Two University of the Fraser Valley varsity teams earned mentions in the latest batch of national rankings released Tuesday, and Nick Bruce of the Cascades men’s volleyball squad earned a conference athlete of the week award.
Men’s wrestling checks in at No. 10
The Cascades men’s wrestling team made its season debut in the U Sports Top 10 rankings at No. 10. It’s the program’s first national ranking since the 2014-15 season, when the men’s team was ranked for five weeks.
The UFV wrestlers have participated in one Canada West conference tournament to date, the Dinos Invitational in late October, where Brad Hildenbrandt (120 kg) and Amtoj Dhaliwal (82 kg) climbed the podium on the men’s side.
“It’s great to hear that we’re ranked Top 10 – for such a young team, that’s pretty good,” said Raj Virdi, who serves as Cascades co-head coach alongside Arjan Bhullar. “Hopefully after the Edmonton tournament (the Golden Bear Invitational, Jan. 7), our ranking goes a little bit higher. We’ve got a good bunch of kids.”
The Cascades are taking seven wrestlers stateside this weekend for the Spokane (Wash.) Open.
Men’s volleyball moves up to No. 8
The Cascades men’s volleyballers posted an impressive weekend sweep of the Douglas Royals, the No. 8-ranked team in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) national rankings at the time, and as a result, they’ve usurped the Royals’ former spot in the national poll.
UFV leaped four spots from No. 12 to No. 8 in the CCAA rankings on Tuesday. They currently sit second in the PACWEST at 7-2, and they’re the second-highest nationally ranked team from the conference, trailing only No. 1 Vancouver Island University.
“We’re happy with how we’ve been playing, and we’re excited about the progress we’re making,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen said. “I think this weekend was a big step for us, to see a lot of guys get into the lineup and contribute in really good ways. We’re hoping it’s a sign of things to come for the rest of the year.”
Bruce honoured for all-around excellence
The spoils of victory for the UFV men’s volleyball squad also included individual accolades for Nick Bruce. The fourth-year left side from Surrey, B.C. was named the PACWEST men’s volleyball athlete of the week after sparking the Cascades past the Royals.
The versatile veteran made an impact through his attacking, his defence and his serving. On Friday, Bruce racked up 16 kills, seven digs, three aces and a block in a four-set triumph, and he registered eight kills, eight digs and three aces in a three-set victory in the rematch on Saturday.
“This was his best weekend of the season, and his most consistent,” Donen said of Bruce. “He did everything well for us, and when you get that from one of your older, more experienced players, that really helps you get the W. I’m happy with his contributions on the floor, and I’m happy with how he’s becoming a leader for us as well.”