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UFV Sports Saturday

Women’s Basketball: Cascades fall to Dinos to wrap up preseason

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team wrapped up its exhibition schedule with a 67-43 loss to the Calgary Dinos on Saturday afternoon at a preseason tournament hosted by the University of Victoria.

The Cascades struggled in the early going, falling behind by double digits in the first half. They played the Dinos even the rest of the way, but the deficit was too much to overcome.

“They came out with a lot of pressure, and we didn’t deal with it very well,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “Things spiralled a bit in the first half. The second half, we regrouped and had some moments where we were pretty good. But you just can’t put yourself in that kind of hole and expect to have a positive result.”

The Cascades basketball teams open the Canada West regular season at home next weekend against the Saskatchewan Huskies. Games run Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.) at the Envision Athletic Centre.

Kayli Sartori scored 13 points against the Dinos in limited minutes, while Shayna Litman (10 points), Taylor Claggett (eight points) and Jessica Zawada (seven points) also chipped in offensively.

Tuchscherer was pleased with his team’s effort in a 66-57 loss to the Regina Cougars on Friday, and noted that the next step for his youthful squad is putting forth that type of performance consistently.

“That’s just part of the evolution of a young team trying to figure things out – putting two quality games together in a row,” he said. “We had one quality game this weekend, and we couldn’t build on that. That being said, I thought at halftime we regrouped a little bit and our third quarter was pretty solid. We played them even in the second half.”

Women’s Volleyball: Cascades drop three-set decision to Mariners

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team fell to the Vancouver Island University Mariners for the second straight day in Nanaimo, dropping a three-set decision on Saturday afternoon.

Coming off a hard-fought five-set loss on Friday, the Cascades had their chances in Saturday’s rematch, particularly in the second set where they led by five points in the early going.

But the defending CCAA national champion Mariners showed their quality, rallying to win the second set 27-25 and thereby changing the complexion of the match (25-15, 27-25, 25-20).

The Cascades (1-4) are back in action at home next weekend, taking on the Camosun Chargers (Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre).

“Very similar to yesterday – we’re just very inconsistent right now as a team,” UFV head coach Mike Gilray analyzed. “We just don’t have enough people playing consistently at the same time.

“Today VIU played a better game, and when we were unable to side out, they kept the pressure on and didn’t let us off with a bad missed serve. They had a good match against us today.”

Bright spots for the Cascades included another strong game at the service line from Keira Fisher, and uplifting contributions off the bench from libero Amy Davidson and Chelsea Kidd, who had stints at left side and right side.

“What I’ve like through the weekend is our depth as a team. We’ve been able to bring people off the bench, and it’s different people every night (stepping up),” Gilray said. “We just need to get more of them doing it in the same time . . . Right now, VIU’s experience and quality is better, longer.”

Men’s Volleyball: Mariners complete weekend sweep of Cascades

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team dropped a three-set decision to the Vancouver Island University Mariners on Saturday afternoon to close out a two-game road trip to Nanaimo.

Coming off a four-set defeat on Friday, the Cascades were close in all three sets in Saturday’s rematch, but the Mariners were able to grind out a victory by scores of 25-21, 25-23 and 25-22.

The last set was particularly tough for the Cascades – they led 18-14, only to watch VIU reel off the next four points to level the score en route to victory.

The PACWEST-leading Mariners improved to 6-0, while the Cascades (3-2) concluded the weekend in fourth place.

“Battled well today, just lacked the ability to finish at key points of the match,” UFV head coach Kyle Donen analyzed. “It was a game where we had our chances and we were definitely capable of beating that team.

“I think we learned a lot from this trip and hopefully the next time we have a chance to take on a good team, we can finish the way I know we can.”

Sophomore left side Ben Friesen paced the Cascades offensively with 10 kills, while libero Isaiah Dahl racked up 16 digs.

The UFV volleyball teams return home to face the Camosun Chargers next weekend. Games run Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 1 p.m., men 3 p.m.) at the Envision Athletic Centre.

Women’s Soccer: Cascades’ comeback comes up short, Vikes prevail in playoff opener

For the second year in a row, the Victoria Vikes women’s soccer team opened the playoffs with an upset win on the road at the expense of the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades.

On a rainy evening at MRC Sports Complex, the Vikes opened the second half with three consecutive goals, courtesy Lindsay Machin, Rachel Baird and Mia Gunter, to take a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 lead.

The host Cascades, No. 8 in the U Sports national rankings, tested that conventional wisdom in the last 10 minutes as Amanda Carruthers scored twice to cut the deficit to one. But UFV was unable to find the equalizer, and the Vikes hung on for a 3-2 victory to punch their ticket to the Canada West Select Six next weekend at Trinity Western University.

Saturday’s Pacific Division play-in game marked the fourth time in five years that the Cascades and Vikes had clashed in the first round of the Canada West playoffs. Each of the last three match-ups have seen the visiting team prevail – the Cascades won 3-0 in Victoria in 2014 en route to a conference silver medal and a fourth-place finish at nationals, and the Vikes won on penalty kicks in 2015 in Abbotsford.

“We had some uncharacteristic things happen for us defensively,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said afterward. “We gave up a couple set-piece goals which we don’t do, and dug a hole that was quite deep. We tried to get out of it, but it proved too much at the end.”

The two teams were deadlocked after a scoreless first half which saw few clean scoring chances for either side.

The Vikes’ first two goals came in similar fashion – on corner kicks originating to the right of Cascades keeper Kayla Klim. Machin broke the ice in the 50th minute, heading the ball home at the far post off Sarah Douglas’s corner.

In the 62nd minute, Machin once again got on the end of a corner, this one launched by Emily Lieuwen. She nodded the ball forward to Baird, who headed it in to make it 2-0.

Gunter scored in the 74th, controlling a cross at the top of the box and unleashing a strike that took a deflection off a Cascades defender and rolled just inside the left post.

UFV staged a stirring comeback over the final 10 minutes. Carruthers got the hosts on the board in the 80th minute, heading home a Sunayna Samra corner at the far post. The fourth-year forward got another in the 86th, volleying a cross from Brittney Zacharuk.

But that was all the offence the Cascades could muster. It was clear for much of the night that they missed third-year forward Monika Levarsky, who suffered a season-ending knee injury (torn ACL) in last Friday’s 2-2 draw with the Calgary Dinos. Levarsky finished tied for second in Canada West with 10 goals and added six assists.

“She’s a great player, and a sign of a great player is, she makes others around her better,” Giesbrecht noted. “It took us a bit to figure out how we were going to mount attacks and how we were going to press our opponent (without her). Monika can terrorize a back four with her pressing and her work and her desire, and we lacked a bit of that tonight.”

That said, the Cascades showed significant moxie to mount a comeback in the dying minutes.

“We don’t quit,” Giesbrecht asserted. “Throughout the year we’ve lost a couple games, but we’ve fought to the end. We left it on the park tonight, so I’m proud of them. We didn’t play our best game, we didn’t play as sharp as we usually do, we didn’t have the execution that we usually have. But the effort was very good.”

Men’s Soccer: Dinos knock off Cascades in Canada West quarter-finals

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team saw its season come to an end at the hands of the Calgary Dinos, who prevailed 2-0 in the Canada West quarter-finals in Calgary on Saturday afternoon.

Bori Falaye scored both goals for the Dinos, opening the scoring in the 31st minute and adding the clincher in second-half injury time with the Cascades pressing forward in search of the equalizer.

The Cascades had their opportunities – Daniel Davidson, James Najman and Sahib Phagura had point-blank chances in the six-yard box in the first 20 minutes of play, but Dinos keeper Hunter Brett was up to the task each time. Najman sent another shot off the post in the 86th minute.

“We had three quality, unbelievable chances in the first 20 minutes, and we didn’t put one away,” UFV head coach Tom Lowndes said. “Today that’s what it’s come down to. That’s the difference. If we put one of those away, it’s a different game. Moments like that change games. Obviously the lads are gutted, but we never stopped fighting.”

The Cascades dominated the early portion of the game, but it was Falaye broke the ice, heading the ball home off a corner from Jorge Leon Gomez.

UFV keeper David Hicks turned in a tremendous performance to keep his team in it. In the 66th minute, he denied the Dinos’ Robin Whittaker on a penalty kick, and he had similarly spectacular stops on Jared Fillo (53rd minute) and Falaye (73rd) to keep the Cascades within a goal. Hicks would finish with 10 saves and was named UFV’s game MVP.

Falaye rounded out the scoring just before the final whistle, volleying home a cross from Bryce Connors to ensure his team’s presence at the Canada West Final Four.

“Proud of the effort,” Lowndes summarized. “We never stopped, never gave up. Sometimes that’s the way it goes. We were unlucky to lose the game, let alone lose it 2-0.

“It hurts right now,” he added, “but we’ve achieved a first by getting the most wins in a season in program history (eight). That’s another good achievement that we can push on from.

“I’m proud to coach this group, proud to call them my players. The fact that making the playoffs isn’t good enough anymore shows how far we’ve come in the last five years.”

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