A phenomenally busy week for the University of the Fraser Valley sports teams is highlighted by important competitions for the golf, volleyball, basketball, soccer and rowing squads.
Golf teams at CCAA nationals
The Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) golf national championships began in memorable fashion for the Cascades, as head coach Chris Bertram won the CCAA coach of the year award and athletes Jen Woods and Connor O’Dell were named All-Canadians at the awards banquet on Tuesday.
Beginning Wednesday, Bertram’s charges were aiming for a similar performance on the course as the three-day championship tournament got underway at Club de Golf Lorette in Quebec City.
The Cascades are the defending champions on both the men’s and the women’s side, and they’re favoured to repeat, as both teams are currently No. 1 in the CCAA rankings.
“I’m optimistic about our chances, both for the men and the women,” Bertram said. “They’re all playing really well.”
After Wednesday’s opening round, the UFV men are tied for first with the Camosun Chargers at +1, with Aaron Pauls leading the way with a three-under 69, one stroke back of the individual lead. The Cascades women are in second place at +13, four strokes back of the host Champlain St. Lawrence Lions. Woods (+4) is tied for fourth individually.
Volleyball teams host home openers
The Cascades volleyball teams launch their PacWest seasons in high-profile fashion – they take on their crosstown rivals, the Columbia Bible College Bearcats, in a home-and-home series.
On Friday, UFV hosts the Bearcats at the Envision Athletic Centre, with the women getting things started at 6 pm and the men following at 8 pm. On Saturday, the two teams tangle again, this time at Columbia Place (women 6 pm, men 8 pm).
“It means a lot to us,” said Cascades men’s coach Kyle Donen, reflecting on the rivalry match-up with CBC. “It’s definitely a game where we want to put our best foot forward. We want to have a good game to start our season off right.”
Hoopsters host preseason showcase
The UFV basketball teams are welcoming several high-calibre CIS opponents for their annual preseason showcase.
The men play the Windsor Lancers on Thursday (7 pm) and the Trinity Western Spartans on Friday (7 p.m. in the North Gym). It’s the second exhibition clash for the Cascades and Spartans – UFV won 73-70 at Semiahmoo Secondary last Thursday.
The women, meanwhile, face the Queen’s Golden Gaels – expected to be one of the top teams out of Ontario this season – on Friday (3 p.m.), and the UBC Thunderbirds on Saturday (5 pm).
“Right now, it’s just immersing ourselves in quality teams and trying to learn as much as we can from those experiences,” Cascades women’s coach Al Tuchscherer said.
Plenty at stake for soccer teams as regular season wraps up
The Cascades soccer teams wrap up their regular-season schedules on the road. They visit Trinity Western on Friday (women 5 pm, men 7 pm) and the Victoria Vikes on Saturday (women 5 pm, men 7:15 pm).
The CIS No. 10-ranked women’s squad is neck-and-neck with UVic for second place in the Pacific Division – both teams boast matching 7-1-2 records, and whoever finishes ahead will host a quarter-final playoff game. Since the two teams battled to a 1-1 draw in Abbotsford last Saturday, that means the winner of this Saturday’s game will win the head-to-head series and clinch home-field advantage.
“We’d love to host a playoff game,” head coach Rob Giesbrecht said, “but more important than that, we just want to make sure we’re ready.”
While the women are assured of a playoff berth, the men are still working to officially punch their post-season ticket. With a 5-4-1 record going into the weekend, they have a mathematical chance to finish anywhere from second in the Pacific Division (and host a playoff game) to fifth (and miss the playoffs altogether). Both those scenarios are somewhat unlikely, as UFV is currently five points back of second-place UVic and five points up on fifth-place TWU with two games remaining for all of the teams.
“It’s just one game at a time,” said head coach Alan Errington, noting that his team controls its own destiny. “As long as we’re in the playoffs, I’m quite happy.”
Rowers aim for podium at Western Canadians
The Cascades rowing team hits the water in Calgary for the Western Canadian University Rowing Championships on Saturday.
The event, hosted by the Calgary Dinos, will also feature the Victoria Vikes, UBC T-Birds, Alberta Golden Bears/Pandas, Saskatchewan Huskies, Camosun Chargers, Lakeland Rustlers and MacEwan Griffins.
UFV head coach Liz Chisholm is bringing a smaller team to the WCURC’s this year after losing eight male rowers to graduation, but the Cascades’ smaller contingent has upped the amount and intensity of training.
Chisholm is looking forward to seeing how UFV’s men’s 2-boat, featuring Stephen Wall and Kyle Krahn, fares against strong crews from UBC and UVic – several of which rowed at the World University Championships in Spain in September. The lightweight women’s pairs also figures to be a hotly contested race, with Ashley Bilodeau and Emily Klootwyk representing the Cascades.
“The team is approaching WCURC’s with a lot of determination – determined to do well, despite our much smaller crew numbers this fall,” Chisholm said.
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