WEEKEND PREVIEW: Cascades basketball, wrestling, volleyball teams hit the road

It’s shaping up to be a quiet weekend around the Envision Financial Athletic Centre, but the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades have plenty of work to do. They’ll just do it on the road.

The Cascades basketball, wrestling and volleyball teams are in Kamloops, Edmonton and Victoria, respectively, for crucial league competitions.

MBB: Cascades continue playoff push vs. WolfPack

Freshman point guard Vick Toor and the Cascades are battling for a playoff berth.

Friday, Jan. 12: Cascades (5-9, T-12th in Canada West) at Thompson Rivers WolfPack (7-7, 7th in Canada West), 8 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 13: Cascades at WolfPack, 7 p.m.

Webcast: CanadaWest.tv

The Cascades men’s hoopsters, coming off a split last weekend vs. Trinity Western, are currently tied for the 12th and final Canada West playoff berth with the Winnipeg Wesmen. They’re looking to bolster their fortunes against a red-hot Thompson Rivers squad which is riding a five-game win streak, highlighted by a road sweep of the Victoria Vikes last weekend.

“They’re really playing to their strengths,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said of the WolfPack. “They’re a tough team, and they play really well together. For us, we need to play well on defence. We’re going to have to locate their shooters and make life difficult for Joe Davis and Luke Morris.”

Players to watch: The Cascades’ Parmvir Bains is coming off a breakthrough weekend. The 5’10” guard, who began the season as a redshirt before joining the active roster in December, scored 13 points in exceedingly efficient fashion (4-of-6 from the field, 3-of-4 from beyond the arc) to go with four rebounds, four assists, two steals and zero turnovers in last Thursday’s 104-80 win over TWU. On Friday, Bains obliterated his previous career highs, racking up 33 points (10-of-16 from the field, 7-of-11 from three) along with four rebounds, three assists and a steal in an 80-74 UFV loss to the Spartans. The WolfPack counter with five players who average double-digit scoring, led by Luke Morris (15.4 points, 8.4 rebounds per game).

WBB: Crunch time for Cascades

Taylor Claggett and the Cascades women’s hoopsters have work to do in order to punch their playoff ticket.

Friday, Jan. 12: Cascades (4-10, 13th in Canada West) at Thompson Rivers WolfPack (7-7, 9th in Canada West), 6 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 13: Cascades at WolfPack, 5 p.m.

Webcast: CanadaWest.tv

The Cascades, sitting 13th in Canada West going into the weekend, find themselves on the wrong side of the playoff bubble. So with six conference games left on their schedule, there’s no shortage of urgency as they gear up to face the rival WolfPack on the road.

“Going up to Kamloops is always a highlight of the year,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “It’s a competitive environment and both teams always seem to get excited to play each other. We obviously have our backs to the wall a little bit with our current record, and it would be nice to get back to playing some good basketball – playing together and sharing the ball, and playing a little bit better defence.”

Players to watch: Cascades forward Katelyn Mallette has been quietly fashioning a very good rookie season. She’s tied for fifth in Canada West in blocked shots (0.9 per game), to go with 5.0 points on 52.8 per cent shooting, in 19.7 minutes per game. For the WolfPack, fourth-year guard Michelle Bos is the only player averaging double-digit points. The versatile Surrey, B.C. product is posting 11.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.

WRES: Cascades off to Golden Bears Invitational

Karla Godinez Gonzalez, the reigning conference female rookie of the year, is gearing up for the stretch drive of the Canada West wrestling season.

Saturday, Jan. 13: Cascades at Golden Bears Invitational, 9 a.m. MT start, University of  Alberta

The Cascades wrestlers resume their Canada West conference schedule this week, as they travel to Edmonton for the Golden Bears Invitational.

The event marks the start of the stretch drive for wrestling, with three more major tournaments on the horizon: UFV’s own Cascades Classic (Jan. 28), the Canada West championships (Feb. 9-10, Edmonton), and the U SPORTS national championships (Feb. 23-24, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.).

“It’s going to be a little bit different than our last Canada West tournament,” Cascades head coach Raj Virdi said, alluding to the Calgary Dino Invitational back in October. “Everyone will have their No. 1’s in all the weight classes, and it’ll be more like what you’ll see at the Canada West championships.”

Wrestlers to watch: Highly touted rookie Ana Godinez Gonzalez (63 kg) is set to make her conference debut for the Cascades after being sidelined for much of the fall with a leg injury. On the men’s side, Virdi is considering resting 2017 U SPORTS national champ Brad Hildenbrandt this weekend, which thrusts UFV’s crop of outstanding rookies into the limelight. Freshman Karan Dhillon (72 kg) has been outstanding of late, winning four of six matches at exhibition events over the Christmas break.

MVB: Cascades look to stay hot vs. Chargers

Nick Bruce has been red-hot for the Cascades of late, earning his second PACWEST men’s volleyball athlete of the week award.

Friday, Jan. 12: No. 14 Cascades (8-6, 3rd in PACWEST) at Camosun Chargers (5-7, 4th in PACWEST), 8 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 13: Cascades at Chargers, 3 p.m.

Webcast: pacwestbc.tv

The UFV men’s volleyball team is on a roll, having won six of its last seven games. The Cascades’ lone loss during that stretch came at the hands of the nation’s current No. 3-ranked team, the VIU Mariners.

They’re off to the provincial capital this weekend to face a Camosun Chargers squad which is playing well in its own right. They’re on a three-game win streak dating back to last semester, though they’re coming off a bye week and haven’t yet had a league match in 2018.

“We’re always excited to play that team, and we’ve generally had some great rivalry matches against them,” UFV head coach Kyle Donen said of the Chargers, who split a pair of five-set thrillers with the Cascades back in October in Abbotsford. “I don’t expect anything different this week. I know the guys are excited about the match-up.”

Players to watch: Cascades left side Nick Bruce picked up his second PACWEST men’s volleyball athlete of the week award of the season after leading his team to a road sweep of the Douglas Royals. For the weekend, Bruce racked up 29 total points, good for a 4.14 points-per-set average, while hitting .386. The dynamic fifth-year player from Surrey, B.C. has been one of the PACWEST’s most potent offensive threats this season, sitting fifth in total offence (4.04 points/set) and ranking in the top 15 in kills, aces, blocks and digs. The Chargers have been led offensively by sophomore left side Jerome Cross, who ranks just ahead of Bruce on the conference’s total offence list (4.20 points/set).

WVB: Chargers seek first win at Cascades’ expense

Keira Fisher, Monique Huber and the Cascades are looking to solidify their grip on third place in the PACWEST.

Friday, Jan. 12: No. 7 Cascades (8-6, T-3rd in PACWEST) at Camosun Chargers (0-12, 7th in PACWEST), 6 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 13: Cascades at Chargers, 1 p.m.

Webcast: pacwestbc.tv

The Cascades, No. 7 in the CCAA national rankings, showed their high-end potential last weekend as they earned a split on the road against the Douglas Royals, ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time (currently No. 3).

Their opponent this weekend is at the opposite end of the standings. The Chargers, last season’s CCAA silver medalists, are in rebuilding mode and are still seeking their first win of the 2017-18 campaign.

“It’s going to be a real test against a team that will be super-hungry to get their first win,” UFV head coach Mike Gilray said. “Camosun was close in multiple games in the first semester.

“We’re super-excited about the road trip. It’s nice to get one early in the second semester. As much as the girls have some homework to do, the ability to hang out together on the ferry and in the hotel is great for the team.”

Players to watch: Third-year Cascades middle/right side Keira Fisher had an outstanding performance last Friday to spark the Cascades to a four-set upset victory over Douglas. Playing in the middle, she racked up 10 kills against just one hitting error, and her efficiency was critical to the Cascades’ success that night. The Chargers, meanwhile, get a great deal of production and leadership from Stephanie Galitzine. One of just two third-year players on a rookie-laden roster, the outside hitter leads her team with 3.13 points per set of total offence, good for ninth in the PACWEST.

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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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