The beginning of the CIS women's basketball season has finally sunk in for Abbotsford's Kayli Sartori - and it's making her a tad nervous.
A first-year student-athlete at the University of the Fraser Valley, Sartori and her Cascades teammates play their long-awaited home opener Friday against the University of Manitoba Bisons at the Envision Athletic Centre.
"It's more like being nervous for me," said Sartori, who was the cornerstone of W.J. Mouat's girl's basketball provincial championship in March.
"I'm excited to play but I'm more scared than anything. For the rookies, this weekend it's obvious the season has started. After losing the first two games, we're realizing it's more serious than we thought."
Sartori is just one on a team that is almost 100 per cent made up of Fraser Valley talent.
Only fifth-year guard Tessa Klassen from Winnipeg hails from outside of the valley, which means there will likely be a good number of friends and family out to watch the Cascades go for their first win of the season.
For Sartori, Kaitlyn Brink and Jaslyen Singh, the night will be the first regular season opportunity to play in front of their old coach and teammates from Mouat.
"It adds more excitement and gets me pumped up for the game," said Sartori. "But it also adds to the stress."
While acknowledging the dynamic of the home opening weekend, Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said he's more concerned with getting his team back on track after getting swept by the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack in Kamloops last weekend.
"We had a bit of a stinker this past weekend," said Tuchscherer, referring to Friday's 68-64 loss and Saturday's 65-59 overtime loss to TRU.
"We need to be ready to go and we need to play with more urgency. With the home opener there's going to be a lot going on but to me it's more important that we rebound from the weekend."
One of the areas Tuchscherer said needs improving was the team's shooting from the field, which went a "shocking" 34 per cent combined last weekend.
Although the finish wasn't where it needs to be in order to win, said Tuchscherer, the amount of shots his team generated -106 in two games - was a positive.
* Friday's game against the Bisons begins at 6 p.m. PST at the Envision Athletic Centre.