WEEKEND PREVIEW: Soccer teams wrap up regular season, volleyballers at home vs. Blues

It’s a busy weekend for the University of the Fraser Valley athletic department, highlighted by home games for the Cascades volleyball and men’s soccer squads.

MSOC: Cascades wrap up season vs. UVic, UBC

Brady Weir and the Cascades are looking for a strong finish to the 2017 campaign.

Friday, Oct. 20: Cascades (4-7-3, 7th in Pacific Division) vs. Victoria Vikes (5-7-1, 6th in Pacific), 6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 21: Cascades vs. UBC Thunderbirds (9-3-1, 1st in Pacific), 6 p.m.

MRC Sports Complex, Field 4

Webcast: CanadaWest.tv

The Cascades were eliminated from post-season contention on Monday when they fell 1-0 to the UNBC Timberwolves, ending a streak of four consecutive Canada West playoff appearances.

They play their season finales at home vs. the Victoria Vikes and UBC Thunderbirds, and head coach Tom Lowndes said these games are important for his squad regardless of the playoff picture.

“It want to finish as strong as we can,” Lowndes said. “I’ve been proud of how the boys have worked this season. I don’t think we’ve necessarily gotten the results we deserve, and I don’t think our record reflects how well we’ve played. It’ll be difficult, but we need to go out and put in two good performances. We need to set ourselves up for the spring, and obviously going into next season.”

The Cascades have seen both of their weekend opponents already this season, albeit on the road. They fell 1-0 to the Thunderbirds on Aug. 25, and tied the Vikes 2-2 on Aug. 26.

Players to watch: Sophomore fullback Jun Won Choi has been an impact player for the Cascades this season, and he’ll look to close out a breakthrough campaign with two more strong performances. The Vikes are still mathematically alive for a playoff berth, and they’ll look to make headway behind third-year midfielder Isaac Koch, who leads his team in points with six (four goals, two assists). On Saturday, Choi and the Cascades defence will their hands full with UBC freshman striker Victory Shumbusho, who ranks second in the conference in goals with seven.

WSOC: Tough road trip to close out regular season

Rookie midfielder Janelle Henke has excelled for the Cascades, despite being limited by injury this season.

Friday, Oct. 20: Cascades (4-4-4, 5th in Pacific Division) at UBC Thunderbirds (7-2-3, 3rd in Pacific), 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 21: Cascades at Victoria Vikes (8-1-3, 2nd in Pacific), 5 p.m.

Webcast: CanadaWest.tv

Based on out-of-town results on Sunday, the Cascades soccer women locked up a playoff berth for a sixth consecutive season.

They close out their conference schedule on the road against a pair of tough opponents who both have plenty on the line – both UBC and UVic are seeking to lock up a top-two seed in the Pacific Division, which means home field advantage for the Canada West quarter-finals.

Earlier this season at home, the Cascades tied the Vikes 2-2 on Sept. 8, and fell 3-1 to UBC on Sept. 9.

“Our theme for a lot of this year has been that we want to develop and reinforce habits that are going to help us down the road,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. “We’re a young team and we’ve had some ups and down this year, and we’ve got another opportunity to test ourselves against some tough competition this weekend. We know we’re going to be on the road for the opening round of the playoffs, and this weekend gives us two opportunities to test ourselves in two tough places to play. It’s great prep for the playoffs.”

Players to watch: Cascades fifth-year forward Amanda Carruthers has battled injuries this season, but she returned to the lineup last Friday to spark the squad with a goal and an assist in a 2-2 draw with the Saskatchewan Huskies. She leads the team with six points (four goals, two assists) in nine games this season. Thunderbirds striker Jasmin Dhanda is in the midst of an outstanding senior campaign – she leads the conference in goals (13) and points (18). For the Vikes, forward Kiara Kilbey has been a dynamic presence, ranking second behind Dhanda on the Canada West goals list with eight.

WVB: Cascades seek to maintain undefeated record vs. Blues

Cassidy King and the Cascades are coming off a strong weekend vs. CBC.

Friday, Oct. 20: Cascades (2-0, T-1st in PACWEST) vs. Capilano Blues (1-1, T-3rd in PACWEST), 6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 21: Cascades vs. Blues, 5 p.m.

Envision Financial Athletic Centre

Webcast: pacwestbc.tv

The Cascades are coming off an outstanding opening weekend which saw them sweep their crosstown rival Columbia Bible College Bearcats, with everyone on the roster seeing some playing time. They’ll look to continue that momentum this weekend at home against a youthful Capilano squad.

“Cap graduated a lot of fifth-years last year so they’re quite young, but they’ve got some good rookies,” UFV bench boss Mike Gilray said. “They’ve started two different starting lineups, similar to us, on the two nights last week, so it looks like they’ve got some good depth there.”

Players to watch: Cascades redshirt freshman Amanda Matsui had an outstanding debut last week, racking up 20 kills over two nights vs. CBC. She ranks fourth in the PACWEST in kills (2.86/set), third in aces (0.71/set), and fifth in total offence (3.86 points/set). The Blues split their opening-week games against the Douglas Royals, with third-year outside hitter Tyneille Neufeld leading the way. She’s third in the league in both kills (3.29/set) and total offence (4.14 points/set).

MVB: Cascades look to bounce back against Blues

UFV’s Ben Friesen (left) will see his twin brother Simon across the next this season when the Cascades host the Capilano Blues.

Friday, Oct. 20: Cascades (1-1, T-2nd in PACWEST) vs. Capilano Blues (2-0, 1st in PACWEST), 8 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 21: Cascades vs. Blues, 7 p.m.

Envision Financial Athletic Centre

Webcast: pacwestbc.tv

The Cascades opened the campaign on a promising note last Thurday, sweeping the Bearcats in three sets, but they struggled the following evening, dropping the rematch in three straight.

They’ll seek to sort things out this weekend against the PACWEST’s lone 2-0 squad, the Capilano Blues.

“I think we need to be more efficient overall as a team – we definitely didn’t have the games we needed over the weekend,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen noted. “But I think we have the pieces to be successful, and we’ve played well against Cap. Maybe it’s the twin brother rivalry that gets everybody fired up.”

Players to watch: The “twin brother rivalry” Donen refers to features UFV outside hitter Ben Friesen and his twin Simon, the Blues’ starting setter. Both players were PACWEST all-stars last season, and Simon Friesen is the reigning conference men’s volleyball athlete of the week after guiding his squad to two wins over Douglas. Ben Friesen is once again among the conference’s offensive leaders, ranking 10th in kills (2.33/set).

WBB: Cascades off to Calgary for preseason tourney

Victoria Jacobse leads the fast break during last Saturday’s preseason game vs. UVic.

Saturday, Oct. 21: Cascades vs. Alberta Pandas @ University of Calgary, 5 p.m. MT

Sunday, Oct. 22: Cascades at Calgary Dinos, 12 p.m. MT

The Cascades women’s hoopsters wrap up their preseason schedule this weekend at a tournament hosted by the Calgary Dinos.

Head coach Al Tuchscherer’s squad takes on the Alberta Pandas for the second time this fall (the Pandas knocked off UFV 69-49 on Oct. 7 at an exhibition tourney in Kamloops) on Saturday, and face the host Dinos on Sunday. Neither team is on the Cascades’ schedule during Canada West regular-season play in 2017-18.

UFV split an exhibition doubleheader with the Victoria Vikes last weekend, winning 72-60 on Friday before falling 58-41 on Saturday.

“It’s out last chance to get some consistency into our game,” Tuchscherer said. “Over the last few weeks, we’ve had good stretches but we haven’t been able to maintain that over significant periods of time. This is another opportunity for us to grow as a team.

“It’s great that we get to play Alberta and Calgary, two quality programs. We’ve already seen Alberta once already this year, so it’s a chance for us to prepare a little bit differently for an opponent we know a little bit about.”

MBB: Stateside tourney wraps up Cascades’ preseason

Riley Braich and the Cascades men’s hoopsters head stateside for their final preseason tune-ups.

Friday, Oct. 20: Cascades vs. Eastern Oregon Mountaineers @ Northwest University, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 21: Cascades at Northwest Eagles, 7 p.m.

The Cascades men conclude their preseason at a tournament in Kirkland, Wash. hosted by Northwest University. They face the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers on Friday, and the host Northwest Eagles on Saturday. Both programs play in the NAIA.

UFV is coming off a pair of exhibition losses (76-53 on Friday and 71-58 on Saturday) to the UVic Vikes last weekend.

“I’m excited to see how we grow from last weekend, and see if we can improve on our performance,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said.

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