Fraser Valley/Edmonton (Dan Kinvig) – Women’s Soccer: Griffins deny Cascades in CW quarter-finals
The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team saw its season come to an end at the hands of the MacEwan Griffins on Saturday afternoon, as they dropped a closely contested 2-0 decision in the Canada West quarter-finals in Edmonton.
The Cascades went toe-to-toe with the nation’s No. 5-ranked team, but it was the Griffins who were able to break through and earn a spot in the Canada West semifinals on goals from Abbey Wright and Raeghan McCarthy.
“We started on a positive note – we were moving the ball, feeling quite confident, and finding ways to get in behind them,” Cascades head coach Niko Marcina said afterward. “Then for some reason, we kind of sat back. We were focused on defending well as a group . . . but they were able to find their rhythm.
“On the flip side, we battled – we battled right to the very end. We have some opportunities that could have ended in quality chances on goal, but they were able to break them up.
“I’m very happy and proud to be part of this group, which has never given up since the day we started together. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
The Cascades carried the play for the first 20 minutes of the first half, making several threatening forays into the attacking third, but they were unable to connect on a truly dangerous chance. On one occasion, Harneet Dadrao ventured in and slid a pass into the path of an on-rushing Jessica Fennell, but Fennell’s attempt from distance was handled easily by Griffins keeper Breanna Truscott.
The Griffins found their footing as the half wore on and generated a great look of their own as McCarthy played Salma Kamal in alone down the right, but Cascades keeper Joven Sandhu leaped to her right to make a highlight-reel save.
MacEwan broke the ice in the 37th minute, as Wright jammed the ball home from close range off Emma Van Dolder’s corner.
McCarthy made it 2-0 in the 67th, with Van Dolder picking up her second assist of the afternoon.
The Cascades finished with a 10-7 edge in shot attempts, but just three of those were on goal, and none made it past Truscott.
Sophomore right back Alanna Sydenham picked up game MVP honours for the Cascades, and Marcina praised the persistence of her performance.
The result marks the conclusion of several Cascades’ university soccer careers. Simi Lehal and Kelsey Mitchell have used up all five years of eligibility, while Dadrao, Sandhu, Taylor Nekic, Brittany Costa and Sarah Parker have eligibility remaining but are on pace to graduate in the spring.
“The seven that are graduating have brought a level of maturity and experience that we needed,” Marcina said. “As a result, our first-, second- and third-years fed off their positive energy. We wanted our leaders to lead by example on and off the field, and they’ve done that. They’ve passed the torch in a positive way.
“There’s been a different mentality and vibe in our environment this year. We have a lot of self-belief, and a lot of love for each other. We know how hard we have to compete to succeed in this conference, we just have to refine our abilities in possession. That will come with time.”
Women’s Basketball: Breakout game for Julia Tuchscherer fuels Cascades’ win over T-Wolves
Julia Tuchscherer is just 17 years old, but she played with the poise of a veteran – and stuffed the stat sheet like one – in the UFV Cascades’ 73-48 win over the UNBC Timberwolves on Saturday.
The Cascades’ rookie centre was dominant at both ends of the floor at the UFV Athletic Centre, racking up game-high totals of 25 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks, and adding three assists as the hosts improved to 2-0.
Alina Shakirova (22 points) led the way for the Timberwolves, who fell to 1-1 in early-season Canada West action.
“I know that Julia can play at this level,” said Al Tuchscherer, who should know – he’s the Cascades’ head coach, and Julia’s dad.
“She’s got good hands and a good sense of the game, and tonight that showed. We think she can be a double-double person quite frequently.”
Aside from Julia Tuchscherer’s strong play in the paint, a distinctive for the Cascades in the first half on Saturday was their shooting struggles from beyond the arc. They went 0-for-14 in the first half, yet were able to build a 36-21 lead at the break by shooting 60 per cent inside the arc and winning the battle of the boards by a 29-21 margin.
The Cascades maintained the double-digit lead throughout the third quarter, and were able to expand it beyond the 20-point mark in the fourth as they warmed up from distance. Five straight points from Nikki Cabuco – including an elusive trey – pushed the lead to 68-47, and the hosts cruised from there.
Julia Tuchscherer arrived at UFV one year ahead of schedule – originally, she’d been on pace to be part of the high school graduating class of 2022. Yet with her sporting pursuits grinding to a halt amidst COVID-19 shutdowns, the youngest Tuchscherer sister was able to work ahead academically and graduate from Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Secondary in the spring of 2021.
“I’m sure there were people wondering if that was the right decision for her, or if she should have stayed in high school for another year,” Al Tuchscherer said. “But every family makes those decisions on their own, and we know Julia as good as anybody. She was comfortable with the decision and we supported it 100 per cent. I feel like it was the right decision.”
After Saturday, it’s hard to argue.
The Cascades also got double-figure scoring performances from Cabuco (16 points, six assists) and Maddy Gobeil (12 points), while Victoria Jacobse hauled in 10 rebounds.
Shakirova was the T-Wolves’ lone double-digit scorer; Svetlana Boykova contributed 11 rebounds and Sarah Kuklisin scored nine.
The Cascades basketball teams are back in action next weekend on the road, facing the UBC Thunderbirds in a Friday-Saturday set at War Memorial Gym.
Men’s Basketball: Kinley, Cascades weather T-Wolves’ rally, win 95-93 in OT
In a game of wild momentum swings, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team survived in overtime to edge the UNBC Timberwolves 95-93 on Saturday evening in Abbotsford.
The Cascades dominated the early portion of the game, racing out to a 43-17 lead midway through the second quarter. The Timberwolves battled all the way back, though, seizing a five-point lead in the final minute of regulation.
UFV dug deep and managed to force overtime in thrilling fashion as Dylan Kinley hit a three-pointer with one second left on the clock. And when the dust had settled in OT, the Cascades had a 95-93 victory.
The Cascades, coming off an 85-63 win over UBC Okanagan in Friday’s regular-season opener, improved to 2-0 while dropping the T-Wolves to 1-1.
“You saw our potential, but I also think you saw our immaturity,” Cascades head coach Joe Enevoldson said afterward. “I think you saw a team that, if we put it together for 40 minutes, could be very, very good. But I think you also saw our basement. We didn’t really talk (as UNBC mounted its comeback in the third and fourth quarters), we didn’t really run offence. We really stopped going away from what was working for us early.
“Credit to UNBC – they’ve got a bunch of fifth-year guys who know where they get their shots from. They really exploited us for essentially the last 25 minutes of the game. We were fortunate and lucky to pull one out.”
The Cascades were absolutely rolling throughout the first quarter and the first five minutes of the second – the offence was humming and the defence was solid, leading to fast-break opportunities. Fourth-year point guard Vick Toor, in one sequence, blocked an attempted jumper from UNBC’s Tyrell Laing, then grabbed the ball and sprinted the other direction to hit a floater in the paint, plus the foul. After his free throw, UFV was up 43-17.
The balance of the frame belonged to the T-Wolves, though, and they began methodically digging their way back into it. The visitors tore off a 17-4 run to end the half, closing the gap to 47-34, and in the third quarter, they battled back to within four points.
In the fourth, UNBC surged ahead – big man Rohtash Mattu was giving the Cascades fits, draining a series of three-pointers, and a Laing layup gave UNBC the lead three minutes into the frame.
The T-Wolves were able to gain some separation down the stretch as Laing swished a big three-pointer and Vova Pluzhnikov hit a leaner in the key. UNBC was up 84-79 with less than 30 seconds remaining.
The Cascades got a quick Kyle Claggett layup off a baseline inbounds play to cut it to 84-81. Then, after forcing a Laing turnover with 11 seconds left, Kinley took a handoff from Claggett and drained a triple from the top of the arc, sending the game to OT and the home fans into hysterics.
UFV appeared in control after a Zubair Seyed runner and a Claggett tip-in to go up 92-89 with 1:20 left, but UNBC answered with buckets from Laing and Chris Ross to reclaim the lead at 93-92.
Kinley scored what turned out to be the winning points after driving to the hoop from the right wing – UNBC’s Fareed Shittu blocked his layup attempt, but not before it had touched the glass first, and he was whistled for goaltending.
The T-Wolves had last possession, and after Pluzhnikov’s corner three came up well short, Shittu grabbed the offensive board but was tied up for a jump ball with 0.4 seconds left. After some post-whistle physicality resulted in technical fouls, Seyed provided the final margin by hitting one of two free throws.
Individual statistics were not available immediately post-game (check GoCascades.ca for updates).
Kinley’s clutch buzzer-beater was reminiscent of his teammate Jordyn Sekhon’s triple to send a playoff game vs. the Winnipeg Wesmen to OT on Feb. 14, 2020 – the last time there’d been meaningful Canada West basketball at the UFV Athletic Centre prior to this weekend.
“You’ve got to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good, and Dylan is both of those sometimes,” Enevoldson said with a chuckle. “Dylan can shoot the ball a little bit. He got some space, and he’s a very confident young man. I think that showed in the key, pivotal moment.
“Obviously when you hit a last-second shot to send it to overtime, you hope that emotion can carry over, and I think it did early. But then UNBC showed their fifth-year resolve again. They really showed why Tyrell Laing is the league’s leading scorer, and why Vova is a great primary or secondary option. And credit to Rohtash (Mattu) – he hit big shot after big shot on pick-and-pops. We have to be better on those.”
The Cascades basketball teams are off to Vancouver next week for a Friday-Saturday set with the UBC Thunderbirds.