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Cascades take on…Cascades?

The UFV basketball and volleyball teams spent last Saturday competing against one of the toughest opponents they’ll face all year: themselves. Well, not quite, but it was close to the truth as the Cascades took on their predecessors during the annual alumni games.

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By Paul Esau (The Cascade) – Email

Date Posted: October 10, 2011
Print Edition: October 5, 2011

The UFV basketball and volleyball teams spent last Saturday competing against one of the toughest opponents they’ll face all year: themselves.

Well, not quite, but it was close to the truth as the Cascades took on their predecessors during the annual alumni games.  The event pitted the athletes of today against the heroes of yesteryear, in what became (in some cases) a surprisingly heated competition between two eras in UFV’s history.  It also heralded the creation of an Athletics Alumni Chapter, to honour the achievements of past Cascaders and their contribution to the University.

The alumni games were played at the Envision Athletic Centre in front of an appreciative audience sprinkled with UFV notables.  Among those in attendance was former men’s basketball coach Pat Lee, who led the Cascades to four BCCAA championships during his 16 years at the helm.

“I think what Barnaby [the present Coach] and the kids are doing here is really good,” Lee said after the men’s game. “I think tonight I like the chemistry of the team.  I like watching the kids support each other…There’s a lot of positives about the team this year.”

Most of the male alumni on the hardwood played for Lee during at least one of his championship runs, including the instrumental Matt Francisco, who has played in the last three alumni games.

“Oh, it’s fun,” Francisco commented.  “It’s good to just hang out with these young guys and encourage them a bit, and then let them lay a little beating on us.  It was fun.”

The varsity basketball team trounced the alumni 95-61 in a clash that had the same intensity as a season game. The women’s basketball team beat their alumni 88-57, while the women’s volleyball team won three sets to none.  Only the men’s volleyball alumni were able to triumph over their varsity counterparts, by the narrow margin of three sets to two.

Derek Fletcher, one of the organizers of the alumni volleyball team, had a simple reason for their success. “We’re the only old guys that still got it,” he said. Another volleyball alumnus, Daryl Wiebe, had an alternative theory “Because we’re very good…very good looking,” Wiebe said. “Not a lot of people know this about volleyball, but it’s mostly about how you look on the court,” Fletcher agreed.

On a more serious note, Fletcher was adamant about the importance of a varsity-alumni connection.

“Oh, it’s beautiful, man.  It’s so important…if you start on a team where there’s not that many old guys, but you still got an alumni team that you can look up to and you can bond with, they may not be the most polished anymore, but they’ve been through nationals, and countless games…They teach us something and we [the alumni] teach them something.”

An official reception was held in the Envision Centre lobby after the four games, during which UFV sports information and marketing coordinator David Kent announced the new Alumni Chapter.  The event was sponsored by the UFV Alumni Association, catered by AfterMath, and featured the band Rags to Radio.

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