The Vikes led 13-9 after the first quarter and 30-18 at halftime, and they pulled away in the third quarter. UVic out-rebounded UFV 40-18.

Even so, Friesen was pleased with what he saw from his squad on the weekend, highlighted by nearly pulling off an upset vs. Carleton – winners of 11 of the past 13 CIS national championships – on Saturday.

“Overall, we got what we wanted out of the weekend,” Friesen said. “We found out we can complete with the best teams in the country, and at the same time, we figured out where we have to improve as a team and as individuals.”

The Cascades continue their exhibition schedule with a home-and-home set vs. Trinity Western this coming weekend. They visit the Spartans on Friday (7 p.m. tip-off), and return to their home court, the Envision Athletic Centre, for a rematch on Saturday (6 p.m.).

Women’s Soccer: Cascades rebound from first loss with dominating win over Cougars

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team bounced back in a big way after their first loss of the season, blitzing the Mount Royal Cougars 4-1 on Sunday afternoon in Calgary.

The CIS No. 5-ranked Cascades, coming off a 2-1 defeat to the MacEwan Griffins in Edmonton on Saturday, got goals from Gurneet Dhaliwal, Shelby Beck, Brittney Zacharuk and and Danica Kump. Navroop Virk accounted for the lone Mount Royal goal.

The Cascades improved to 6-1-1 on the season, good for second place in the West Division of Canada West, while the Cougars fell to 1-6-1.

“Overall I’m proud that our girls responded well from yesterday’s loss,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. “As well, I liked our strength of character shown by battling through the frustration of not finishing our chances (early in the game).”

Dhaliwal opened the scoring in the 19th minute off a feed from Monika Levarsky. It was the rookie midfielder’s team-leading fifth goal of the campaign, and the Surrey, B.C. product is currently tied for second in Canada West in that department.

But that was the only goal the Cascades could muster in the opening half, despite out-shooting the Cougars 10-1 and earning nine corners compared to none for the hosts.

Shelby Beck broke through in the 47th minute, heading the ball home off a cross from Dhaliwal. It was the first goal of the season for Beck, a fifth-year striker who was the Cascades’ co-leader in goals in 2014 but had been snakebit in the early portion of the 2015 campaign.

Beck’s goal opened the floodgates, as UFV added two more within seven minutes. Dhaliwal once again was the provider on the third goal, crossing the ball to fellow rookie Brittney Zacharuk for the finish. The Cascades’ prettiest goal of the day was their last – Beck dribbled past a couple of Cougars defenders before sending a cross to the back post, where Kump finished with a powerful header.

Mount Royal’s Virk broke up Kayla Klim’s shutout bid in the 64th minute but that was as close as the Cougars would come.

“Gurneet and Brittany were fantastic,” Giesbrecht enthused. “So exciting that two of our top performers today were first-years.

“I’m very pleased for Shelby as well. She has played well and done a lot of very good things for us. However, she is a goal-scorer and not being able to finish has weighed on her. It was great to see the bounce back in her step after her finish.”

Up next for the Cascades is a home-and-home series against their local rivals from Langley, the CIS No. 9-ranked Trinity Western Spartans. The two teams clash at Abbotsford Senior Secondary on Friday, Oct. 9 at 5 p.m., and the second leg goes Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 5 p.m. at Trinity Western.

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