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UFV Sports Friday – Start of Volleyball Season, Tough Night for Hoops

Fraser Valley (Dan Kinvig) – Women’s Volleyball: Heat top Cascades on opening night

The UBC Okanagan Heat welcomed the University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team to Canada West on Friday evening, topping the Cascades in three sets in Kelowna.

In the Cascades’ Canada West debut, it was the Heat prevailing by scores of 25-20, 25-21, 25-20.

The UFV squad (0-1) gets another crack at its initial CW victory as they wrap up the weekend set with the Heat (1-0) on Saturday afternoon (3 p.m., CanadaWest.tv presented by Co-op).

“I think we just had a hard time finding ourselves tonight,” Cascades head coach Janelle Rozema analyzed afterward. “UBCO played a really strong match and definitely made us feel uncomfortable. We talked a lot (post-game) about how we have to perform when a team is making you uncomfortable, because that’s how the game is played at this level.”

The Cascades had a nice start to the match, scoring the first two points – their first point in CW play came off the right hand of Amanda Matsui, who hammered the ball off the UBCO block and out of bounds. The Heat, though, would rally in short order to grab the lead, and they kept the Cascades at bay for the balance of the set.

UFV opened the second set with some tough serving and opened a 5-1 advantage, but dealt with some adversity as standout left side Matsui exited due to injury. The Heat, meanwhile, were clicking on offence and were able to find some traction and pull away late.

“We lose not just a point scorer, but also a leader,” Rozema said, reflecting on Matsui’s exit. “Because we are a young team, when you lose a player who’s a little older and the young players are looking for solutions, it takes one of your experienced players out of the mix.”

The Cascades had some positive momentum in the third and were up 13-10 after a Grace Warkentin ace, but the Heat took control and closed out the match.

UBC Okanagan was the more efficient squad offensively, hitting .286 as a team to the Cascades’ -.014. Kristen McBride and Sadie Wilson led the UFV squad with four kills apiece, with McBride’s coming on just seven swings with two errors for a .286 hitting percentage. Setter Cailin Bitter paced the Cascades with eight digs and five block assists.

The Heat had three players with double-figure kills: Sydney Grills (13), Jade Bussard (11) and Amaya Perry (10).

“I hope we just feel a little bit more like ourselves on Saturday,” Rozema said. “We’re more familiar with the space and the team we’re playing against, and hopefully it will bring us more comfort. Tomorrow, we have to execute the game plan.”

Men’s Volleyball: Cascades fall in five to Heat on opening night

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team came within a whisker of its first Canada West win – on opening night, no less – but the UBC Okanagan Heat fended them off a five-set thriller on Friday evening in Kelowna.

After the host Heat won the first two sets in decisive fashion, the Cascades found their footing and claimed the third and fourth. The fifth, though, was all UBCO, as they closed out the victory (25-18, 25-12, 20-25, 23-25, 15-4).

The Cascades (0-1 in conference play) look to take another step forward on Saturday (5 p.m., CanadaWest.tv presented by Co-op) as they conclude their weekend set with the Heat (1-0).

“We’re still working, still trying to come together as a team, and we grow with these types of opportunities,” UFV head coach Nathan Bennett said afterward. “Grinding out a fifth set is a really great way to come together as a team. The closer we get, and the more understanding we have of the speed and the tempo and the size that Canada West brings – no matter what team you play against – that will help us in the long run.

“Overall, at the beginning, maybe the moment got to be too much and we panicked a little bit in the first set. But I thought we settled in in the second. The third and fourth sets were really good – we fought well and played well together, and showed a lot of character to come back.

“We’re struggling in fifth sets getting out of the gate – this happened when we were here in the preseason, almost a carbon-copy match against these guys. But I think we can play with them.

“It’s helpful for us to be in these battles, to know that we can play in this league.”

The Heat cruised in the first two sets, but the Cascades’ offence perked up in the third and fourth, with sophomore left side Nimo Benne leading the way. He racked up 10 of his game-high 18 kills during the third and fourth, as the UFV squad impressively battled its way back into it. Caleb Kastelein also contributed tough serving and timely kills to the UFV comeback effort.

The fifth set, though, was all UBCO. They opened an 8-1 margin with Maxwell Heppell serving for five straight points, and the deficit was too much for the Cascades to overcome.

Middle Noah Bouius had a strong game for the Cascades, registering eight kills in efficient fashion (.333 hitting percentage). Right side Ryan Adams (eight kills) and left side Kastelein (seven kills) also chipped in offensively, and libero Reece Wilson posted a team-best 10 digs.

Heppell paced the Heat with 13 kills and two aces, and Cameron Vanderveen and Teo Ardanaz had 10 kills apiece.

“Reset and go again,” Bennett said, looking ahead to Saturday’s rematch. “We made them a little nervous, gutting out a fifth set, but they’re more experienced. They’ve been in these positions before, and being in the fifth is a little easier for those guys. For us, if we’re in a fifth tomorrow, we’ll hopefully have a better outcome.”

Women’s Basketball: T-Birds edge Cascades 60-59

A fast start gave way to a tough finish for the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team, as they suffered their first loss of the campaign by a 60-59 count to the UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver on Friday evening.

The Cascades were white-hot in the early going, opening a 14-0 lead just four minutes into the first quarter. But the fouls began to pile up at that point – most notably on UFV rookie standout Julia Tuchscherer – and points were tougher to come by.

That paved the way for the hosts to stage a comeback, and they managed to eke out the win as Deanna Tuchscherer’s jumper from the elbow rimmed out at the final buzzer.

The Cascades (2-1) and Thunderbirds (1-2) renew hostilities on Saturday (5 p.m., CanadaWest.tv presented by Co-op).

Sophomore point guard Maddy Gobeil was dominant in the first quarter for the Cascades – she drained a trio of treys in the opening minutes, and Deanna Tuchscherer capped the 14-0 game-opening run with a fast-break layup off a Gobeil assist.

At that point, the Cascades picked up six straight fouls, sparking a Thunderbird rally to close it to 19-14 at the end of the opening frame.

Gobeil opened the second with her fifth trey of the night to make it 22-14, but the hosts hung in and were able to draw to within 32-31 at the break.

Julia Tuchscherer was whistled for her third personal foul in the dying seconds of the first half, and she played just 59 seconds in the third and fourth quarters combined before picking up two more fouls, thus fouling out of the game. The rookie, coming off a 25-point, 18-rebound outing last Saturday vs. UNBC, was on the court for just 11 minutes on Friday.

UFV led 45-43 through three quarters and were up 58-51 after a Deanna Tuchscherer jumper with four minutes left in regulation, but the Thunderbirds scored the next seven points to knot the score 58-58. After Deanna Tuchscherer split a pair of free throws to give UFV a one-point lead, UBC’s Kate Johnson drained a baseline jumper to put UBC up 60-59, and Deanna’s jumper drew iron at the buzzer.

Gobeil’s 20 points were a game-high, and she added six rebounds and six assists. Deanna Tuchscherer scored 19, Nikki Cabuco added 10 points, and Victoria Jacobse had a team-best eight rebounds.

Johnson paced the T-Birds with 19 points, and Azalya Forstbauer added 11.

Men’s Basketball: Cascades dial up the defence, but T-Birds claw out 70-64 win

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team turned in a blue-collar defensive effort against one of Canada West’s highest-scoring teams, but were unable to muster much offence themselves in a 70-64 road loss to the UBC Thunderbirds.

The T-Birds came in averaging 95.5 points per game in early-season Canada West action, but the Cascades were able to smother them for much of the night, limiting the hosts to 34.8 per cent shooting from the field.

At the other end of the floor, though, UFV shot just 29.4 per cent themselves, including 3-for-27 from beyond the arc, and those shooting struggles were the difference.

The Cascades (2-1) and Thunderbirds (3-0) wrap up the weekend set at War Memorial Gym on Saturday (7 p.m., CanadaWest.tv).

“You expend a ton of energy when you play with that intensity on the defensive end, and we didn’t have our legs on offence in terms of shooting the basketball,” UFV head coach Joe Enevoldson said. “When you play a team like that, you have to determine whether you want to score with them or whether you grind it out. They’re a high-scoring outfit, and with us being a bit shorthanded tonight, I thought we did a good job of grinding it out.”

The Cascades sprinted out to a quick 9-2 lead with reigning CW player of the week Vick Toor and forward Kyle Claggett doing the damage, but the T-Birds found their footing and responded with a 13-3 run of their own and led 19-16 after the first quarter.

UFV tightened the defensive clamps in the second quarter, limiting UBC to just six points in the frame, to grab a slender 27-25 lead at the break.

The T-Birds’ offence got unstuck in the third, with James Woods pouring in 11 points in the quarter and Grant Audu adding nine as the hosts grabbed a 51-44 edge heading to the fourth.

The Cascades opened the fourth on a 7-2 run, with Dario Lopez draining a trey and Jiordano Khan driving for a pair of layups, to cut the deficit to 53-51, and they hung tough down the stretch. A pair of Toor free throws drew UFV to within 65-64 with less than two minutes left in regulation, but an Audu jumper and a Woods trey gave UBC some breathing room, and the Cascades missed four triples at the offensive end.

“We settled for early, contested threes,” Enevoldson said, reflecting on his team’s offence at crunch time. “Essentially, they imposed their will on us, and we weren’t up for the challenge in that regard. But we grew tonight and got better.”

Toor had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and rookie forward Lopez continued to sparkle with 13 points and six boards.

Woods finished with a game-high 20 points for UBC, Sukhman Sandhu scored 18, and Audu had 15 points and eight boards.

UFV hung in on the boards (UBC had a 49-47 rebounding edge) and took great care of the ball (just nine turnovers to UBC’s 15).

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