Weekend preview: Soccer and golf teams on the road, basketball teams open preseason

The University of the Fraser Valley soccer and golf teams embark on weekend road trips which will be pivotal to their seasons, while the basketball squads tip off the preseason with home games.

Brittney Zacharuk (left) and the Cascades women's soccer team are tied for third in the Pacific Division.

Brittney Zacharuk (left) and the Cascades women’s soccer team are tied for third in the Pacific Division.

WSOC: Cascades head to the Interior to take on Heat, WolfPack

Saturday: Cascades (2-1-2, T-3rd in Pacific Division) at UBC Okanagan Heat (2-2-0, 6th in Pacific), 1 p.m. PDT

Sunday: Cascades at Thompson Rivers WolfPack (1-3-0, 7th in Pacific), 12 p.m. PDT

Webcast (pay-per-view): ufv.canadawest.tv

The UFV women’s soccer team, coming off an encouraging result last Saturday (a 3-0 win over UVic), look to continue that momentum on the road against a pair of divisional rivals who sit below them in the standings.

“We want to put together two 90-minute performances this weekend, and we have yet to do that this season,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. “UBCO’s right on our heels, so it’s a big game in terms of the standings. The fact we only play them once this year makes it even bigger. They’re an improving team, and it’s not easy to play against them – it’s going to be a battle, and it’s going to be a matter of whether or not we can execute.

“TRU’s given us fits the last couple years. Every time we play them, it’s been a tough game. They’re a hard-working group, and they’re tough to break down.”

UFV’s attacking trio of Monika Levarsky, Gurneet Dhaliwal and Amanda Carruthers has been exhibiting strong chemistry of late. Carruthers scored twice last Friday vs. UBC, and Dhaliwal had two vs. UVic and is tied for second in Canada West with four goals on the season. Levarsky, meanwhile, is tied for the conference lead in assists with five.

Forward Courtney Hemmerling (three goals, one assist) and midfielder Maya Bandy (two goals) have been the offensive leaders for a UBC Okanagan squad which finds itself in the mix for a playoff berth through four games.

Thompson Rivers struggled mightily over their first three games, dropping all three by a combined score of 17-0. But they’re coming off their first win of the campaign, 2-1 over UNBC, highlighted by goals from Kenzie Lacon and Ava Simpson.

UFV's Connor MacMillan prepares to send a pass into the path of teammate James Najman.

UFV’s Connor MacMillan prepares to send a pass into the path of teammate James Najman.

MSOC: Cascades face Wesmen, Huskies on longest road trip of season

Friday: Cascades (3-2-1, T-3rd in Pacific Division) at Winnipeg Wesmen (0-7-1, 7th in Prairie Division), 6:30 p.m. CDT

Sunday: Cascades at Saskatchewan Huskies (1-3-2, 5th in Prairie), 2:15 p.m. CST

Webcast (pay-per-view): ufv.canadawest.tv (not available Sunday)

The UFV men’s soccer team heads out on its longest road swing of the season in terms of distance traveled. They’ll face a pair of teams in the bottom half of the Prairie Division table in the Winnipeg Wesmen and Saskatchewan Huskies.

“It’s difficult because we’re traveling a long distance, but it’s also exciting,” Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes analyzed. “We haven’t made that trip for a while, so the boys are excited to get away and test themselves against teams from the Prairie Division.

“Winnipeg’s hard-working – they’ll try to frustrate us, and it’ll be up to us to break them down and cause them problems. Sask has got quality – I don’t think their record reflects where they’re at. They’ve got some good players, and they’re very structured and organized. Again, it’ll be up to us to play the way we want to play. We’ll have to deal with the conditions and the travel, and look to come back with a result.”

The Cascades will be looking to regain the defensive form they showed early in the campaign. After allowing just two goals and posting four clean sheets in their first five Canada West games, they surrendered four goals in a loss to the Mount Royal Cougars on Saturday. Justin Sekhon and Daniel Davidson pace the UFV side with two goals apiece on the season.

They open the trip against a Wesmen team still in search of its first win. Forward Andrew Kliment has set the pace for Winnipeg thus far, with three goals and an assist.

The Huskies, led by fifth-year midfielder and team captain Mitchell Bauche, are coming off a solid road trip which saw them earn their first win of the season (3-0 over UNBC) and pick up a point against the defending Canada West champs (0-0 vs. UBC).

GOLF: Cascades continue pursuit of conference titles at Westwood Plateau

The Cascades' Hannah Dirksen leads the PacWest individual women's standings.

The Cascades’ Hannah Dirksen leads the PacWest individual women’s standings.

PacWest Tournament No. 3 – Douglas Invitational at Westwood Plateau Golf and Country Club, Coquitlam

Saturday: Round 1 tee times begin at 11:30 a.m.

Sunday: Round 2 tee times begin at 8:30 a.m.

The UFV golf teams are firmly in the mix for conference championships, and this weekend’s Douglas Invitational at Westwood Plateau – the third of four PacWest tournaments – is effectively moving day.

The Cascades women are in the driver’s seat, leading the UBC Okanagan Heat by 25 strokes in the team standings. The women’s individual race is much closer, with UFV’s Hannah Dirksen (325 cumulative strokes) leading teammates Sharon Park (327) and Jennifer Kell (329).

On the men’s side, the Cascades sit second, and they’ll be aiming to make up ground on the Camosun Chargers this weekend. They’re at 1,175 cumulative strokes, 11 back of the Chargers (1,164). Zach Olson and Halen Davis are the top UFV golfers in the individual standings, ranking fifth and sixth, respectively.

“It’s a big weekend for the men’s team,” Cascades head coach Chris Bertram noted. “We’ve worked our way up into second place in the conference, and we’re within striking distance of the lead. But this will be an important weekend for us. We want to put ourselves in a good position heading into the conference finals the following week.

“I think the women’s team has shown they’ve got the talent and depth to take a strong lead in the conference, and I’m looking for all of them to play well once again and hopefully continue to build that lead.”

Mark Johnson (left) and the Cascades men's hoopsters open the preseason on Thursday.

Mark Johnson (left) and the Cascades men’s hoopsters open the preseason on Thursday.

MBB & WBB: Cascades begin preseason prep

Thursday: MBB vs. Capilano Blues, 7 p.m. at Sardis Secondary

Saturday: WBB vs. Langara Falcons, 4 p.m.; MBB vs. Seattle Mountaineers, 6 p.m. at the Envision Athletic Centre

The Cascades basketball teams begin the preseason in earnest this week with a trio of games locally.

On Thursday, the UFV men’s hoopsters start their preparations for the Canada West regular season against a PacWest program, the Capilano Blues, in a scrimmage at Sardis Secondary at 7 p.m. On Saturday, both Cascades squads are at their home gym, the Envision Athletic Centre, for an doubleheader – the women taking on the PacWest’s Langara Falcons in exhibition action, and the men facing the Seattle Mountaineers, a semipro club team, in a scrimmage.

“Our guys are happy to play against people who aren’t their teammates, and it’s a great opportunity for our young guys to get some game action,” UFV men’s basketball head coach Adam Friesen said. “We’re happy to go out to different areas of the Valley and play some games, and hopefully grow our fan base and our exposure throughout the area.”

The women’s team technically began the preseason in early August with games against visiting NCAA Div. 1 squads Wisconsin and Florida Atlantic. Saturday’s tilt with Langara will mark their first game action in over a month.

“It’s an early opportunity for us to try out some of the things we’ve been doing in practice,” UFV women’s head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “It’s another chance for our young kids to get some game action, and for us to get better a little bit every day.”

The Cascades basketball teams open the Canada West regular season Nov. 4-5 at home against the Saskatchewan Huskies.

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