The University of the Fraser Valley golf teams launch into the most exciting stretch of tournament hosting in program history, starting this weekend.
The Cascades are set to host the fourth and final PacWest conference tourney of the season this Saturday and Sunday at Chilliwack Golf Club. But that’s just the appetizer for the main course – the 2015 PING CCAA Golf National Championships, which will also be held at Chilliwack Golf Club, Oct. 13-16.
In other Cascades action, the men’s soccer team is at home for pivotal Canada West divisional games against the UBC Okanagan Heat (Friday, 4 p.m.) and the Thompson Rivers WolfPack (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.) at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
Teams on the road include the CIS No. 5-ranked women’s soccer squad, which makes a jaunt through Alberta. They face the MacEwan Griffins in Edmonton on Saturday and the Mount Royal Cougars in Calgary on Sunday. Both games kick off at noon Mountain time (11 a.m. Pacific).
The UFV men’s basketball team hops on the ferry to Victoria for a high-profile preseason event. They’re participating in the Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament featuring Canada’s reigning CIS basketball dynasty, the Carleton Ravens of Ottawa, and last season’s Canada West finalists, the host Victoria Vikes and the Saskatchewan Huskies.
GOLF: PacWest Tournament #4, 11 a.m. tee times Saturday, 9 a.m. shotgun start Sunday
Heading into the weekend, the odds are stacked against the Cascades defending the PacWest men’s and women’s team championships they earned last season.
The UFV men’s squad is in second place, having accumulated 1,775 total strokes through three events. But that leaves them 47 strokes back of the Camosun Chargers (1,728), and they’ll be hard-pressed to close such a significant gap over the course of two tournament rounds.
Likewise, the Cascades women face a sizeable deficit – the UBC Okanagan Heat have a 29-stroke margin (984 to 1,013) heading into the last event.
Regardless of how the final PacWest standings shake out, playing competitive rounds on their home course this weekend represents a tremendous warm-up for the Cascades as they look ahead to hosting the CCAA nationals in two weeks’ time.
“I see this as an opportunity to continue making some strides forward in terms of our overall performances, and use it as a final springboard into the national championship,” Cascades head coach Chris Bertram said. “We’re certainly looking to have a strong home performance.”
MSOC vs. UBCO (Friday, 4 p.m.) and Thompson Rivers (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.) at Abby Senior
Head coach Tom Lowndes’s charges come into the weekend riding a season-high three-game win streak, the second-longest active streak in Canada West.
That said, the Cascades (4-2-0) feel they have plenty to prove this weekend – particularly against the TRU WolfPack, who defeated them 3-0 in Kamloops on Sept. 13.
“We weren’t as disciplined or as organized as we needed to be, and I think we underestimated them,” Lowndes said, reflecting on the TRU loss. “You can’t do that in Canada West.
“They took their chances, and on the day, they deserved to win 100 per cent. But looking back, I think our lads feel we didn’t play as well as we could have. We just need to come out and do what we’re about – work hard, and stick to what’s made us successful the past three games.”
Thompson Rivers (1-3-0) boasts a dangerous attacker in forward Ryan Glanville, who sits second in Canada West with four goals and scored twice against UFV in the earlier match-up.
UBC Okanagan (1-4-1), the guest on Friday, dropped a 2-0 decision to the Cascades on Sept. 12. But they posted an impressive 2-2 draw at CIS No. 9-ranked UVic last Friday, so they’re very capable of earning results against top teams.
“UBCO, they’re going to work hard and try to shut down the attacking threats we have,” Lowndes said. “If we’re not ready to go right from the first whistle, we’re going to get ourselves in trouble.”
WSOC at MacEwan (Saturday, 11 a.m.) and Mount Royal (Sunday, 11 a.m.)
The Cascades (5-0-1) are the last remaining undefeated team in Canada West, and they enter some uncharted territory this weekend.
Saturday’s game marks the first-ever Canada West regular season match-up between UFV and MacEwan. The Griffins are in their second year in the conference, and they’ve already proven they can compete – in 2014, they made the playoffs with a 7-3-2 record.
They bring a 2-3-1 record into the weekend, and boast a dangerous striker in Isabelle Dobbin whose three goals are tied for 10th in Canada West.
“This will be our first time ever playing MacEwan, so I don’t know a lot about them,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about them – they’re an athletic, well-organized team. They had a great year last year, making the playoffs. We need to be ready.”
The Cascades have beaten Mount Royal (1-4-1) in each of their two prior Canada West meetings, but the Cougars are a dangerous foe with an offence spearheaded by Amanda Scafer (three goals), Kelsey Kinzner and Navroop Virk (two goals apiece).
“They’re well-coached, and Calgary is a good soccer area – a lot of local girls on the team,” Giesbrecht said. “They’re a team we can’t take lightly. Both games will be very tough.”
MBB at the Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament, University of Victoria
Head coach Adam Friesen’s Cascades couldn’t ask for a stiffer test early in the season.
At the Vetrie Tournament, they’ll face Saskatchewan (Friday, 6 p.m.), Carleton (Saturday, 3 p.m.) and host Victoria (Sunday, 2 p.m.). The games will be webcast at canadawest.tv.
The Vikes, Huskies and Cascades represent the cream of the crop in Canada West – they finished 1-2-3, in that order, at the 2014 Canada West Final Four. They’ll all have their hands full with the visitors from the East – all the Carleton Ravens have done over the past 13 seasons is win 11 CIS national championships. The Ravens have waved goodbye to their sibling stars Phil and Thomas Scrubb, who graduated in the spring, but Friesen expects them to be as tough as ever this weekend.
The Cascades have just one exhibition game under their belts to date – a 92-90 home win over the Seattle Mountaineers, a men’s club team, last Saturday. That tilt featured a huge performance from veteran power forward Nate Brown (26 points, 12 rebounds, six assists) and a game-winning buzzer-beater from newcomer Brandon Burke.
“It’s really early, but we have three great tests this weekend to figure out where we are right now and how far we still have to go,” Friesen said. “For our young guys, this will give them a yardstick for where they are compared to three of the best teams in the country. Hopefully the takeaway is that they learn a lot, but also realize that with hard work, they can get there.”