The University of the Fraser Valley volleyball teams host the Capilano Blues on Friday to open a home-and-home set, while the Cascades basketball teams hit the road to face the Calgary Dinos on Thursday and Friday.
WVB: Cascades aim to carry momentum into match-up vs. Blues
Friday: Cascades (5-9, T-5th in PACWEST) vs. Capilano Blues (9-5, 3rd in PACWEST), 6 p.m. PST, Envision Athletic Centre
Saturday: Cascades at Blues, 6 p.m.
Coming off their most impressive victory of the season – a four-set road triumph over the CCAA No. 6-ranked Douglas Royals last Saturday – the Cascades are hoping that momentum translates this weekend vs. Capilano.
The Cascades and Blues split a pair of games in the first semester, with Capilano winning the conference opener in three sets on Oct. 15 and UFV posting a straight-sets victory of their own on Dec. 1.
“Each week is about consistency and getting better, and this past weekend showed that we’re still battling but we’re moving forward,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray analyzed. “It’s a good challenge for us (vs. Capilano). We’re excited to get back on Friday night and play our first home game of the second semester.”
Players to watch: The head-to-head match-up between Cascades left side Rachel Funk and Capilano right side Kira Sutcliffe will be fascinating – both are among the best in the PACWEST at their respective positions. Funk is coming off a tremendous weekend vs. Douglas which saw her notch double-figure kills and digs both nights, and she’s moved up to seventh in the conference in total offence (3.37 points/set). Sutcliffe, the PACWEST’s 2014-15 player of the year, ranks fourth in that same metric (3.76 points/set).
MVB: Cascades look to continue ascent
Friday: Cascades (11-3, 2nd in PACWEST) vs. Capilano Blues (6-8, T-4th in PACWEST), 8 p.m. PST, Envision Athletic Centre
Saturday: Cascades at Blues, 8 p.m.
The UFV men’s volleyball team – currently second in the conference and ranked No. 8 in the nation – made relatively short work of the Blues in the first semester, winning both matches while dropping just one set along the way. But Cascades head coach Kyle Donen knows the Blues are nevertheless a dangerous foe.
“We know they play one of the faster offensive games when they pass the ball well, and we know they’re a scrappy defensive team,” said Donen, whose squad swept Douglas on the road last weekend. “We expect to see a lot of long rallies against Cap.
“We need to maintain the consistency we found the second night against Douglas. Our serving game was excellent, and if we can continue that, we’ll put ourselves in a position to put a lot of pressure on them. That will force them into tough spots.”
Players to watch: Cascades libero Isaiah Dahl was in fine form last weekend against the Royals, racking up 33 digs over the course of eight sets. He’s second in the PACWEST in digs per set (3.77), and he’ll be looking to slow down Capilano’s rookie standout Justin Yee who paces the team and sits ninth in the conference in kills (2.74/set).
WBB: Cascades duel with Dinos for playoff positioning
Thursday: Cascades (7-3, T-5th in Canada West) at Calgary Dinos (7-3, T-5th in Canada West), 6 p.m. MST
Friday: Cascades at Dinos, 6 p.m.
The Cascades and Dinos come into a rare Thursday-Friday set with identical 7-3 records, so the opportunity exists for each team to boost their playoff seeding significantly at the other’s expense with a sweep this week.
The two teams clashed in the preseason, and it didn’t go terribly well for UFV – the Dinos prevailed 67-43 at a tournament in Victoria on Oct. 29. But the youthful Cascades have come a long way since then, sitting four games above .500 as they do.
“The last time that we played them, they really played at a higher pace than we were prepared to play at that point of the season,” head coach Al Tuchscherer noted. “They put a lot of pressure on us and blitzed us early, and we never adapted. They’re a team that has a lot of depth – they play a lot of different players, and they have a lot of weapons one through 10.
“Obviously we’ve played a lot of basketball since then, and we’ve seen different styles of play and been able to adapt to how teams have played us up to this point. This will be a good test for us.”
Players to watch: The Cascades’ Taylor Claggett was outstanding last weekend as the Cascades swept the MacEwan Griffins, highlighted by a huge double-double (16 points, 16 rebounds) in Saturday’s 59-55 victory. She’s among the Canada West leaders in in rebounding (9.1 per game, fourth), shooting percentage (51.9, third) and scoring (13.0, 18th). The Dinos have been led offensively this season by Brianna Ghali, a fourth-year guard who is averaging 13.2 points per game.
MBB: National silver medalists pose tough test for Cascades
Thursday: Cascades (5-5, T-9th in Canada West) at Calgary Dinos (8-2, 3rd in Canada West), 8 p.m. MST
Friday: Cascades at Dinos, 8 p.m.
The Cascades men’s hoopsters face their toughest challenge of the season to date as they take on the Calgary Dinos on the road. Coming off a U Sports national silver medal in 2015-16, the Dinos are off to a great start again this season and are currently ranked No. 5 in the nation.
The Dinos boast the most prolific offence in Canada West (91.2 points per game, 48.4 per cent shooting from the field), and they’ll test the Cascades’ fifth-ranked defence (75.9 points allowed per game).
“We know we’re facing a really good team, but we hope to come in excited and loose,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said. “This is going to be a great opportunity to test ourselves and get better. We want to see if we can compete for all 40 minutes harder than we ever have this season, because if we don’t, it’s going to be a long night.”
Players to watch: Cascades fifth-year point guard Manny Dulay is coming off a memorable Saturday performance against the MacEwan Griffins – he knocked down seven of his nine attempts from beyond the arc en route to 23 points, sparking his squad to an 89-82 victory. Dulay is putting together an all-star calibre campaign, leading the conference in both assists (5.4 per game) and three-pointers made per game (3.6) and ranking 14th in scoring (15.9). The Dinos counter with fifth-year superstar Thomas Cooper, the reigning Canada West player of the year. Cooper is second in the conference in scoring (24.3 points per game).