A sign the end of summer is quickly approaching can be found inside the Envision Athletic Centre at the UFV Abbotsford campus beginning on Monday.
The UFV Cascades women's basketball team tips off training camp next week in preparation for its first exhibition game against the University of Mississippi Rebels, better known as Ole Miss, on Friday, Aug. 5.
As much as a showdown with Ole Miss - and the University of Louisville women's basketball team on Aug. 14 - is a warm-up, it's also a stern test for the Cascades, who enter this season with higher expectations after making it past the first round of the Canada West playoffs and to Final Four tournament last season.
"Last year we did some nice things to turn our program around a bit," said head coach Al Tuchscherer.
"There's just an excitement more than anything. When it comes to expectations, it's what we always do and that's to prepare and do the best we can with the talent that we have.
"I can't sit here and say our expectations are to win a national championship, that's not how we operate."
Thoughts of winning it all might be a bit much, as Tuchsherer says, but the program is showing signs that it is on the upswing.
The Cascades went out and recruited six high school grads, including the highly sought after Kayli Sartori of W.J. Mouat.
Tuchscherer believes that with improvements in recruiting the past few years and a highly talented contingent of rookies this year, the Cascades have the depth to be competitive this year.
"You want to have those veteran players who go through the system and learn things and then keep adding pieces," he said.