It’s basketball season again at University of the Fraser Valley.
The men’s and women’s Cascades teams hit the hardwood for the first time in 2015-16 this weekend, opening with a pair of gamesagainst the UBC-O Heat on Friday and Saturday.
The men posted a record of 17 wins and three losses last season, and despite losing post players Jasper Moedt and Kadeem Willis, headcoach Adam Friesen said he likes the look of his team this season.
“We’re a talented group,” said Friesen. “We have some guys being put in different roles, but I think we’re a deeper team than last year,and also more versatile.”
The team earned a Canada West bronze medal last year, but the Cascades are seeking their first return trip to the CIS nationalchampionships since 2012.
“I think our goals are the same as last year,” Friesen said. “It’s yet to be determined whether we can be better than last year’s team,but the opportunity is there in front of us to go after it.”
Key players returning for 2015-16 include: guard and last year’s leading scorer Kevon Parchment, three point shooter Manny Dulay, andpower forward Nate Brown.
The women’s team finished with a record of 12 wins and eight losses in 2014-15, and head coach Al Tuchscherer said he thinks thisyear’s new mix has the potential to go deep.
“It’s a different team, with a lot of toughness and athleticism to it,” he said. “They’re skilled, and they play with a lot of determination.You combine those things, and this team could make some noise in Canada West.”
The team lost all-Canadian and top rebounder Sarah Wierks, last year’s leader in assists Celeste Dyck, and top scorer Nataliia Gavryliuk,but there are some familiar faces coming back and some new talent.
Returning forward Katie Brink is set to be reunited with her W.J. Mouat Hawks B.C. AAA high school championship teammate KayliSartori, who helped the Cascades win a national bronze medal before electing to take a season off to work on her family’s farm.
“Katie and Kayli have experienced a lot of success together – they’ve won championships and been key to some of our past success,”Tuchscherer said. “They lead us competitively, they play a physical brand of basketball, and they’re highly skilled in their positions.”
Also arriving to the Cascades are a pair of high-profile transfers in Shayna Cameron and Sydney Williams. Cameron helped lead theQuest Kermodes to back-to-back Pacwest titles in 2014 and 2015, and Williams is a former Canada West rookie of the year with theTRU Wolfpack in 2013. Both are expected to play key roles on the Cascades.
The games kick off at 6 p.m. for the women and 8 p.m. for the men on Friday, and then 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday at the EnvisionAthletic Centre at UFV.
Friday’s games will include high school girls and boys three-point shooting contests at halftime, presented by the Abbotsford Police CityBasketball Tournament. School-aged athletes wearing their team jerseys will receive free admission to all weekend games.
For more information on the teams, visit ufvcascades.ca.