Cascades women’s basketball program inks forwards Vreugdenhil, Beerwald

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball program has rounded out its recruiting class by signing a pair of forwards.

Elissa Vreugdenhil (Sumas, Wash.) and Madeline Beerwald (Abbotsford, B.C.) will suit up for the Cascades in the fall. They’re part of a five-player recruiting class for head coach Al Tuchscherer, joining previously announced signees Natalie Rathler, Abby Zawada and Madison Draayers.

Elissa Vreugdenhil

6’0” forward, Sumas, Wash.

Cornerstone Christian School / Whatcom Community College

Vreugdenhil is a second-generation Cascade – both her parents played basketball at UFV in the 1980s. Her mother Bernice (nee Berends) played two seasons (1986-88), and father Marvin was part of the men’s basketball program for one semester (fall 1986).

After graduating from Cornerstone Christian in Lynden, Wash. in 2017, Vreugdenhil spent her first season of post-secondary basketball with the Whatcom Community College Orcas. She had an outstanding rookie campaign, leading the Orcas in scoring (13.6 points per game), rebounding (10.9), blocks (3.1) and field goal percentage (49.4) and earning Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) North Region second team all-star honours.

“Elissa is a great athlete who can really finish around the rim, and she’s a fantastic rebounder,” Tuchscherer said. “I think she can bring some versatility to our roster. She’s a first-class kid who works hard and loves to play the game and learn the game. I think she can be a difference-maker for us here pretty quick.”

Vreugdenhil, who plans to enrol in General Studies, said it’s “pretty cool” to be following in her parents’ footsteps with the Cascades.

“I’m just excited to play university basketball at a higher level,” she said. “The location is awesome – it’s just across the border – and I feel like this program will be able to push me and make me a better player. I want to become a better basketball player and help the team out, whatever I can do.”

Madeline Beerwald

6’0” forward, Abbotsford, B.C.

W.J. Mouat Secondary

Beerwald also boasts a longstanding connection to the Cascades – she’s a former member of the Junior Cascades club program, and that familiarity influenced her decision to sign with her hometown team.

“It’s not only a great school and a great opportunity, it has a spot close to my heart because I’ve been playing here since I was young,” she said. “Al’s been my coach for a long time, and I have so much respect for him. I’m very grateful to have this opportunity at an amazing school.”

Beerwald was MVP of her school basketball teams in Grade 7 and 8, and earned second team all-star honours at the 2015 B.C. junior girls provincial championships as her Mouat Hawks finished fifth. She was Mouat’s Grade 11 female athlete of the year last season, and as a senior, she was on BC Sports Hub’s list of the top 20 Grade 12 players in the province.

Tuchscherer said Beerwald “brings a little bit of that Mouat grit to the table,” alluding to the many Hawks grads who have played for UFV in recent years, including alumni Kayli Sartori, Katie Brink, Sam Kurath and Jaslyen Singh, and current Cascades Amanda Thompson and Victoria Jacobse.

“I think she has great potential,” he said of Beerwald. “She’s a good athlete – she can get to the hole, she can rebound, and she can also shoot it a little bit.”

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