The University of the Fraser Valley basketball teams renew their rivalry with the Trinity Western Spartans in a home-and-home set this weekend, while the Cascades volleyball teams host the Douglas Royals.
Proceeds from the Cascades’ concession on Friday will be donated to charity as part of a fourth-year business class project. READ MORE
WBB: Cascades aim to continue early-season progress vs. TWU
Friday: Cascades (1-1, T-7th in Canada West) vs. Trinity Western Spartans (2-0, T-1st in Canada West), 6 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre
Saturday: Cascades at Spartans, 5 p.m., Langley Events Centre
The Cascades basketball teams haven’t faced the Spartans in conference play since 2013-14 – the two teams were in separate divisions the past two seasons. But with Canada West moving to a new divisional format, the local rivals get to lock horns once again.
The Spartans had a solid start to the regular season, sweeping a pair of road games vs. UBC Okanagan. The Cascades, meanwhile, are coming off a promising weekend which saw them split a pair of games against the defending national champion Saskatchewan Huskies. Head coach Al Tuchscherer’s charges performed particularly well at the defensive end of the floor – through two games, they lead Canada West in opponents’ field goal percentage (24.6 per cent).
Looking ahead to the Spartans, Tuchscherer lauded the job that his TWU counterpart Cheryl Jean-Paul has done shaping a youthful roster.
“She’s brought in some elite players, and it’s a huge challenge to guard their lineup,” he said. “They start four guard-type players and then Tessa Ratzlaff at the five (centre) who’s a super-mobile big body, and it’s a real tough match-up.
“Hopefully we can build on the defensive effort we had last week – just forcing them to take tough shots and limiting second chances. Then we need to execute better offensively than we did last week.”
Players to watch: There’s a fascinating match-up in the post, where Cascades sophomore forward Taylor Claggett will clash with her former high school teammate Tessa Ratzlaff. Both players are graduates of Abbotsford’s Mennonite Educational Institute. Claggett is coming off a tremendous rookie season which saw her earn Canada West all-rookie honours, and she’s currently averaging 9.5 points, 9.0 rebounds (tied for seventh in Canada West) and 3.5 assists (T-6th in CW) per game. Ratzlaff, meanwhile, was red-hot on opening weekend and is the early-season conference scoring leader at 24.0 points per game.
MBB: Cascades, Spartans renew hostilities
Friday: Cascades (1-1, T-5th in Canada West) vs. Trinity Western Spartans (1-1, T-5th in Canada West), 8 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre
Saturday: Cascades at Spartans, 7 p.m., Langley Events Centre
The Cascades men’s hoopsters, like their female counterparts, had a strong start to the season at the defensive end in a weekend split with Saskatchewan. Through two games, head coach Adam Friesen’s squad ranks second in the conference in opponents’ field goal percentage (34.7 per cent) and third in points allowed (64.0 per game).
The Spartans, meanwhile, are coming off a split of their own – they fell to UBCO last Friday, but bounced back for a 79-74 win on Saturday.
Friesen described the Spartans as “a youthful team that plays with a lot of energy.”
“We expect them to play at a fast tempo and be a gritty team that battles the full 40 minutes,” he said. “We’re looking to continue the defensive identity that we started last weekend, and offensively, we’re going to try to continue to get better every week and cut down on our turnovers.”
Players to watch: Cascades newcomer Anthony Gilchrist showed his worth on Saturday, coming off the bench to register 13 points (6-of-11 shooting from the field) in 26 minutes against the Huskies. The 6’4” swingman brings tremendous athleticism which benefits the UFV squad both defensively and offensively. For the Spartans, Abbotsford product Patrick Vandervelden sparked the team to victory over UBCO last Saturday – the 6’10” forward out of Yale Secondary racked up a team-high 18 points (7-of-11 from the field) in just 22 minutes.
WVB: Cascades hope to build on last week’s success vs. Douglas
Friday: Cascades (2-5, 5th in PACWEST) vs. Douglas Royals (5-1, 2nd in PACWEST), 6 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre (North Gym)
Saturday: Cascades vs. Royals, 5 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre (South Gym)
The Cascades picked up a momentum-boosting victory last Saturday over the Camosun Chargers – No. 10 in the CCAA national rankings at the time – and they hope to build on that performance against another ranked foe. The Royals currently sit No. 5 in the nation.
“We need to move on from here and let last weekend be the bar that we strive for,” UFV head coach Mike Gilray said.
Gilray noted that Douglas is an imposing team at the net – they have four players ranked among the top 15 in blocking in the PACWEST.
“Douglas has had a good start, and they’re well-known for being prepared,” he said. “I’d say the reason they’re at where they are is their ball control has been very consistent at the start of the year, and that’s different than most teams. It’s allowed them to make fewer errors.”
Players to watch: Cascades outside hitter Rachel Funk is coming off a tremendous weekend against Camosun – she racked up 14 kills on Friday and 16 more on Saturday, and paced UFV’s serve receive with 23 digs in the two games combined. Funk leads the Cascades in kills (2.96/set, fifth in PACWEST) and total offence (3.31 points/set, eighth in PACWEST). Ex-Cascade Juliana Penner has been a dynamic presence for the Royals – she’s second in the conference in total offence (3.83 points/set) and also ranks among the top 15 in kills, aces and blocks.
MVB: Cascades aim to continue ascent against Royals
Friday: Cascades (5-2, 2nd in PACWEST) vs. Douglas Royals (4-2, 3rd in PACWEST), 8 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre (North Gym)
Saturday: Cascades vs. Royals, 7 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre (South Gym)
It’s still early in the season, but this weekend’s results could go a long way towards determining who earns a first-round playoff bye. The Cascades enter the weekend in second place, while the Royals are just a half-game back in third.
“We want to continue to hold our home court,” Donen said, alluding to the fact that his squad is a perfect 4-0 on the Abbotsford campus. “We just had two really good games in our own gym, and we’re feeling good about our game. I think we’ve gotten better every weekend we’ve played. Beating Camosun was a high point, and we’re hoping to keep the engine going this weekend. A key for us will be getting a quick start on Friday, because Douglas had last weekend off.”
Players to watch: Cascades second-year left side Ben Friesen had a dominant weekend against the Chargers – he racked up 33 kills on a .458 hitting percentage in the two victories, en route to PACWEST men’s volleyball athlete of the week honours. He’s currently third in the conference in kills (3.12/set) and seventh in total offence (3.44 points/set). Douglas has a couple of dynamic sophomore outside hitters of their own – Justin Faester and Devon Dunn are tied for the team lead in total offence (3.04 points/set, T-12 in PACWEST).