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UFV Sports Saturday – Pre-season Women’s Hoops, Soccer, Volleyball

Women’s Basketball: Pandas edge Cascades in preseason action

The Alberta Pandas edged the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team 69-61 in exhibition action on Friday evening in Calgary.

The game was part of a preseason tournament hosted by the Calgary Dinos, and while the result didn’t go the Cascades’ way, it did demonstrate that the team is making progress as it gears up for its Canada West regular-season openers next week. Back on Oct. 7, the Pandas had defeated the Cascades by a 69-49 score.

“We did some things a lot better tonight,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer noted. “It was far from perfect, but there were definitely some good signs there for us.

“We threw a lot of different things at our team this week and even at today’s shoot, and I thought they executed the game plan well. We were able to execute a lot of our offensive stuff, and I thought we had a good compete level.”

The Pandas built an eight-point lead at halftime (37-29), and stretched it to double digits in the third quarter. The Cascades hung tough and were able to close the gap, but Alberta was able to fend them off down the stretch.

Shayna Litman had a terrific outing for the Cascades – the fifth-year forward racked up a game-high 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field. Taylor Claggett (12 points, five rebounds) and Sara Simovic (12 points, 4-of-8 from three-point range, four assists) also chipped in offensively, and rookie forward Katelyn Mallette notched six points and a team-high six rebounds off the bench.

The Pandas had four players in double figures: Emma Kary (13 points), Jenna Harpe (12 points), Elle Hendershot (11 points, 10 boards) and Megan Tywoniuk (11 points).

Tuchscherer termed Litman’s performance “fantastic.”

“Her full game was on display – it was fun to watch,” he said, noting that Litman scored on a variety of midrange jumpers, post moves, and drives to the basket.

The Cascades wrap up the Calgary event against the host Dinos, with tip-off set for noon Mountain time on Sunday.

The UFV basketball teams open the Canada West regular season Oct. 27-28 at UBC, and host their home openers Nov. 3-4 vs. the Mount Royal Cougars.

Women’s Soccer: Vikes pull away from Cascades in second half

(With files from Cameron Doherty, Victoria Vikes) – The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team had a forgettable night on the road on Saturday, dropping a 7-0 decision to the Victoria Vikes.

The Vikes (9-1-4) came in on a mission – a win would assure them the No. 2 seed in the Pacific Division, with attendant benefits including a first-round playoff bye and home-field advantage for the Canada West quarter-finals. Anything less than a win, and their fate was out of their hands.

The Cascades (4-6-4), meanwhile, were already locked into fifth place in the Pacific Division, and with nothing on the line, veteran standouts Brittney Zacharuk and Amanda Carruthers were rested on Saturday.

The Vikes raced out to a 2-0 lead over the first 10 minutes of play on goals by Emily Lieuwen and Rachel Baird, and Kiara KilbeyStephanie Badilla Gutierrez, Natalie Cavallin and Victoria Wulff (2) rounded out the scoring in the second half. UVic keeper Puck Louwes recorded her conference-best ninth shutout.

While the end result didn’t impact their seeding, the performance wasn’t what Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht was looking for.

“It’s been a season with lots of ups and downs,” he said. “These lessons we’re learning, I’m hoping they’ll pay off down the road.

“I’m optimistic that when we’re firing and we’ve got all the horses going, we’re a tough team to play against.”

The Vikes opened the scoring in the seventh minute when Badilla Gutierrez whipped in a cross and Lieuwen rose higher than any defender to get her head on the ball and power it past UFV keeper Emily Harold.

Three minutes later, Baird was on the receiving end of some beautiful passing by the Vikes attackers. While her first shot was blocked by Taylor Nekic, Baird stuck with the play and deposited the ball into the net.

The Cascades had their best run of play throughout the rest of the first half as they fought hard to keep the Vikes off the scoreboard while mustering a few chances themselves, thanks mostly to the creativity in attack shown by first-year midfielder Harneet Dadrao.

Any chance of a UFV comeback was thoroughly snuffed out in a ten-minute span in the second half, which saw the Vikes score four goals.

The Cascades open the playoffs this coming Thursday, taking on the fourth-place team from the Prairie Division (to be determined) at Trinity Western University in Langley. The winner advances to play the host Spartans in a quarter-final contest on Saturday.

Men’s Soccer: Cascades fall to T-Birds in season finale

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team wrapped up its 2017 season with a 3-1 loss to the UBC Thunderbirds at MRC Sports Complex on Saturday evening.

The visiting T-Birds got goals from Mihai Hodut, Brian Im and Sam Fletcher, while the Cascades’ marker came off the boot of Gurmaan Jhaj on a second-half penalty kick.

It was the regular-season finale for both teams – UBC (10-4-1) advances to the playoffs as the No. 1 seed out of Canada West’s Pacific Division, while the Cascades (4-9-3, seventh in the Pacific) finish outside the post-season picture for the first time since 2012.

While the result didn’t go UFV’s way on Saturday, the performance – particularly in the second half – was pleasing to head coach Tom Lowndes. The Cascades dominated possession after the break, but the T-Birds were able to put the game away with a pair of goals against the run of play.

“We did a fantastic job of limiting their chances, and I don’t think we deserved to concede three goals, really,” Lowndes said. “But they’re a clinical team, and good teams take their chances. That’s been something we’ve been lacking this season.

“I’m really proud of the effort from the boys. If that’s the starting point, with 95 per cent of the squad returning next year, I’m really excited for the future of this team.”

The T-Birds opened the scoring in the 22nd minute – Patrick Metcalfe sent a long ball across to Hodut on the left wing, and he cut to the middle before unleashing a perfectly placed low shot that went in off the far post, just out of the reach of Cascades keeper Alex Skrzeta.

The hosts were an inspired group out of halftime – Atle Koellmel had a good look from the right wing in the 60th minute, but sent his shot over the bar.

Just two minutes later, UBC struck on the counterattack. Kristian Yli-Hietane fed the ball over to Im, and he lunged to fire a shot into the top corner.

The Cascades continued to press, and were rewarded with a penalty kick after a T-Birds defender handled the ball in the box. Jhaj stepped to the spot and blasted a rising shot inside the post to the right of UBC keeper Mitchell Whittla.

Fletcher rounded out the scoring in the 83rd, firing a low free kick that found its way inside the far post.

“I’m really pleased with the overall performance, considering we had six players in their first year of eligibility on at the start of the game,” Lowndes said. “We’re by far the youngest team in Canada West, and I’d probably go as far as to say the youngest in the whole of U SPORTS.

“Our record doesn’t necessarily reflect how we played in some games,” Lowndes added, reflecting on the season as a whole. “If we put a few chances away, we have a few more wins and a few more points, and maybe we’re where we want to be. I think that’s maybe our only grievance when we look at the league table and we’re on the outside looking in for the playoffs.

“But the boys have worked hard all year – I’ve seen them take steps and build. There’s a fantastic team atmosphere, a family atmosphere among them. With a very large percentage of them coming back, I’m really excited about where we can go in the spring and where we can progress in the next couple years.”

Women’s Volleyball: Blues bounce back for five-set win over Cascades

(Raelyn O’Hara, Cascades student communications assistant) – The Capilano Blues came roaring back from a two-set deficit on Saturday evening to hand the University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team its first loss of the season.

At the Envision Financial Athletic Centre, the host Cascades took the first two sets by scores of 25-21 and 25-20, but struggled with their passing and serving in the third as the Blues got on the board with a 25-17 win. Capilano rode that momentum to a 25-16 triumph in the fourth, and completed the comeback by a 15-9 count in the fifth.

The Cascades (3-1) added the first loss to their ledger, while the Blues evened their record at 2-2.

“We struggled with our serves and our passes, and it affected us,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray said. “Serves are something we spend considerable time on, and it has been a strength for us this season, but we had extra offensive pressure pushed on us, so we let our guard down.

“I thought they had unbelievable energy, but we had some mental lapses. The girls got tight and played safe and unfortunately it caused us to lose our momentum.”

Left side Kim Bauder and middle Teagan Johnstone sparked the Cascades offensively in the first set, and they pulled away late to win it. The Blues struggled at the service line early in the second, spotting the Cascades a 7-2 lead, and UFV’s Amanda Matsui built on that momentum as the hosts went up two sets to none.

Capilano jumped out to a seven-point lead in the third set, prompting substitutions from the Cascades, but they were unable to slow the Blues as they took the third and fourth to square the match. In the fifth, UFV had some bright moments offensively as libero Karissa Marazzi’s digs allowed setter Olivia Heinen to set up several successful kills, but ultimately the Blues were a little sharper and earned the weekend split. UFV was coming off a four-set win over Capilano on Friday.

Stat highlights for the Cascades included four aces from Matsui, 21 digs from Marazzi, and nine kills from Bauder.

The Cascades volleyball teams are back at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre next weekend to host the Camosun Chargers. Games run Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 1 p.m., men 3 p.m.).

Men’s Volleyball: Blues defeat Cascades to cap weekend sweep

(Raelyn O’Hara, Cascades student communications assistant) – The PACWEST-leading Capilano Blues completed a weekend sweep at the expense of the University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team, prevailing in three sets on Saturday at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.

The Blues (4-0) are the lone undefeated team remaining in the conference, and after knocking off the Cascades in the series opener on Friday, they won Saturday’s rematch by scores of 25-18, 25-14 and 25-18. UFV fell to 1-3.

“We had inconsistencies, and that’s been our problem in the last few games,” said Cascades head coach Kyle Donen. “We couldn’t find a way to earn points.

“I think they (the Blues) played well, but there were some things that could have been better.”

Capilano raced out to an early eight-point lead, and rode that momentum to a first-set victory, highlighted by an incredible save by Justin Mo. The Blues’ first-year libero jumped over the chairs on his team’s bench to send the ball back into play, and Cap went on to win the point.

In the second set, the Cascades hung tough thanks to some strong attacks and well-formed blocks, but the Blues went on an 8-2 run midway through the set to expand a 10-8 lead to 18-10, and they cruised from there.

The third set featured a number of long rallies, but the Blues took advantage of Cascade errors to pull away.

Ben Friesen (six kills) and Lucas Mantel (four kills) led the UFV squad offensively.

The Cascades volleyball teams are back at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre next weekend to host the Camosun Chargers. Games run Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 1 p.m., men 3 p.m.).




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