Weekend preview: Soccer Senior Night, volleyball crosstown clash among the highlights

The University of the Fraser Valley soccer teams wrap up their Canada West regular-season schedules this weekend on their home pitch, with Saturday’s games including Senior Night festivities for eight outstanding fifth-year players.

In other action, the Cascades volleyball teams play a home-and-home set vs. their crosstown rivals, the Columbia Bible College Bearcats, while the UFV women’s basketball squad heads stateside for a pair of exhibition games.

Keeper Kayla Klim is among four fifth-year Cascades women's soccer players who will be honoured on Saturday.

Keeper Kayla Klim is among four fifth-year Cascades women’s soccer players who will be honoured on Saturday.

WSOC: Cascades can clinch second place with a pair of wins

Friday: Cascades (8-2-2, 2nd in Pacific Division) vs. Calgary Dinos (9-1-2, 1st in Prairie Division), 5:30 p.m.

Saturday: Cascades vs. Lethbridge Pronghorns (3-7-2, 7th in Prairie), 5:30 p.m.

MRC Sports Complex, Field 4

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

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team has already ensured a first-round home playoff date, and they can simultaneously lock up second place in the Pacific Division and set a new program record for wins in a season with a pair of victories this weekend.

The CIS No. 9-ranked Cascades have already equalled their previous high for Canada West conference wins with eight, a feat they also achieved in 2010 and 2015. Standing in their way this weekend are a pair of teams from the Prairie Division, the Calgary Dinos and the Lethbridge Pronghorns.

The two highest-scoring teams in Canada West clash on Friday – the CIS No. 5 Dinos lead the way with 44 goals, and UFV is second with 30. The Pronghorns, meanwhile, proved they’re a dangerous outfit by handing the Dinos their lone loss of the season on Oct. 8 by a score of 3-1.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to control our fate for getting the No. 2 seed in the Pacific Division,” said head coach Rob Giesbrecht, whose squad is tied on points with the Alberta Pandas but owns the head-to-head tiebreaker. “We know it’s going to be tough. Calgary is a dynamic attacking force, and they’ve been very successful this year. They’re going to have a very athletic team that’s well-coached, and they compete. Lethbridge is a bit of a tricky one, because while their record doesn’t show it, they’ve competed hard in their games and they’re the only team to beat Calgary. We’re not going to take them lightly, and it’s going to be two tough games this weekend.”

Players to watch: The Cascades are celebrating the careers of six graduating players who arrived on campus together in the fall of 2012: midfielders Sunayna Samra and Danica Kump, defenders Tristan Corneil, Kara Delwo and Karlee Pedersen, and goalkeeper Kayla Klim. Their careers will be celebrated on Saturday with a pregame ceremony, starting at 5:20 p.m. As for the visitors, Calgary boasts two of the top three goal-scorers in the conference in Mollee Ramsay (11 goals) and Jordan Smith (10 goals) . . . and UFV’s Monika Levarsky (10 goals) is right there with them in the scoring race. The Pronghorns have been solid defensively this season, backed by keeper Rachel Lee who ranks fifth in Canada West in save percentage (.824) and goals-against average (0.75).

Cascades forward James Najman is one of four fifth-years whose careers will be celebrated on Saturday.

Cascades forward James Najman is one of four fifth-years whose careers will be celebrated on Saturday.

MSOC: Cascades need a single point to punch playoff ticket

Friday: Cascades (7-6-1, 3rd in Pacific Division) vs. UNBC Timberwolves (4-9-1, 6th in Pacific Division), 8 p.m.

Saturday: Cascades vs. UNBC, 8 p.m.

MRC Sports Complex, Field 4

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

The Cascades require just a single point over their final two games to ensure a fourth straight trip to the Canada West post-season party. Head coach Tom Lowndes’s squad has already established a new team record for wins in a season (seven), and they’ll be looking to boost that total against a scrappy UNBC side.

“We want to finish off the season with two good performances to prepare us for playoffs,” Lowndes said. “UNBC is still fighting for a playoff spot, so we’ve got to make sure we’re ready to go.”

The Cascades are coming off an impressive six-point weekend on the road, featuring shutout wins over UBC Okanagan and Thompson Rivers. Lowndes is hopeful his charges can maintain that momentum.

“We defended really, really well, and our work rate was fantastic,” he said. “We created opportunities by attacking with pace, and if we carry that on this weekend, I think we’ll be successful.”

Players to watch: The Cascades men’s squad, like the women, are celebrating the careers of their departing players – forward James Najman, midfielders Connor MacMillan and Justin Sekhon, and defenders Sahib Phagura and Sukh Dhaliwal. Their ceremony begins at 7:50 p.m., and Lowndes noted “they want to go out with a bang.” The T-Wolves will look to spoil the festivities, and they’re led offensively by forward Francesco Bartolillo (five goals, three assists).

Amy Davidson, Kim Bauder and Kelly Robertson are aiming to help the Cascades pick up their first win of the young season.

Amy Davidson, Kim Bauder and Kelly Robertson are aiming to help the Cascades pick up their first win of the young season.

WVB: Cascades aim to bounce back vs. Bearcats

Thursday: Cascades (0-1, 6th in PACWEST) at CBC Bearcats (0-2, 7th in PACWEST), 6 p.m., Columbia Place

Friday: Cascades vs. Bearcats, 6 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre

Webcast (pay-per-view): pacwestbc.tv

The Cascades, coming off a three-set defeat last Saturday vs. the Capilano Blues in their PACWEST opener, are looking to get in the win column against their local rivals, who are also seeking their initial victory of the campaign.

UFV head coach Mike Gilray said that the task in front of his team is to find some consistency, particularly on defence.

“In the first semester, your goal is to tighten things up on your own side of the net,” he said. “We’ve had a bit of video to watch on CBC, but I’ve watched more video of our game (vs. Capilano) and seeing how we’re moving on our side.

“Our goal every week is for everyone to be one or two per cent better, and cumulatively, that’s going to make us a tough team to play against.”

Players to watch: Cascades third-year middle Mandelyn Erikson is coming off a strong performance against Capilano – she registered 10 kills on an eye-popping 79 per cent hitting percentage. The Bearcats are led by Jodi Enns, a fourth-year outside hitter who earned PACWEST second team all-star honours last season.

Nick Bruce (5) and the Cascades are hoping to continue a recent run of success against their local rival, the CBC Bearcats.

Nick Bruce (5) and the Cascades are hoping to continue a recent run of success against their local rival, the CBC Bearcats.

MVB: Cascades aim to bounce back vs. Bearcats

Thursday: Cascades (1-0, 4th in PACWEST) at CBC Bearcats (0-2, 6th in PACWEST), 8 p.m., Columbia Place

Friday: Cascades vs. Bearcats, 8 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre

Webcast (pay-per-view): pacwestbc.tv

The Cascades went a perfect 4-0 against CBC in 2015-16, but head coach Kyle Donen expects the Bearcats to have more bite this season.

“They’re a little more experienced and deeper this year than they were last year, so I expect the rivalry to reignite in a bigger way,” Donen said.

“It’s another test for us, as far as being able to finish (sets), which is something we talked about a lot after playing Capilano (a four-set UFV win last Saturday). CBC is going to be a scrappy team, much like Cap. The difference is, whether we’re playing at home or over there, they’ll have a good group of fans in the crowd. We can’t give them life in that atmosphere.”

Players to watch: Donen came away from last weekend’s win over Cap pleased with the play of middles Dayton Pagliericci and Connor Pruim. “They’re both very good offensively, and I expect them both to have big weekends for us,” he said. The Bearcats counter with a dynamic duo of their own in veteran left sides Ben Smith and Drew Harder, who rank ninth and 12th, respectively, in the league in kills.

Rookie Amanda Thompson and her teammates will take on a top NAIA program on the road this weekend.

Rookie Amanda Thompson and her teammates will take on a top NAIA program on the road this weekend.

WBB: Hoopsters head stateside to face Warriors

Friday: Cascades at Lewis-Clark State Warriors, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday: Cascades at Lewis-Clark State Warriors, 2 p.m.

Lewiston, Idaho isn’t new territory for the Cascades by any means – the Lewis-Clark State Warriors are a frequent presence on UFV’s exhibition schedule because head coach Al Tuchscherer believes they’re a great preseason test for his team.

“Traditionally, Lewis-Clark State is one of the premier NAIA teams in the country,” Tuchscherer explained. “They’re an exceptional program and they really challenge your team in a lot of ways. They usually have great skill and size, and run some great stuff that make them difficult to play against. For us this weekend, it’s about facing those challenges and attempting to elevate our game as we continue to prepare for Canada West.”

This is the Cascades’ second-last weekend of exhibition play – they’re participating in a preseason tournament at the University of Victoria Oct. 28-29, before opening the Canada West campaign Nov. 4-5 at home vs. the Saskatchewan Huskies.

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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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