A pair of University of the Fraser Valley Cascades have earned athlete of the week honours from their respective conferences.
Third-year women’s basketball forward Taylor Claggett is the Canada West female first star of the week after helping the Cascades clinch a playoff berth on the last night of the regular season. Amanda Matsui, a rookie left side with the women’s volleyball team, is the PACWEST female volleyball athlete of the week in the wake of UFV’s weekend split with the No. 3-ranked team in the nation, the VIU Mariners.
Claggett authored a pair of outstanding performances as the Cascades secured a Canada West playoff berth in thrilling fashion.
On Friday, the third-year forward from Mission, B.C. had a tremendous all-around outing against the Manitoba Bisons, racking up 16 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals, but the Cascades fell 79-74 in overtime.
UFV required a victory in Saturday’s rematch with Manitoba, plus a Brandon win at Thompson Rivers, to punch their playoff ticket, and they took care of their half of the equation behind a monster game from Claggett. She racked up a season-high 27 points and 13 rebounds for her second straight double-double (and seventh of the season) and added four assists in the Cascades’ 80-56 blowout win. Claggett had a record-setting night at the free throw line, establishing a new Canada West mark for free throw attempts (19) and tying the record for makes (15).
Meanwhile in Kamloops, Brandon managed an 81-73 win over TRU to allow the Cascades (8-12) to lock up a playoff berth for the eighth straight season. UFV (8-12) opens the playoffs this Friday, facing the Victoria Vikes (16-4) on the road (7 p.m., CanadaWest.tv).
Claggett finished the season fifth in Canada West rebounding (9.7 per game) and 20th in scoring (13.8 points per game), while leading the conference in free throw attempts per game (7.3).
Matsui was a catalyst for the CCAA No. 7-ranked Cascades last Friday as they battled their way to a signature win over No. 3 VIU. The Port Coquitlam, B.C. product smashed 16 kills and added 20 digs as UFV defeated the Mariners in four sets.
VIU bounced back in Saturday’s rematch to win in four, but Matsui once again had a strong all-around performance with 15 kills, 11 digs and five aces.
Matsui’s phenomenal rookie campaign has her ranked in the PACWEST’s top 10 in total offence (T-second, 4.0 points/set), aces (first, 0.67/set), kills (fourth, 3.15/set) and digs (10th, 2.85/set). She’s one of just three players in the top 10 in all four categories, the others being teammate Kim Bauder and Columbia Bible College’s Jodi Enns.
The Cascades volleyball teams are on the road this weekend to take on the College of the Rockies Avalanche in Cranbrook (Friday WVB 6 p.m., MVB 8p.m.; Saturday WVB 1 p.m., MVB 3 p.m.; all times Mountain; pacwestbc.tv).