It’s almost exclusively a road weekend for the University of the Fraser Valley varsity sports teams.
The Cascades men’s basketball squad gets to play host this weekend – they open their preseason schedule against the Seattle Mountaineers, a men’s club team from Washington state. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at the Envision Athletic Centre.
But as for the UFV teams already into their respective regular seasons – men’s and women’s soccer and golf – they’re all packing their suitcases.
WSOC at Alberta Pandas (Friday, 4 p.m. Pacific) and at UNBC Timberwolves (Sunday, 12 p.m.)
The CIS No. 6-ranked Cascades women’s soccer squad amassed a 3-0-1 record during a season-opening four-game homestand. They embark on their first Canada West road trip this weekend, facing Alberta (1-2-1) and UNBC (0-3-1).
The last time UFV and Alberta clashed was in last season’s Canada West semifinals on Halloween, with the Cascades prevailing 1-0 on Shelby Beck’s goal in the 71st minute to earn a trip to CIS nationals. So there could be a bit of a rivalry flavour to this week’s rematch, and UFV will have to contend with Pandas offensive leaders Karissa McNutt (a team-high two goals) and Julia Ignacio (one goal, two assists, a team-high nine shots).
“Alberta’s such a strong opponent – we’ve never beaten them in league play in my time here,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. “We expect a very tough match-up against a very disciplined and talented team.”
UNBC, still seeking its first win of the campaign, has gotten some tremendous performances from goalkeeper Jordan Hall. Last Saturday, for instance, Hall very nearly stole a point for the T-Wolves on the road at UBC. Despite the fact that UNBC was out-shot 32-0, it took until the 86th minute for UBC to squeeze a ball past Hall and secure a 1-0 win.
“She’s a very good athlete,” Giesbrecht said of Hall. “They frustrate teams by stingy defending, good goalkeeping and hard work. It’s really about us sticking to the task and making sure we don’t get distracted.”
MSOC at UNBC Timberwolves (Saturday and Sunday, 2:15 p.m. each day)
The Cascades (2-2-0) are currently tied for third in the Pacific Division of Canada West, and they’ll seek to bolster their record as they spend the weekend in Prince George for a pair of games against the Timberwolves (1-3-0).
Much of the T-Wolves’ offence runs through striker Matt Jubinville – he’s got three of the team’s five goals thus far, and is tied for second in Canada West in that department.
The Cascades counter with a balanced attack – they’ve had five different players dent the twine, and fourth-year midfielder Kree Byrne is their only multi-goal scorer to date with two on the season.
“The key is, can we go into a different environment and replicate the good things we did this past weekend?” Lowndes said. “UNBC is definitely an up-and-coming program, and every year we’ve played them, it’s gotten tougher and tougher. We’ve got to go up there with that mentality.
“They’ve got a new coach in Steve Simonson, and he knows his stuff. They’ll be well-prepared and very organized. It’s supposed to be colder, and we’ll be playing on a grass field, so we’ll have to take everything into consideration.”
Golf at Camosun Chargers Invitational (Bear Mountain Golf and Country Club, Victoria)
The Cascades golfers hop on the ferry for the Camosun Chargers Invitational, the third of four PacWest conference tournaments.
The UFV men’s and women’s teams have ground to make up in their quest to defend their PacWest titles – both currently sit in second place in the season-long aggregate standings. The men are 26 strokes back of Camosun (1,174 to UFV’s 1,200), while the women are within seven strokes of UBC Okanagan (671 to 678).
The Cascades showed some positive signs at last week’s KPU Invitational, though, as Zach Olson and Hannah Dirksen won the men’s and women’s individual titles, respectively. Both were subsequently named PacWest and CCAA athletes of the week.
“Bear Mountain is a course a few of our players have had some experience on,” head coach Chris Bertram said. “It’s a tough course, and it’s Camosun’s home course. We’ve definitely got our work cut out for us as we look to chip into their lead (on the men’s side). But I’ve said all along that our players have the talent to do it – we’ve just got to go out and execute.”
This weekend marks the last road tourney of the fall season for the UFV golfers – they host the final PacWest tournament (Oct. 3-4) followed by the CCAA PING Golf National Championships (Oct. 13-16). Both events will be held at Chillwack Golf Club.
MBB vs. Seattle Mountaineers (Saturday, 7 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre)
The Cascades see their first game action of the fall on Saturday vs. the Mountaineers.
It’s a key warm-up game for head coach Adam Friesen’s squad, as they begin their exhibition schedule in earnest the following weekend at the Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament at the University of Victoria. They’ll not only face Canada West powerhouses Victoria and Saskatchewan at that event, they’ll also test themselves against the Carleton Ravens. Canada’s reigning university basketball dynasty from Ottawa has won the CIS championship 11 of the past 13 years.
As for this week’s tilt against the Seattle club, Friesen said it’s a great opportunity for his team to taste game action after weeks of practice. The Cascades return a solid core of veterans from last year’s team which went 17-3 in the regular season and won the Canada West bronze medal, including conference third team all-star Kevon Parchment and fellow double-digit scorers Nate Brown and Manny Dulay.
“We’re just looking forward to not practicing against ourselves, going up against someone different,” Friesen said. “It’s the first game, so we’ll just see how things go. This is going to be a good chance to do the stuff we’ve been working on in practice in a game environment.”