It’s a huge weekend for the University of the Fraser Valley soccer and golf programs.
On the soccer pitch, the Cascades men’s and women’s teams take on local rival Trinity Western in a home-and-home series – Friday in Langley, and Sunday in Abbotsford. The men’s golf team, meanwhile, heads to Nanaimo for the PACWEST championship tournament.
The Cascades women’s basketball team is also officially launches its preseason schedule, taking on the UBC Thunderbirds on the road Thursday.
MSOC: Cascades, Spartans dueling for playoff positioning
Friday, Oct. 5: Cascades (6-2-1, 2nd in Pacific Division) at No. 10 Trinity Western Spartans (5-1-4, 3rd in Pacific Division), 7:15 p.m., Chase Office Field
Sunday, Oct. 7: Cascades vs. Spartans, 4 p.m., MRC Sports Complex / Field 4
The Cascades and Spartans won’t lack for motivation this weekend. Not only is it a local derby, the two teams sit neck-and-neck in the Pacific Division standings, hunting for a top-two seed and the right to host a playoff game that comes with that distinction.
Both teams are in form: The Cascades have won three in a row by a combined score of 9-2, while the Spartans are undefeated in their past seven.
“They’re a good team,” UFV bench boss Tom Lowndes said of TWU. “They’ve had some success the past couple years, and they’re very well-coached – Mike (Shearon, Spartans head coach) does a great job with that squad. It’s a crosstown rivalry game, and we’ll have to be at our best to get results. As a university player, these are the types of games you should be dying to play. The boys are up for it, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Players to watch: Cascades fourth-year forward Gurmaan Jhaj capped a sensational September by collecting the Canada West men’s athlete of the month award. He scored in all six of the Cascades’ games in the month – racking up 10 goals and an assist in total – and scored the game-winner in all five UFV victories, placing him third all-time in Canada West history for game-winning goals in a season. He also set a new Cascades team record for goals in a season, surpassing Sasa Plavsic (2012) and Spencer Schmidt’s (2007) shared record of eight. The Spartans boast a balanced attack paced by a fourth-year forward of their own, Cody Fransen. He leads the team and ranks seventh in the conference with five goals this season.
WSOC: Cascades set to clash with local rivals
Friday, Oct. 5: Cascades (3-3-2, 5th in Pacific Division) at No. 3 Trinity Western Spartans (7-1-0, 1st in Pacific Division), 5 p.m., Chase Office Field
Sunday, Oct. 7: Cascades vs. Spartans, 2 p.m., MRC Sports Complex / Field 4
The Cascades, riding a two-game win streak, face their toughest test of the season this weekend. The powerhouse Spartans were voted No. 1 in the Canada West preseason coaches poll, and they’ve lived up to that billing – they’re currently No. 3 in the U SPORTS national rankings.
“As a young group, we know we need to respect all of our opponents and fear none of them,” UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. “We know we have a tough challenge this week, and we need to be dialed in for the 90 minutes each game, limit our mistakes, and confidently try to attack our opponents.”
Players to watch: Cascades fourth-year forward Brittney Zacharuk is coming off an outstanding weekend which saw her net three goals and two assists in victories over UBC Okanagan and Thompson Rivers. For her efforts, she was named the Canada West women’s first star of the week. The CW second star of the week, as it happens, was TWU’s Seina Kashima – the dynamic winger leads the conference in points (12), and holds the all-time CW record for assists (35).
MGOLF: Cascades seeking second straight PACWEST title
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5-7: PACWEST Golf Championships
Nanaimo Golf Club
The Cascades men’s golf team heads into the PACWEST Championships as the prohibitive favourites – they won the conference’s three regular-season tournaments by a combined 48 strokes.
But whereas in years past the UFV squad would have already essentially clinched the conference title, this year they’ve got work to do. The PACWEST team titles used to be decided based on cumulative strokes over the course of four two-round tournaments, but this year, the titles will be determined strictly on scores over three rounds at a standalone championship tournament. Vancouver Island University will play host.
“We’re starting from scratch,” Cascades head coach Chris Bertram observed. “But I’m confident in our players – they’re playing well, and I think we’ve built up some good momentum. I expect us to have a really good weekend in Nanaimo, and pick up more momentum as we head in to nationals in Medicine Hat.
Players to watch: Cascades fifth-year senior Zach Olson is in fine form. Coming off a solid summer of amateur events, the Strathmore, Alta. product won last weekend’s UFV Invitational by four strokes. He’ll be among the contenders for the individual title this week, alongside the likes of teammates Daniel Campbell and Kyle Claggett, VIU’s Wyatt Brook, and Langara’s Jacob Vanderpas.
WBB: Cascades open preseason at UBC
Thursday, Oct. 4: Cascades at UBC Thunderbirds (exhibition), 6 p.m., War Memorial Gym
The Cascades have had a few scrimmages since school started – most notably, facing the Chinese Olympic team twice in mid-September – but this Thursday’s tilt at UBC marks their first official exhibition game.
Head coach Al Tuchscherer’s squad is relatively youthful, with five rookies and no fifth-year seniors on the roster. Thus, exhibitions games like Thursday’s are crucial as the Cascades prepare for the Canada West regular season, which they tip off Oct. 26-27 at home vs. Thompson Rivers.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to play a real solid Canada West team,” Tuchscherer said, looking ahead to the UBC game. “UBC has some outstanding talent, and presents several challenges for our team. We’re looking forward to seeing how we compete, and how the stuff we’ve been working on in practice looks in a real game situation.”