Abbotsford, BC – Men’s Basketball: Cascades lock it down on defence in win over T-Wolves: With high-scoring guard Vijay Dhillon sidelined due to injury, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s hoopsters put together a complete team effort to defeat the UNBC Timberwolves 62-47 on Saturday evening at the Envision Athletic Centre.

Cascades fifth-year star Kevon Parchment had another sterling all-around performance, racking up 16 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and five steals, while power forward Nate Brown matched him for team-high scoring honours with 16 points of his own.

UFV also authored a gritty defensive effort, limiting UNBC to 31.7 per cent shooting from the field. Just one T-Wolves player, Austin Chandler (10 points), managed to score in double figures.

The Cascades (8-4) tightened their grip on second place in the Explorer Division, while UNBC (3-9) fell two games off the pace in the race for a top-three position and a playoff berth that comes with that distinction.

“Our energy was better,” said UFV head coach Adam Friesen, whose team had to rally from a 14-point second-half deficit to secure a 63-56 win over UNBC on Friday. “That sort of led to a lot of good things for us. Offensively, we just weren’t as rushed.

“Yesterday they played well, but we helped them a little bit, in terms of not boxing out or turning the basketball over a lot of times. We made them work for things (tonight), and usually when you do that, you have a better chance of having success.”

Offence was slow to materialize for both teams on Saturday, as UFV held a 12-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. Fifth-year point guard Billy Cheng scored UNBC’s first eight points, but he departed due to injury and did not return.

The T-Wolves took a 20-16 lead on back-to-back buckets by Chandler, but the Cascades ended the half on a 12-0 run to take a 28-20 lead into the locker room.

UNBC hung with the hosts throughout the third quarter, but UFV locked it down defensively in the fourth – they limited the T-Wolves to two points over the first six minutes of the frame, and scored 10 of their own in the meantime to seize control.

Post players Matt Cooley (11 points, seven rebounds) and Nav Bains (10 points, eight rebounds, five assists) also scored in double figures to help the Cascades overcome the absence of Dhillon, who averages 17 points per game and leads Canada West in three-pointers made (41).

“We had that fire,” Brown said afterward, noting that his team had lost its last two Saturday games and was motivated to snap that streak. “Today, we’re at home before a road trip, obviously one of our players is out – Vijay, our star – so we all just had to step it up, including the bigs.”

Friesen, reflecting on the strong performances by Parchment and Brown, said that he’s almost taking Parchment’s stat-sheet stuffing for granted at this point.

“I don’t even notice Kevon’s stat lines anymore,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s really unfortunate, because I may not see many of those after he’s gone for the rest of my coaching career. But they’ve become so routine, I almost glance over them when I look at the box score. He’s just phenomenal in all areas of the game for us.

“Nate (coming off an ankle injury) has to work himself back into playing shape and playing rhythm, and our hope is that if he’s able to stay healthy, he’s going to continue getting back to his old form.”

The Cascades are on the road next weekend to take on the MacEwan Griffins, while the T-Wolves are at home vs. UBC Okanagan.

Women’s Basketball: Cascades cruise past T-Wolves in Tuchscherer’s 500th game

Coming off an upset loss to the UNBC Timberwolves on Friday, Kayli Sartori and the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team weren’t about to let it happen again – especially not on the occasion of Al Tuchscherer’s 500th game as head coach of the Cascades.

Canada West scoring leader Sartori was a force of nature on Saturday evening, scoring a game-high 24 points and spearheading a stellar defensive effort in UFV’s 83-56 victory at the Envision Athletic Centre.

One night after the Cascades struggled mightily on the offensive end – they shot just 22.4 per cent from the field in Friday’s 63-46 loss to UNBC – they looked like a juggernaut. UFV shot 41.5 per cent from the floor, but more importantly, they drew free throws at will. They took an eye-popping 39 free throws, with Sartori (12-for-13) and Taylor Claggett (9-for-12) leading the charge as the Cascades shot 82.1 per cent from the charity stripe.

Most telling, though, were the Cascades’ numbers in terms of defence and rebounding. They held the T-Wolves to 29.2 per cent shooting from the field, and out-boarded the visitors 46-37. The latter stat was in marked contrast to the night before, when UNBC owned the battle of the boards by a 57-33 margin.

“I told him (Tuchscherer) when we were walking out of the locker room (before the game) that there was no way we were losing,” Sartori revealed afterward. “We were going to get it done, and we were going to get it done pretty. And that’s what we did. It was an awesome night, it really was.

“All the girls were firing on all cylinders. We were hyped for the game – we wanted to play hard for him, we wanted to play hard for each other.”

The Cascades opened a 22-15 lead at the end of the first quarter behind seven points from Sartori and two three-pointers from Kaitlyn McDonald, including a buzzer-beater. They pushed the margin as high as 15 points in the second quarter before settling for a 40-28 halftime lead.

They kept the pedal to the metal after the break – five quick points from Claggett and another trey by McDonald constituted an 8-0 run late in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 25 points (61-36) and essentially draining any suspense from the proceedings.

Katie Brink made a major impact off the bench for the Cascades, posting 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting with seven rebounds. Claggett finished with 11 points, and McDonald, Shayna Cameron and Sydney Williams had nine points apiece.

Vasiliki Louka and Maria Mongomo scored 17 and 16 points, respectively, but they were the only T-Wolves to reach double figures.

“I don’t think we were as focused as we should have been in Friday night’s game,” UFV guard Hailey Kendall said. “Tonight, we kind of clicked. Everyone was finding each other, and it was a lot better.”

“It was a nice bounce-back, for sure,” Tuchscherer echoed. “And then to do it on a night like tonight, that was nice. It’s always nice to get a win, and it was a little bit of a milestone for our program, and that’s pretty cool.”

Tuchscherer has helmed the Cascades since 2002, and helped the program make the transition from Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) into Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) in 2006. He’s built the Cascades into a strong program in the Canada West conference, going to four straight Canada West Final Fours between 2011 and 2014, and winning the CIS national bronze medal in 2014. With Saturday’s win, his all-time record at UFV is 310-190 (exhibition, regular season and playoffs).

Tuchscherer was presented with the game ball and a framed photo in a post-game ceremony with UFV president Dr. Mark Evered and past president Dr. Skip Bassford, who served in the role from 1998 to 2009 and whose tenure overlapped with Tuchscherer’s hiring as head coach.

The Cascades basketball teams head to Edmonton next weekend to face the MacEwan Griffins.

Men’s Volleyball: Cascades fall to Mariners for second straight night

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyballers found themselves on the wrong end of a weekend sweep, as the Vancouver Island University Mariners downed them in straight sets on Saturday in Nanaimo.

The set scores (25-19, 28-26, 25-20) were closer than they had been on Friday – also a three-set triumph for VIU – but Cascades head coach Kyle Donen didn’t see much in the way of improvement for his squad.

“It was similar today,” he said. “There wasn’t a lot that changed (Friday to Saturday), which was tough for us, because I know we can be better than we showed.”

The weekend wins gave the Mariners (10-6) and two-game cushion on the Cascades (8-8) in the race for third place in the PacWest.

UFV’s outstanding libero Isaiah Dahl was sidelined due to injury for both weekend games, and Donen felt that his team struggled mentally to overcome the absence of their defensive security blanket.

“I think that we let one player who wasn’t able to play kind of sidetrack us too much,” Donen said. “He’s definitely a difficult player to replace, but we’re capable of being a lot better.”

Donen praised the play of fifth-year left side Robert Bauerfind, who had consistent performances in both games and even took a turn at libero in the third set on Saturday.

The UFV volleyball teams now head into a bye week. They return to action Jan. 30-31 with home games vs. the College of the Rockies Avalanche.

“We’ve got a bye week now to prepare and improve on where we finished this weekend, and we’ll come back better and stronger in the following weeks,” Donen said.

Women’s Volleyball: Cascades upset nation’s No. 2-ranked team on the road

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team fought through adversity to earn their most impressive win of the season, knocking off the Vancouver Island University Mariners in an epic five-setter on Saturday afternoon in Nanaimo.

The Mariners came in ranked No. 2 in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) national rankings, and had handled the Cascades in four sets the night before.

UFV, meanwhile, has been weathering a wave of injuries. With starting middles Monique Huber and Mandelyn Erikson already sidelined, the Cascades lost left side Kelly Robertson to a knee injury near the end of the fourth set. But though their depth was tested, the Cascades passed with flying colours, finishing off the upset victory (24-26, 25-20, 21-25, 25-21, 15-9).

UFV improves to 7-9, while PacWest-leading VIU falls to 13-3.

“The depth of our team showed – we had four first-year players on the floor in the fifth game,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray noted, alluding to middles Keira Fisher and Brielle Campbell, left side Chelsea Kidd, and right side Kara Williams. “For those girls to be come in and be able to compete was awesome.

“Overall, a great team win.”

The Mariners clawed out a two-point triumph in the first set and built a 19-16 edge in the second, but the Cascades responded with a 9-1 run to close out the set and get back on even terms.

VIU scored the last four points in the third to win 25-21, but UFV responded with a 25-21 win of its own in the fourth.

Cascades fifth-year setter Nicole Blandford was red-hot from the service line throughout the game, and she sparked her squad in the fifth set, staking them to a quick 5-0 lead. The Mariners were never able to get the deficit below three points.

“Nicole had just an unbelievable game from the service line,” Gilray enthused. “She dominated every time she went back.

“I think we’ve shown in our last three weekends that if we’re into the game and focus, we can compete with anyone in the PacWest.”

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