Weekend preview: Senior Night highlights home hoops set vs. UVic, rugby sevens squad plays at UBC

The University of the Fraser Valley basketball teams host their final regular-season home games this weekend vs. the Victoria Vikes, while the women’s rugby sevens squad heads to Vancouver for the second of three Canada West tournaments.

Saturday’s basketball games are particularly significant, as the Cascades will be celebrating three graduating fifth-year athletes: Kayli Sartori, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon. They will be honoured in an on-court Senior Night ceremony between games, immediately after the women’s game finishes and before the men’s teams warm up.

The Cascades are also offering a promotion for current UFV students – the first 20 students through the door on Friday and Saturday will receive a free slice of pizza, popcorn and pop.

WBB: Cascades, Vikes jockeying for playoff seeding

Kayli Sartori (7, in white) will be playing her final regular-season home games this weekend.

Friday: Cascades (10-6, T-7th in Canada West) vs. Victoria Vikes (11-5, 6th in Canada West), 6 p.m.

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

Envision Athletic Centre

Webcast: ufv.canadawest.tv

Radio: CIVL 101.7 FM, CIVL.ca

The Cascades and Vikes are side-by-side in the standings, and this weekend’s results will go a long way towards determining playoff seeding. Both teams have already secured post-season berths.

“Victoria has a veteran team with a real tough frontcourt and a couple guards who can shoot the ball, and they have some depth coming off their bench,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “There are a lot of challenges playing against a team like that. We’re going to need to have our starters play great, but we’re also going to need to have some of our kids coming off the bench contribute heavily if we’re going to have some success this weekend.”

Players to watch: Cascades fifth-year guard/forward Kayli Sartori will go down as of the all-time greats in UFV women’s basketball history, and she’s putting the finishing touches on another outstanding season. The Chilliwack, B.C. product sits second in Canada West scoring (18.1 points per game) and is also among the leaders in steals (3.2, fourth), blocks (1.1, seventh), assists (3.1, eighth) and rebounds (7.2, 15th). The Vikes are led by a fifth-year star of their own in Jenna Bugiardini – the 5’11” forward is second in the conference in rebounding (9.6 per game) and ninth in scoring (15.8).

MBB: Cascades, Vikes looking to boost their playoff prospects

UFV backcourt mates Vijay Dhillon (above) and Manny Dulay will be honoured on Senior Night.

Friday: Cascades (7-9, T-9th in Canada West) vs. Victoria Vikes (7-9, T-9th in Canada West), 8 p.m.

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

Envision Athletic Centre

Webcast: ufv.canadawest.tv

Radio: CIVL 101.7 FM, CIVL.ca

While the UFV and UVic women’s hoopsters have playoff berths locked up, their male counterparts both have work to do. The Cascades and Vikes come into the weekend with matching 7-9 records, which leaves them in a four-way tie with Mount Royal and Regina for ninth through 12th place. Only 12 teams make the Canada West playoffs, so they’re effectively on the bubble, albeit on the right side currently.

“We need to play with the same energy we’ve been playing with, but with a different understanding that we’ve got to protect the paint a little bit better,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said. “That was a takeaway from last weekend (as the Cascades split a pair of games vs. Thompson Rivers). Vic tries to grind it out, and games like that come down to a possession here or there. Whoever wins the battles in the paint gives themselves a better chance to win.”

Players to watch: The Cascades will be waving goodbye to a pair of local products in Manny Dulay (Surrey, B.C.) and Vijay Dhillon (Richmond, B.C.) on Senior Night. The duo ranks one-two in team scoring, averaging 16.8 and 11.5 points per game, respectively, and they’re arguably the best long-distance shooting backcourt in the conference, both shooting better than 40 per cent beyond the arc on a combined 15.5 attempts per game. The Vikes’ 6’9” fifth-year forward Grant Sitton is also a sharpshooter extraordinaire – he’s fifth in the conference in scoring (18.4 points per game) and hits 37.7 per cent from three-point range.

WRUG7: Cascades aim to make strides at UBC tourney

Chelsea Fowler and the Cascades women’s rugby sevens squad is set to embark on its second tourney. (Don Voaklander file photo)

Saturday: Cascades vs. Calgary, 9 a.m.; Cascades vs. Lethbridge, 10:55 a.m.; Cascades vs. UBC, 12:30 p.m.

Sunday: Cascades vs. Alberta, 9:50 a.m.; Cascades vs. Victoria, 12:40 p.m.; placing games to follow

Gerald McGavin UBC Rugby Centre, Vancouver B.C.

The Cascades, coming off a sixth-place finish at the inaugural Canada West Women’s Rugby Sevens tournament in Edmonton last month, look to continue to take steps forward during the second event at UBC.

Head coach Jen Ross noted that this weekend will have a slightly different feel as games will be played outdoors on grass, as opposed to indoors on turf like the first tourney.

“All of the girls are feeling a bit more confident going into this weekend, because they know what the competition is like,” she said. “They’ve lost that intimidation factor, and in our training you can see our skill level and team cohesiveness is increasing.”

Player to watch: Both of the Cascades’ tries at the inaugural Canada West event were scored by Chelsea Fowler, and the B.C. U23 sevens team member will be looking to apply her skill and experience effectively once again at UBC.

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