This weekend is the final opportunity for local hoops fans to see the University of the Fraser Valley basketball teams play at home prior to the Christmas break.
The Cascades host the MacEwan Griffins in Canada West regular season action on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.) at the Envision Athletic Centre. The games will also be webcast at ufv.canadawest.tv (pay per view).
In other varsity action, the UFV volleyball teams head to Victoria to face the powerhouse Camosun Chargers.
MBB: Cascades look to maintain undefeated record
UFV head coach Adam Friesen knows that the insanely hot shooting performance his team put on in the second half of last Saturday’s victory over UBC Okanagan will be nigh unto impossible to sustain over the long haul.
But while the Cascades may not shoot 73.9 per cent from the field – including 9-of-10 from the three-point line – every night like they did in the third and fourth quarters vs. the Heat, they can control the effort they put in on the defensive end.
Friesen believes his team’s work on defence in the third quarter on Saturday, which saw them limit the Heat to just seven points in the frame, sparked the offensive outburst.
“I think we’re being forced to understand how important defence – and particularly defensive rebounding – is,” Friesen analyzed. “For us, defence leads to offence.
“At the same time, Kevon (Parchment) and Vijay (Dhillon) kind of found their groove, playing with a lot of confidence and being aggressive at all times. Once they both found their rhythm, and it happened to be at the same time, that led the offensive charge for us.”
The Cascades (2-0) swept UBC Okanagan at home on opening weekend, led offensively by the trio of Parchment (19.5 points per game), Dhillon (18.5 points) and Mark Johnson (18.0 points, 8.0 rebounds). UFV is tied for first place in the Explorer Division with the Thompson Rivers WolfPack.
The Edmonton-based Griffins (1-1) are coming off a home-court split vs. the Mount Royal Cougars, with Thadius Galvez posting 17.5 points per game and shooting 33.3 per cent from beyond the arc.
“The returners they have from last year really caused us some trouble last year,” Friesen said of the Griffins. “Denzel James (a Canada West third team all-star last season) is someone you have to prepare for, otherwise he can have a big weekend. We know they can get hot on offence, and they have enough big guys and athletes to really compete on the defensive end.”
WBB: Cascades aim to solve division rival Griffins
The MacEwan women’s hoopsters had the Cascades’ number last season, winning all four head-to-head meetings. Head coach Al Tuchscherer’s charges will be looking to reverse that trend at home this weekend.
The Cascades women (1-1) are tied for third in the Explorer Division coming off a weekend split with UBCO, while the Griffins (2-0) are tied for first with TRU after authoring a pair of lopsided home wins over Mount Royal.
In the early going, UFV guard Shayna Cameron sits second on the Canada West scoring chart at 21.5 points per game, while Kayli Sartori ranks 11th with an average of 15.5 points. Rookie forward Taylor Claggett is coming off a fantastic debut weekend – she’s second in the conference with 13.5 rebounds per game, to go with 14.5 points.
The Griffins’ most dangerous offensive weapon is fifth-year forward Megan Wood – she’s averaging 18.5 points, good for fifth in Canada West, along with 6.0 rebounds. Fellow post player Kelly Fagan is fourth in the conference in both rebounds (10.0) and blocked shots (2.0), and she set a new Canada West season record for blocks (65) in 2014-15. Both players were conference all-stars last season.
“They’re just a handful,” Tuchscherer said of the Griffins. “They’re a really experienced team, and they run things with a lot of sophistication. They have kids who really know how to play together, and that makes them a really difficult match-up for anybody.”
Coming off Saturday’s loss to UBCO, Tuchscherer said his team needs to continue to evolve and grow.
“We still don’t share the ball at the level that we need to, and defend at the level we need to yet,” he said. “But there’s been some strides. That’ll be really tested this week against MacEwan.”
MVB: Cascades face tough test vs. nation’s top-ranked team
The UFV men’s volleyball team (4-2) is poised for its first game action since making its debut in the CCAA national rankings last week. And it’ll be a measuring-stick type of weekend for the No. 13-ranked team in the nation, as they head to Victoria to face the CCAA No. 1-ranked Camosun Chargers.
The Chargers (6-0) are the reigning national champions, and they’re the only remaining undefeated team in the PacWest conference after a pair of impressive home-court wins over the Douglas Royals, who came into that weekend ranked No. 1 in the CCAA.
UFV and Camosun clash at 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday, and the games will be webcast at sportscanada.tv/pacwest.
“We’re looking forward to putting together a complete effort this weekend,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen said. “It’s always fun to go into a match-up as an underdog as far as rankings are concerned. But we’re ready to the challenge, and ready to show them and the country that we’re one of the top teams. Camosun is a tough place to play, but we’re ready to go in there and push them in the way we know we can.”
UFV right side Joel Kleingeltink (4.57 points per set) and outside hitter Adam Chaplin (3.45 points per set) have paced the Cascades’ offence in the early going, ranking fourth and 10th, respectively, in the PacWest in total offence. Middle Dayton Pagliericci leads the conference in blocks (1.23 per set), while libero Isaiah Dahl is third in digs (3.86 per set).
The Chargers counter with the PacWest’s No. 1 and No. 5-ranked players in total offence – Haakon Ostrem (5.23 points per set) and Savana Walkingbear (4.27).
WVB: Cascades look to get back on track vs. Camosun
Likewise, on the women’s side, this weekend’s games between the Cascades and Chargers represent a stern test for UFV.
CCAA No. 3-ranked Camosun is coming off a national bronze medal in 2014-15, and they’re in first place in the PacWest with a 5-1 record this fall. They are, however, coming off a weekend split vs. the Columbia Bible College Bearcats – a team the Cascades swept on opening weekend.
“Camosun is a very strong team,” said UFV head coach Mike Gilray, whose Cascades are fifth in the PacWest at 2-4.
“At any time in this league, anybody can pull off a win. We’ve shown against Douglas and against VIU that we’re able to take sets off teams when we’re controlling our errors and putting teams in trouble with our strong service game.”
Middle Monique Huber has been the Cascades’ offensive leader to this point of the season – she’s 11th in the PacWest in total offence, accounting for 2.74 points per set, and she also sits fourth in aces (0.65 per set). Setter Nicole Blandford gives UFV two players in the top 10 in the conference in aces – she’s eighth at 0.52 per set.
Chargers outside hitter Michelle Zygmunt – a former Cascade – leads the PacWest in total offence (4.43 points per set).
The UFV-Camosun women’s games are set for 6 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday, and will be webcast at sportscanada.tv/pacwest.