Weekend preview: Cascades hit the road

This week, the University of the Fraser Valley basketball and volleyball teams become road warriors.

It’s a rare weekend without any games at the Envision Athletic Centre, and the Cascades are ticketed for the B.C. Interior.

The UFV hoopsters head to Prince George to take on the UNBC Timberwolves on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.). The games will be webcast at ufv.canadawest.tv.

The volleyball teams, meanwhile, embark on their longest road trip of the regular season. They’re busing to Cranbook to face the College of the Rockies Avalanche on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 1 p.m., men 3 p.m.). The games can be viewed live online at sportscanada.tv/pacwest.

MBB: Cascades put undefeated record on the line vs. T-Wolves

The Explorer Division men’s basketball standings are quite polarized at the moment – the Cascades are tied for first place with the Thompson Rivers WolfPack at 4-0, while the other four teams have identical 1-3 records. That includes UFV’s opponent this weekend, UNBC.

MBB vs MacEwan Nov14-15-5Head coach Adam Friesen’s charges have been extremely stingy on defence to this early point of the campaign – they’re allowing just 64 points per game, the fewest in Canada West. They’re also operating efficiently on offence, scoring 83.5 points a night (seventh in the conference) on 47.9 per cent shooting from the field (fourth).

Leading the charge has been fifth-year guard Kevon Parchment, whose remarkable start to the season has him ranked in the top 15 in Canada West in all the major counting stats: scoring (18.0 points per game, 12th in Canada West), assists (5.8, second), rebounding (7.3, 13th), blocks (1.8, sixth) and steals (1.8, 13th). Other standouts for the Cascades in the early going include Vijay Dhillon (15.8 ppg), Manny Dulay (11.0 ppg) and Marcus Morgan (10.8 ppg).

The T-Wolves counter with the veteran backcourt duo of Rhys Elliott (22.5 points per game, sixth in Canada West) and Billy Cheng (14.5 points, 4.0 assists per game).

“UNBC is a scrappy team that’s got some really good versatility, and guard scorers,” Friesen analyzed. “We have to keep on sharing the basketball and playing solid defence.”

WBB: Cascades aim to build on strong performances vs. MacEwan

The Cascades women’s basketball team owns a modest 2-2 record, but they’re brimming with optimism after a very good showing last weekend vs. the MacEwan Griffins. Taking on a veteran-laden opponent that beat them four straight times last season, head coach Al Tuchscherer’s squad won Friday’s opener 72-61 and were tied in the final minute of Saturday’s rematch before falling 63-59.

“Even though we’re only 2-2, I like how our team is playing and how we’re coming together,” Tuchscherer said. “This weekend is another opportunity for us to continue our evolution as a team.”

The Cascades come into the weekend boasting two of the top five scorers in the conference. Kayli Sartori is tops in Canada West, averaging an even 20 points per game, while Shayna Cameron is tied for fourth at 17.0 points per game. Rookie forward Taylor Claggett, meanwhile, is averaging just shy of a double-double at 10.8 points and 9.0 rebounds.

The T-Wolves (0-4) are seeking their first win, but Tuchscherer is wary of the tremendous size the T-Wolves possess. UNBC has four players who stand 6’1” or taller, led by Vasiliki Louka, a 6’3” centre from Greece who is averaging 12.0 points and 5.0 rebounds. Guard Maria Mongomo leads the team in scoring at 13.5 points per game.

“They’re a team that has some really effective size, and they run you through a ton of ball screens,” Tuchscherer said. “Our ball-screen defence needs to be tight if we’re going to have success against this team.”

MVB: UFV upbeat after showing growth vs. CCAA’s No. 1-ranked team

The Cascades men’s volleyball team was on the verge of a noteworthy upset last Saturday in Victoria, as they won the first two sets vs. the CCAA No. 1-ranked Camosun Chargers before ultimately falling in five.

Though they didn’t get the result they wanted, UFV head coach Kyle Donen said the performance deepened his team’s belief that they’re capable of big things this season.

“We’re feeling good,” Donen said. “We finished a tough weekend, and it’s a quick turnaround to take a trip up to College of the Rockies. But I think we’re excited and motivated to get two wins on a weekend that we know is going to be tough. We know it’s going to be a battle.”

The Cascades (4-4), ranked No. 14 in the CCAA, boast four players who are in the top five in PacWest statistical categories. Right side Joel Kleingeltink is fourth in total offence (4.35 points per set) and kills (3.43), and fifth in aces (0.48), while middle Dayton Pagliericci leads the league in blocks at 1.03 per set. Outside hitter Adam Chaplin is fourth in aces (0.55), and libero Isaiah Dahl is third in digs (3.48).

The Avalanche come in with a 3-3 record, and the Cascades will have to focus a lot of defensive energy on stopping their 6’5” outside hitter, Patrik Toze. The Australian ranks second in the PacWest in total offence (4.64 points per set) and kills (3.77).

WVB: Cascades look to return to winning ways vs. Avalanche

Like the men’s team, the UFV women’s volleyballers feel they can carry some momentum out of last weekend’s series against a first-place foe from Camosun. And the upcoming series in Cranbook is a big one for the fifth-place Cascades (2-6) as they seek to stay ahead of the seventh-place Avalanche (1-5).

Moreover, COTR ended UFV’s 2014-15 season in the PacWest quarter-finals, so this weekend affords the Cascades a shot at revenge.

“I think that some of the returning girls are pretty excited to have another go at them,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray said. “They’re very important games this weekend for us, against a team that’s behind us in the standings.

“I thought last weekend was a great success. We didn’t come out with any wins, but we showed progress and the girls were excited to come into practice this week and keep developing.”

UFV’s Monique Huber is developing into one of the PacWest’s top middles this season – she ranks 13th in the conference in total offence (2.66 points per set) and is third in aces (0.66 per set). Sophomore outside hitter Rachel Funk has also been a solid all-around contributor, averaging 1.88 kills per set (tops on the team and 16th in the PacWest) along with 2.28 digs (11th in the PacWest).

COTR’s chief offensive threat is Kelsey Thompson, whose 3.67 points per set are tied for fourth in the conference.

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The University of the Fraser Valley is situated on the unceded traditional territory of the Stó:lō peoples. The Stó:lō have an intrinsic relationship with what they refer to as S’olh Temexw (Our Sacred Land); therefore, we express our gratitude and respect for the honour of living and working in this territory.

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