Weekend preview: Cascades basketball teams host UNBC, volleyballers take on COTR

The University of the Fraser Valley basketball and volleyball teams host their final home games of the fall semester this weekend.

The Cascades hoopsters face the UNBC Timberwolves in Canada West league games on Friday and Saturday at the Envision Athletic Centre, and the volleyballers welcome the College of the Rockies Avalanche on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday’s festivities include the Cascades’ annual high school three-point shooting competition. Visit ufvcascades.ca/3pt-contest for more information or to register.

MBB: Cascades aim to stop T-Wolves’ win streak

Vijay Dhillon and the Cascades host UNBC this weekend.

Vijay Dhillon and the Cascades host UNBC this weekend.

Friday: Cascades (2-2, T-8th in Canada West) vs. UNBC Timberwolves (2-4, T-9th in Canada West), 8 p.m.

Saturday: Cascades vs. Timberwolves, 7 p.m.

Envision Athletic Centre (South Gym)

Webcast: ufv.canadawest.tv

The Cascades are coming off a bye week, and they face a UNBC squad which picked up its first two wins of the Canada West campaign last weekend at home vs. Trinity Western.

Fans can expect some pyrotechnics from beyond the arc – the Timberwolves have hoisted a conference-leading 176 three-pointers through their first six games, and while the Cascades have played just four games to date, they rank fourth in attempted threes on a per-game basis.

“They present a big challenge to us, in terms of the amount of guys they have that can shoot the ball from the three-point line and penetrate as well,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said. “We’ve got to try to score some inside, and be able to run in transition off of their missed perimeter shots.”

Players to watch: Fifth-year point guard Manny Dulay has been the Cascades’ offensive catalyst – he’s leading Canada West in assists (6.5 per game) and three-pointers made per game (3.8), and ranks 12th in scoring (16.3 points per game). UNBC has an outstanding fifth-year guard of their own in Rhys Elliott – the Australian is tied for fifth in the conference in scoring at 19.5 points per game.

WBB: Cascades will need to be sharp vs. T-Wolves

The Cascades women's basketball team plays its final home games of the calendar year against UNBC.

The Cascades women’s basketball team plays its final home games of the calendar year against UNBC.

Friday: Cascades (2-2, T-8th in Canada West) vs. UNBC Timberwolves (1-5, T-14th in Canada West), 6 p.m.

Saturday: Cascades vs. Timberwolves, 5 p.m.

Envision Athletic Centre (South Gym)

Webcast: ufv.canadawest.tv

The Cascades’ opponent this weekend is tied for last place in Canada West, but these T-Wolves aren’t to be taken lightly. They’ve faced a tough schedule in the early going, including four hard-fought games against Winnipeg and Alberta, who are currently tied for first place in the conference. UNBC, furthermore, is coming off its first win last Saturday, an 82-81 decision over Trinity Western which saw them erase an 18-point deficit over the last six minutes of regulation.

Add it all up, and UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer believes that the T-Wolves are much better than their 1-5 record would indicate.

“It’s a team that has a lot of size, and they gave us a lot of problems last season,” Tuchscherer said, alluding to the fact that UNBC earned a weekend split in Abbotsford in January. “Maria Mongomo and Vasiliki Louka and newcomer Madison Landry pose all sorts of problems defensively for us. Coming off a bye, hopefully we can address some of the shortcomings from our last game (a 65-51 loss at TWU).”

Players to watch: Fourth-year guard Sara Simovic transferred to UFV from Vancouver Island University over the summer, and she’s beginning to find her comfort zone as the Cascades’ starting point guard. The Nanaimo, B.C. product scored in double figures in back-to-back games vs. Trinity Western two weeks ago, and she’s averaging a team-high 2.8 assists per game. UNBC second-year guard Maria Mongomo has been hard on the Cascades in the past – she averaged 17 points in two games against UFV last season, and she’s averaging a team-high 15.3 points per game this fall.

MVB: Cascades look to extend home-court dominance

The Cascades men's volleyball team is a perfect 6-0 at home this season.

The Cascades men’s volleyball team is a perfect 6-0 at home this season.

Saturday: Cascades (7-2, 2nd in PACWEST) vs. College of the Rockies Avalanche (3-5, 6th in PACWEST), 7 p.m.

Sunday: Cascades vs. Avalanche, 1 p.m.

Envision Athletic Centre (North Gym on Saturday, South Gym on Sunday)

Webcast: pacwestbc.tv

Coming off a bye week, the Cascades maintain the No. 8 spot in the CCAA national rankings. They’re a perfect 6-0 at home, and will look to continue their complete control of the proceedings at the Envision Athletic Centre this weekend.

“Our home crowd support has been great so far this year, and our guys have a different level of comfort in our own gym,” UFV head coach Kyle Donen said. “They get to sleep in their own beds, and they don’t have far to travel to get to the gym. All of those little pieces help, and we want to continue that trend this weekend.”

Donen believes the Cascades will have extra motivation against an Avalanche squad which ended their 2015-16 season in the PACWEST quarter-finals.

“I hope that gives some extra fire to our guys,” Donen said.

Players to watch: The last time the Cascades played (Nov. 11-12 vs. Douglas), Nick Bruce earned PACWEST men’s volleyball athlete of the week honours. The fourth-year outside hitter from Surrey, B.C. currently ranks 15th in the league in total offence (2.84 points/set) and second in aces (0.52/set). Both of those statistical categories, incidentally, are led by UFV’s Joel Kleingeltink (4.28 points/set, 0.53 aces/set). The Avalanche counter with an outstanding outside hitter of their own in Australian Patrik Toze – the sophomore ranks among the conference leaders in kills (2.77/set, seventh), aces (0.37/set, seventh) and total offence (3.50 points/set, sixth).

WVB: Cascades aim to stop T-Wolves’ win streak

Amy Davidson, Kim Bauder, Kelly Robertson and the Cascades are taking on College of the Rockies in a pair of games with huge playoff implications.

Amy Davidson, Kim Bauder, Kelly Robertson and the Cascades are taking on College of the Rockies in a pair of games with huge playoff implications.

Saturday: Cascades (2-7, 6th in PACWEST) vs. College of the Rockies Avalanche (2-6, 5th in PACWEST), 5 p.m.

Sunday: Cascades vs. Avalanche, 11 a.m.

Envision Athletic Centre (North Gym on Saturday, South Gym on Sunday)

Webcast: pacwestbc.tv

The PACWEST season is still in the relatively early stages, but the Avalanche’s sojourn in Abbotsford this week will go a long way towards determining who secures playoff positions in the spring.

The Avalanche, Cascades and Columbia Bible College Bearcats (2-8) occupy fifth through seventh places in the conference, and all have two wins to date. Only six PACWEST teams advance to the post-season. COTR plays each of the Abby teams twice this week – Thursday/Friday at CBC, and Saturday/Sunday at UFV.

“We’ve had a week off, and we’ve put the work in to stay fresh and build on what we’ve been doing,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray said. “Our results haven’t been what we’d want them to be, but we’re encouraged by the improvement we’ve been seeing in practice.

“COTR has had some turnover (since going to CCAA nationals last year), but their coach (John Swanson) has done a good job of recruiting and he’s really putting his stamp on that program. We’re excited to get back on the court.”

Players to watch: Kim Bauder, a transfer from Memorial University, has made a huge impact with the Cascades this fall. The left side from Langley, B.C. is among the conference leaders in kills (2.28/set, 11th) and digs (3.06/set, seventh), and she’s coming off back-to-back 11-kill efforts against the Douglas Royals. The Avalanche’s chief offensive threat is third-year right side Mikaela Pushor – she’s 13th in the PACWEST in total offence (2.91 points/set) and tied for 14th in kills (2.15/set).

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