UFV Sports Friday – Hoops and Volleyball

Men’s Basketball: Five Cascades score in double figures in win over MacEwan

In a tightly contested game, it took a pair of extraordinary plays in the late going to put the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team over the top against the MacEwan Griffins.

The Cascades and Griffins battled back and forth throughout Friday’s tilt at the Envision Athletic Centre – the game featured 10 ties and 11 lead changes, and neither team led by double digits. But it was the hosts who landed the last haymakers, in the form of a thunderous dunk from Nav Bains and a three-pointer from another area code from Manny Dulay.

Bains’s two-handed throwdown started the Cascades’ decisive 12-2 run with just over four minutes left in regulation. The fourth-year centre faked a dribble handoff to Vijay Dhillon before spinning to the hoop and finishing with an authoritative cram over a Griffins defender.

The dunk tied the score 65-65 and ignited the crowd, and Dulay gave them further reason to cheer with just over two minutes remaining when he pulled up on the fast break and launched a shot from well beyond the arc. It was an audacious shot, the type most players wouldn’t even dream of trying. Never mind that Dulay was in the midst of a subpar shooting night – he would finish just 4-for-17 from the field. But the fifth-year point guard’s shot was true, revving up the crowd once again.

Those highlight-reel plays helped spark UFV to a 77-72 victory. The Cascades (4-5, 10th in Canada West) and Griffins (3-8, tied for 14th) clash again on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Envision Athletic Centre.

“Nav’s dunk is one of those things that he’ll probably remember for a long time, and it got the crowd and the team pumped up,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said afterward. “It started a run – it had been pretty tied the entire game up to that point, and we started to get a little bit of separation.

“After Nav’s play, you hope it can maybe ignite a spark. Then Manny’s shot went down, and the momentum of the game, the energy of the game changed. You look for moments like that throughout the game, and we were finally able to find a couple.”

Five Cascades scored in double figures, led by Bains with 16 points in just 20 minutes. Andrew Morris had a strong performance with 14 points off the bench, including a pivotal three-pointer in the late going, and Dhillon (13 points), Anthony Gilchrist (10 points) and Dulay (10 points, six assists) also chipped in offensively.

MacEwan’s Keith Gerdes counted four three-pointers among his game-high 20 points, and Denzel James (15 points) and Thadius Galvez (12 points) joined him in double figures.

The Cascades have had their struggles with turnovers this season, but they had just 15 on Friday compared to 16 for the Griffins. The Cascades also won the battle of the boards 44-33.

“Overall, I was happy coming out of the break,” Friesen said. “I think we, as a group, came ready to grind out the game. We needed to win the rebounding battle, we needed to win the turnover battle – we talked about that stuff all week, and I think that was a big part of the difference in the game.”

BOUNCE PASSES: The UFV athletic department honoured its first class of Cascades Hall of Famers in a pregame ceremony. Inductees included builders Pat Lee and Jane Antil, women’s basketball athletes Carolyne Lucy and Tracy MacLeod, and the 1987-88 men’s basketball team.

Women’s Basketball: Cascades fend off furious comeback from Griffins, win 73-70

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team was on cruise control through three quarters, but the MacEwan Griffins made them sweat it out down the stretch before the hosts secured a 73-70 victory on Friday at the Envision Athletic Centre.

The Cascades led by 24 points late in the third quarter behind a tremendous offensive performance from fifth-year guard/forward Kayli Sartori, who finished with a season-high 31 points. The Griffins, though, were undeterred – they battled all the way back to within a point (71-70) after their own fifth-year star, point guard Kendall Lydon, swished a high-arcing three-pointer from the right wing with nine seconds left in regulation.

MacEwan intentionally fouled UFV’s Sara Simovic on the ensuing inbounds, and she stepped to the free throw line and calmly drained both shots to provide the final margin of victory. The Griffins had a chance to tie it with another three, but were unable to get a shot off before the final buzzer.

The Cascades (6-3, tied for fifth in Canada West) and Griffins (4-7, tied for ninth) renew hostilities on Saturday evening at 5 p.m. at the EAC.

“We went into the fourth quarter up 19, and we really put on a clinic on how not to hold a lead,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said afterward. “We defensive breakdowns, and a lot of trouble with their screen-and-roll action. The momentum slipped away from us, and they just seized it. All the credit to them – they just came at us hard, never quit.”

The Cascades had dropped seven of their previous eight conference games vs. MacEwan, but dominated the first three quarters. The hosts led 17-10 after the first quarter, 39-20 at the half, and 63-39 after rookie forward Jessica Zawada drained a triple with 44 seconds left in the third.

The Griffins responded with a 15-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters, and they managed to hold the Cascades without a field goal for the entirety of the final frame. All 10 of UFV’s points came at the charity stripe.

Sartori was red-hot from downtown for the Cascades, going 5-for-6 from beyond the arc while collecting six rebounds, four assists, five steals and two blocks. The reigning Canada West scoring champ moved into second place in this season’s scoring race – she’s averaging 20.2 points per game, trailing only UBC’s Maddison Penn (21.6).

“It might have been one of Kayli’s better games tonight,” Tuchscherer noted. “She was good at both ends of the court – she rebounded, she blocked a few shots, and I thought she was really solid.”

UFV sophomore forward Taylor Claggett also had a big night, racking up 19 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Lydon and Kayla Ivicak were a prodigious one-two punch for the Griffins, registering 22 and 21 points, respectively.

The foundation of MacEwan’s comeback was their work on the boards – they outrebounded the Cascades 42-30.

“I was really pleased with the first three quarters – it was a great way to start the second half of the season,” Tuchscherer said. “That can be a bit of a foundation piece for us, for sure, moving forward. As far as tomorrow goes, I’m sure MacEwan’s going to come in super-hungry knowing that they took it to us in the fourth quarter tonight. We’ve got to be ready to fight hard.”

BOUNCE PASSES: Following the game, the UFV athletic department honoured its first class of Cascades Hall of Famers. Inductees included builders Pat Lee and Jane Antil, women’s basketball athletes Carolyne Lucy and Tracy MacLeod, and the 1987-88 men’s basketball team.

Men’s Volleyball: Cascades grind out five-set victory over Royals

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team opened the second semester with a big road win, outlasting the Douglas Royals in a five-set thriller on Friday evening.

In the earlier game on Friday, the Cascades women had dropped a five-set decision to their Douglas counterparts, including a two-point defeat in the final frame. The men’s game was a carbon copy, but this time it was the UFV squad that came out on top (21-25, 25-17, 25-17, 18-25, 16-14). Middle Connor Pruim and setter Adam Frederickson combined on a block to close out the match.

“It was like the girls game – a bit of a roller-coaster,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen said with a wry chuckle. “We came out playing well, and just didn’t finish well in the first set. Then we came out flying in the second and held onto the lead, and did the same in the third to win those two sets relatively easily. We just fell a little short of finishing in the fourth, and the fifth set, we didn’t get off to a great start.

“A couple of big plays at the end of the match, and we came out on top. It could have gone either way at the end.”

Ben Friesen racked up a team-high 18 kills for the Cascades, while Joel Kleingeltink accounted for 19 points (13 kills, six blocks, one ace). Nick Bruce pounded six aces, Prium registered six blocks, and libero Isaiah Dahl was “a defensive workhorse” in his coach’s estimation, with 23 digs.

“We had multiple guys contributing tonight at different times,” Donen enthused. “The things that stood out for me tonight were, we came up big at the net when it mattered, and we served really tough early in the match.”

The Cascades (10-3) and Royals (5-8) lock horns again on Saturday at 7 p.m. in New Westminster.

Women’s Volleyball: Cascades drop five-set heartbreaker to Royals on the road

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team and the Douglas Royals engaged in another epic match on Friday evening in New Westminster, but once again, it was the Royals who came out on top.

The three league matches between the Cascades and Royals this season have required 14 of a possible 15 sets to decide, but Douglas is a perfect 3-0 against UFV in the aftermath of Friday’s game. Such is the razor-thin margin for error in the PACWEST this season.

The Royals (10-3, tied for first place in PACWEST) won 25-20, 18-25, 25-16, 17-25, 17-15, and host a rematch against the Cascades (4-9, sixth place) at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

“We were just very inconsistent,” UFV head coach Mike Gilray analyzed. “I’d like to think our training (over the December break), getting ready for this first match, would have had us ready, but we’re definitely working through some injuries. Hopefully we can come back tomorrow and battle a little bit better.”

The Cascades were up 14-13 in the winner-take-all fifth set, but the Royals, ranked No. 6 in the nation, fended off match point and pulled ahead from there.

UFV got strong, well-rounded performances from middle Monique Huber and left side Rachel Funk. PACWEST aces leader Huber hammered five more aces on Friday, and added 11 kills. Funk registered 12 kills and 11 digs, and didn’t register a single error at the service line.

“It was a serve/serve-receive battle,” Gilray said. “Both teams are aggressive serving teams, and I think both coaches would have liked more control for most of the match whether it be serving or serve receive. It was good to get a good battle in – it wasn’t great volleyball, but there were some signs of brilliance, some great digs and some service runs.”

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