The University of the Fraser Valley basketball, volleyball and wrestling teams wrap up their pre-Christmas schedules on the road this weekend.
The Cascades hoopsters are headed to Manitoba to face the Brandon Bobcats in a Friday/Saturday set, while the volleyball squads visit the Capilano Blues on Thursday. The UFV wrestlers, meanwhile, head to Burnaby for the SFU Clan International.
WBB: Cascades look to maintain momentum
Friday: Cascades (4-2, T-5th in Canada West) at Brandon Bobcats (2-6, T-12th in Canada West), 6 p.m. CST
Saturday: Cascades vs. Bobcats, 5 p.m. CST
The weekend jaunt to Brandon represents the first true road trip of the regular season for the Cascades basketball teams. Five of their first six Canada West games were at the Envision Athletic Centre; the other was just down the road in Langley vs. the Trinity Western Spartans.
“There’s a lot of challenges associated with travel,” Cascades women’s head coach Al Tuchscherer noted, looking ahead to what will be his team’s longest trip of the season. “We’ll kind of learn on the fly here. We’re playing a really explosive high-scoring team in Brandon. They have a great backcourt which will pose some issues for us for sure. We need to be on top of our game to have any success.”
Tuchscherer’s squad is coming off a crucial homecourt sweep of the UNBC Timberwolves last weekend, and will be looking to maintain that momentum as they approach the semester break.
Players to watch: Two of the top scorers in the conference go head-to-head this weekend. Reigning Canada West scoring champ Kayli Sartori of the Cascades finished one assist shy of a triple-double in her last outing – she notched 20 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and five steals in Saturday’s 75-63 win over UNBC. The Chilliwack, B.C. product currently sits fourth in Canada West in scoring (17.0 points per game) and ranks no lower than 11th overall in assists, rebounds, steals and blocks. One of just three players Sartori is looking up on the scoring list is Brandon’s Keisha Cox – the fourth-year guard’s 18.5 points per game are good for second in the conference.
MBB: Cascades aim to get back on track
Friday: Cascades (2-4, 12th in Canada West) at Brandon Bobcats (2-6, T-13th in Canada West), 8 p.m. CST
Saturday: Cascades vs. Bobcats, 7 p.m. CST
The Cascades were on the wrong end of a sweep last weekend vs. UNBC, and they’ll be looking to head into Christmas on a high note against the Bobcats. Brandon enters the weekend on a four-game losing skid.
“We’re looking to rebound after a disappointing stretch of games, and really make sure our effort level is where it needs to be,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said.
“It’s our first serious road weekend, so that’ll be a new experience for the group. Brandon’s an athletic team that’s going to challenge us with their ability to get up and down the floor.”
Players to watch: Fifth-year point guard Manny Dulay was a bright spot for the Cascades in Saturday’s loss to UNBC, swishing five three-pointers en route to a team-high 22 points. He’s currently leading Canada West in assists (5.7 per game) and three-pointers made per game (3.5). Defensively, UFV will be looking to slow down the Bobcats’ Tyvon Cooper – the sophomore guard is dangerous both beyond the arc and driving to the basket, and sits seventh in conference in scoring at 18.3 points per game.
WRES: Young squad continues its development at SFU tourney
Saturday: Cascades at SFU Clan International, 9 a.m. PST
The UFV wrestlers hit the mats at Simon Fraser University this weekend for the Clan International, an open tournament hosted by the Burnaby-based NCAA Div. 2 program which draws teams from Western Canada and south of the border.
“We get to compete against some familiar opponents, and some we haven’t seen,” Cascades co-head coach Arjan Bhullar noted.
“Every time you compete it’s important, but it’s also part of the process in terms of development heading into the second half of the season, which is when we want them to peak.”
The Cascades men’s wrestling team is currently No. 10 in the U Sports national rankings.
Wrestlers to watch: Brad Hildenbrandt (130 kg) is the veteran leader for the Cascades men’s squad, and he picked up a silver medal at the team’s lone Canada West tournament to date, the Dinos Invitational in late October. On the women’s side, second-year Cascade Pravi Dhaliwal (63 kg) is poised to make her season debut after being sidelined for much of the fall due to injury.
WVB: Cascades, Blues battle in make-up game
Thursday: Cascades (3-8, 6th in PACWEST) at Capilano Blues (7-4, 3rd in PACWEST), 6 p.m. PST
Thursday’s volleyball matches at Capilano are make-up games – the Cascades and Blues had their scheduled PACWEST opener on Oct. 14 cancelled due to storm-related power outages.
The Cascades women’s squad is coming off an up-and-down weekend against the College of the Rockies Avalanche. They won in three straight sets on Saturday, then suffered a let-down on Sunday and fell in four sets. Capilano, meanwhile, is coming off a pair of critical wins over Camosun to strengthen their grip on third place in the conference. They defeated the Cascades in three sets on Oct. 15 in their only prior meeting this season.
“In all three (sets), we had the lead,” UFV head coach Mike Gilray said, reflecting on that head-to-head clash. “It was the start of the year . . . and I don’t know if our mindset was right going into the end of the game, but we allowed them to come back and take the win from us. That gave us a wakeup call that hey, we still have work to do.
“I think the best part of this first semester for us is, we’re recognizing that our depth is a key. If something’s not rolling, we’re able to make a change and stay strong.”
Players to watch: UFV third-year left side Rachel Funk climbed to No. 8 on the PACWEST total offence list after a strong weekend against College of the Rockies. She’s accounting for 3.33 points per set, and is also among the conference leaders in kills (2.88/set, sixth), digs (3.02/set, eighth) and aces (0.31/set, 12th). The Blues have the reigning PACWEST female volleyball athlete of the week in fifth-year right side Kira Sutcliffe, who ranks fourth in total offence (3.78 points/set).
MVB: Cascades look to regain form vs. Blues
Thursday: Cascades (8-3, 2nd in PACWEST) at Capilano Blues (4-7, 6th in PACWEST), 8 p.m. PST
The Cascades saw a five-game win streak snapped on Sunday vs. College of the Rockies, and Thursday’s clash with Capilano gives them a chance to regain that winning feeling heading into the break.
Despite the loss, head coach Kyle Donen’s squad maintained its spot at No. 8 in the CCAA national rankings this week.
Capilano has played the top teams in the PACWEST extremely tough this season – two weeks ago, they handed former CCAA No. 1 Vancouver Island University its first loss of the campaign.
“We want to finish off the semester a little better than the game we played over the weekend,” Donen noted. “I think it’s a good opponent for us, with the way they’ve been playing. They’ve been battling really well, playing with a lot of energy, and hopefully that’s something that gets us excited. And I think the way we played (Sunday vs. COTR) will give us that extra motivation.”
Players to watch: Fifth-year right side Joel Kleingeltink is making his final season as a Cascade one to remember. The Langley, B.C. product is among the league leaders in total offence (4.10 points/set, third), blocks (0.70/set, T-third), kills (2.98/set, fifth) and aces (0.43/set, fifth). Justin Yee has been the Blues’ most dangerous attacker – he’s eighth in the PACWEST in total offence (3.26 points/set).