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UFV Sports Friday – Tough Night for Basketball vs TWU, Volleyball Win Over TRU

Fraser Valley (with files from Cameron Doherty, TRU Athletics) – Women’s Voleyball: Matsui sparks Cascades to five-set victory at TRU

Amanda Matsui made a triumphant return to the lineup, sparking the University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team to a thrilling five-set victory over the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in Kamloops on Friday.

Matsui, the Cascades’ dynamic fourth-year outside hitter, suffered an injury in the second set of the UFV’s Canada West conference opener back on Nov. 5, and had been sidelined since.

Her presence on the floor Friday was welcome – the Port Coquitlam product racked up a game-high 21 kills, hitting .292 as the Cascades prevailed in a back-and-forth affair (15-25, 25-22, 25-19, 17-25, 15-11) to improve to 2-5 on the season.

The WolfPack (0-7) were missing several key players as well as head coach Chad Grimm due to COVID-19 related protocols, but they turned in a spirited performance behind a 19-kill outing from rookie Brooklyn Olfert.

The Cascades and WolfPack conclude the weekend series on Saturday (3:45 p.m., presented by Co-op).

“We’re just grateful to have her back,” Cascades head coach Janelle Rozema said of Matsui. “It means a lot to us, but it’s more about what it means to her – just acknowledging that this could be her last year playing with the Cascades, and we’re just happy to see her back on the court again. She’s a contributor at the net for us, and brings a very confident presence.”

TRU came out swinging, opening on 8-0 run keyed by some difficult serves courtesy of Anastasiia Muzyka, before Matsui got the Cascades on the board with a kill from the right side. The early deficit proved too steep, though – Olfert racked up nine kills in the set as TRU jumped out to the early lead.

The Cascades responded by winning the next two sets. The visitors took a four-point lead into the technical timeout of the second set thanks to a Grace Warkentin kill, and while the WolfPack cut the lead to two on a couple of occasions, Matsui came up big late in the set to lead UFV to the 25-22 victory.

The third set was all Cascades after the technical timeout – UFV won 10 of the final 14 points in the set with rookie middle Zoe Arca grabbing a pair of crucial kills in the 25-19 win.

The WolfPack responded in the fourth, leading wire-to-wire. Faith Christensen and Sasha Haldane contributed timely kills, and a Muzyka ace sealed it 25-17.

The Cascades showed great composure down the stretch – they hit .278 per cent in the fifth compared to the WolfPack’s .000 and made two fewer service errors to earn the 15-11 victory.

Sadie Wilson and Kristen McBride had five kills apiece for the Cascades, and McBride added a team-best 15 digs. Rookie setter Cailin Bitter also had a strong performance with 35 assists and five aces.

Siobhan Toal racked up 10 kills and 17 digs for the WolfPack, while Muzyka posted 34 assists.

Afterward, Rozema pointed out that her squad could have been tidier in a number of areas – notably at the service line, where they had 23 errors. The WolfPack struggled in that department, too, with 22 service errors of their own.

“That’s really high for us, and our serve-receive wasn’t as strong as it usually is,” Rozema said. “We came out with a win, but it could have been a more solid win.

“As a coach, I was frustrated because the things we’re normally good at, we weren’t good at tonight. But we’re trying to give ourselves some grace – it’s been seven weeks since the last time we played. It’s been a long time since we’ve navigated the pressure of a league game.

“As a team, we’re just grateful to be playing games. We’re realizing you can’t take that for granted.”

Women’s Basketball: Fast-starting Spartans knock off Cascades 68-52

The Trinity Western Spartans flipped the script on the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team, prevailing 68-52 at the UFV Athletic Centre on Friday evening.

Last Thursday, the Cascades had blown out the Spartans 70-47 in the first game of the season between the West Division’s two front-running squads.

Just over a week later, the shoe was on the other foot, as Trinity Western raced out to an early 14-2 lead and kept the Cascades at arm’s length from there.

The Spartans’ offence was clicking in this one, as five players scored in double figures, led by Nicole Fransson’s 17.

The hosts got a game-high 18 points from rookie standout Julia Tuchscherer – all in the second half – but were unable to cut into the deficit in a meaningful way in the fourth quarter.

The Cascades (8-2) and Spartans (10-1) complete their regular-season trilogy on Saturday at UFV (6 p.m., presented by Co-op).

“I don’t think our approach to this game was right at all,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer summarized afterward. “You spend nine days reading about how awesome you are, and then you come into the game kind of full of yourself. And the other team, all they’ve been thinking about is how they’re going to kick your butt. Great teams don’t approach games like that. It’s a lesson our players are going to have to learn, and they learned it the hard way tonight.”

The Spartans’ game-opening 14-2 run was highlighted by triples from Jolene Vlieg and Hailey Van Roekel, and capped by a Jayden Gill layup. Back-to-back treys from Deanna Tuchscherer and Maddy Gobeil helped the Cascades trim the deficit to 21-15 at the end of the frame, but TWU continued to cook in the second, reeling off a 9-0 run featuring four points from Fransson to go up 40-22. The visitors took a 42-24 advantage into halftime.

Julia Tuchscherer had been hampered by foul trouble in the first half, seeing just over five minutes of court time while picking up three personals. She got rolling in the third quarter, racking up 12 points in the frame, but the Spartans answered every UFV surge with one of their own, and the lead was 57-42 heading to the fourth.

The Cascades got as close as 13 (61-48) midway through the fourth after a pair of Julia Tuchscherer free throws, but the Spartans responded with six straight points to end any hope of a UFV comeback.

Deanna Tuchscherer, with 10 points and five boards, joined her younger sister as the Cascades’ only double-digit scorers on the night. Natalie Rathler added nine points and five rebounds off the bench.

All five TWU starters – Fransson, Gill (14 points), Wiens (12), Vlieg (10) and Van Roekel (10) – scored in double digits, and they won the rebounding battle 44-32.

“They had quite a different game plan tonight, so kudos to them,” Coach Tuchscherer said of the Spartans. “I thought there was a lot more movement in their offence. They went away from a lot of their ball-screen action, and I thought they put a lot of pressure on our high-post person (defensively) and took that away. Their match-ups were different tonight, so they pressured us a little bit more.

“Now it’s up to us to adjust what we’re doing.”

Men’s Basketball: Bourcier’s triple-double boosts Spartans past Cascades

A historic performance from Mason Bourcier lifted the Trinity Western Spartans to a 97-87 victory over the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team at the UFV Athletic Centre on Friday evening.

Bourcier, the Spartans’ fourth-year point guard, registered the 18th triple double in Canada West conference history, posting 15 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists as Trinity Western won its third in a row to improve to 3-7 on the season.

Jake Willemsen was the top scorer for the hosts, counting four three-pointers among his 16 points, but the Cascades nevertheless fell to 4-4.

The Cascades and Spartans wrap up their season series on Saturday at the UFV Athletic Centre (4 p.m., presented by Co-op).

“Ultimately, Mason is a competitor,” UFV head coach Joe Enevoldson said afterward. “I thought we did a good job on him early – he picked up two quick fouls, and they’re obviously a much better basketball team with him on the floor being a catalyst.

“You’re not going to stop a guy like Mason, but you’re going to try to slow him down as much as possible. We’ve got to keep him out of the paint . . . and that’s something I don’t think we did a good job of all night long.”

The Spartans led by as many as five points in the first quarter, but the Cascades hung tough and were up 23-21 at the end of the frame after newcomer Jamar Ergas hit a three-pointer for his first points as a Cascade.

The visitors, though dominated the early portion of the second quarter, opening on an 18-6 run, and they led 51-39 at the half.

The Spartans continued to roll in the third quarter, getting out in transition regularly and racing out to a 77-61 lead heading to the fourth.

The Cascades got back to within 10 points on an Ergas jumper with just under seven minutes left in regulation, but TWU responded with back-to-back treys from Ja’Qualyn Gilbreath and Vlad Mihaila, and they kept UFV at bay from there.

Canada West scoring leader Gilbreath finished with 27 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists, and Sam Dyck and Tre Filmore scored 15 apiece for the Spartans.

The Cascades boasted a balanced attack – in addition to Willemsen’s 16 points, Zubair Seyed (15), Vick Toor (14), Ergas (12) and Kyle Claggett (12) also scored in double figures.

The Spartans shot an even 50.0 per cent from the field compared to 42.1 per cent for the Cascades, who struggled from the free throw line (14-for-25).

“We scored enough to win a basketball game – and I don’t think we were great offensively,” Enevoldson analyzed afterward. “We missed some free throws and layups early. But we’ve got to do a much better job of stopping the basketball one-on-one, and understanding what guys are trying to do.

“It ultimately boils down to taking away strong hand, which we’ve talked about all year, and stopping the ball early. We didn’t do either, and they got dump-off after dump-off after dump-off in the post.

“You can’t allow guys to get that deep in the paint whenever they want to, and that’s what they did tonight. They’re a flow team, and when they get into a flow, they’re very tough to stop.”

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