Weekend preview: Cascades hoopsters home vs. T-Wolves, volleyballers visit Mariners

The University of the Fraser Valley basketball teams continue their homestand against the UNBC Timberwolves this weekend, while the Cascades volleyball teams hit the road for a pivotal series vs. the Vancouver Island University Mariners.

WBB: Tuchscherer’s 500th game highlights weekend set vs. UNBC

Cascades (6-4, 2nd in Explorer Division) vs. UNBC Timberwolves (1-9, T5th in Explorer Division)

Friday 6 p.m., Saturday 5 p.m. at the Envision Athletic Centre

Webcast (pay-per-view): ufv.canadawest.tv

Al Tuchscherer has been guiding the Cascades women's basketball team from the sideline since 2002.

Al Tuchscherer has been guiding the Cascades women’s basketball team from the sideline since 2002.

Al Tuchscherer will mark his 500th game as head coach of the UFV women’s basketball team this weekend.

Tuchscherer has amassed a record of 309-189 (exhibition, regular season and playoffs combined) since taking the reins of the Cascades in 2002, and the milestone game will be Saturday at the Envision Athletic Centre vs. UNBC.

“It’s funny – I used to be the young coach around here, now I’m the old guy on campus,” the 44-year-old Tuchscherer said with a chuckle, alluding to the fact he’s UFV’s longest-tenured bench boss. “I’m proud to have been here for this long, and to have the honour of coaching at this university. It’s a testament to the great kids we’ve had come through our program that have allowed us to have success.”

The Cascades are coming off a pair of home wins last weekend over the Mount Royals Cougars, and Tuchscherer is hopeful his squad can maintain that momentum.

“UNBC has two players that are real difficult match-up in (Maria) Mongomo and (Vasiliki) Louka,” he noted. “Both of those kids have had some success against us in the past. We need to figure out, particularly, how to contain Mongomo’s penetration.”

Season series: The Cascades beat the T-Wolves twice in Prince George in mid-November, prevailing 80-68 on Nov. 20 and 78-67 on Nov. 21.

Key Cascade: Taylor Claggett was named the Canada West female third star of the week on Tuesday, and the 5’11” forward out of Abbotsford’s Mennonite Educational Institute is having a phenomenal rookie season. She’s averaging 15.1 points per game on 61.4 per cent shooting from the field, along with 8.5 rebounds, and is top-10 in Canada West in each of those statistics.

Key T-Wolf: Maria Mongomo, who hails from Las Palmas, Spain, leads her team with 17.6 points per game. Her two highest-scoring performances of the season came against the Cascades in November – she averaged 26 points in those two contests.

MBB: Cascades aim to tame T-Wolves at home

Cascades (6-4, 2nd in Explorer Division) vs. UNBC Timberwolves (3-7, T5th in Explorer Division)

Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 7 p.m. at UFV’s Envision Athletic Centre

Webcast (pay-per-view): ufv.canadawest.tv

Kevon Parchment has been turning in powerhouse performances on a nightly basis for the Cascades.

Kevon Parchment has been turning in powerhouse performances on a nightly basis for the Cascades.

UNBC’s 3-7 record might be modest, but the Cascades know how tough these T-Wolves can be – the Cascades dropped a game in Prince George in mid-November.

UFV was a banged-up group at that stage of the season, though. They’ve come back from the Christmas break healthier, highlighted by forward Nate Brown’s return to the lineup.

“We know how dangerous they are,” head coach Adam Friesen said of the T-Wolves. “We’ve got a lot to prove.

“We need to try and control the pace, and we’ve got to take advantage of some mismatches we think that we have. For us defensively, they’re a really versatile team. They’ve got a lot of guys that can penetrate, shoot it, play inside-outside. Keeping the basketball in front of us and taking care of our defensive glass will be huge.”

Season series: The two teams split their weekend set in Prince George, with the T-Wolves winning the opener 81-74 and UFV bouncing back to win 74-72 the next night.

Key Cascade: Kevon Parchment is coming off a massive weekend against Mount Royal, highlighted by a 28-point, 14-rebound, six-steal, six-assist, two-block outing in an 89-75 win last Friday. The fifth-year guard from Scarborough, Ont. is the only player in Canada West to rank in the top 10 in all five major counting stats: points (17.7 per game, seventh), rebounds (8.6, fourth), assists (5.3, second), steals (1.9, ninth) and blocks (1.7, sixth).

Key T-Wolf: Australian shooting guard Rhys Elliott is the second-leading scorer in Canada West, averaging 22.1 points per game, and he’s done it in efficient fashion, shooting 49.7 per cent from the field and 39.7 from beyond the arc.

WVB: Cascades on a roll heading into road clash with first-place Mariners

Cascades (6-8, 5th in the PacWest) at Vancouver Island University Mariners (12-2,1st in the PacWest)

Friday 6 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m. at Vancouver Island University (Nanaimo)

Webcast: sportscanada.tv/pacwest

Rachel Funk was a catalyst for the Cascades women's volleyball team last weekend as they swept Camosun.

Rachel Funk was a catalyst for the Cascades women’s volleyball team last weekend as they swept Camosun.

Coming off a tremendous showing last weekend, when they swept the Camosun Chargers at home, the Cascades face another measuring-stick match-up this weekend in Nanaimo.

The Mariners are first in the PacWest at 12-2, and they’re No. 2 in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) national rankings.

“VIU has a lot of threats in all positions,” UFV head coach Mike Gilray analyzed. “They have one of the best players in the league in the middle (Tylar Turnbull), and they run probably the fastest offence I’ve seen. I think it’s going to be an entirely different game (than vs. Camosun), and will challenge us in different ways.

“They force you into making a lot of errors, and maybe serving tougher to keep them out of their in-system offence. But we’ve been serving above our standard lately. Hopefully we can carry that into this weekend and it helps us defensively.”

Season series: The Mariners swept the Cascades in Abbotsford earlier this season, winning in three sets on Oct. 30 and prevailing in four sets Oct. 31.

Key Cascade: Sophomore left side Rachel Funk is coming off a big weekend vs. Camosun. On Friday, the Surrey, B.C. product registered seven kills and five aces for a team-leading 12 points, and added 11 digs. In Saturday’s rematch, Funk pounded 12 kills to tie for the team lead in that category, to go with 14 digs and an ace in another fantastic all-around performance.

Key Mariner: Tylar Turnbull is a pillar of strength for the Mariners – she leads the league in blocks (0.96 per set) and ranks third in total offence (3.62 points per set).

MVB: Cascades hope to build on last weekend’s big win

Cascades (8-6, T3rd in the PacWest) at Vancouver Island University Mariners (8-6, T3rd in the PacWest)

Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 3 p.m. at Vancouver Island University (Nanaimo)

Webcast: sportscanada.tv/pacwest

Cascades right side Joel Kleingeltink was in fine form last weekend vs. Camosun.

Cascades right side Joel Kleingeltink was in fine form last weekend vs. Camosun.

The CCAA No. 13-ranked Cascades couldn’t be feeling much better about themselves heading into a pivotal road clash with the Mariners.

Last Saturday, head coach Kyle Donen’s squad upended the No. 1-ranked, undefeated, reigning national champion Camosun Chargers in a five-set thriller. It had, in fact, been 344 days since the last time Camosun had tasted defeat.

But this is no time for the Cascades to rest on their laurels – they’re tied with the Mariners for third place in the PacWest, and this weekend’s results will go a long way towards determining playoff seeding.

“I think we’re definitely feeling good, but at the same time, the chatter amongst the group was that it was one game,” Donen said, reflecting on the Camosun win. “It meant a lot for us to beat them, but we want to get better with every game. We’re striving to find where our next level is. I don’t think we’re satisfied with where we are.”

Season series: The Cascades swept a two-game set vs. VIU in Abbotsford during the first semester, winning in five sets on Oct. 30 and in three straight Oct. 31.

Key Cascade: Joel Kleingeltink is the reigning PacWest men’s volleyball athlete of the week after posting 20-plus kills both nights vs. Camosun. The fourth-year right side from Langley, B.C. is third in the conference in total offence (4.31 points per set) and kills (3.45).

Key Mariner: Outside hitter Jesse Bazergui is the Mariners’ go-to guy offensively – he ranks second in the PacWest, just ahead of Kleingeltink, in total offence (4.51) and kills (3.57).

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Indigenizing at UFV

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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