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Men’s Basketball: Hot-shooting Cascades knock off No. 6-ranked Alberta on the road

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team earned its most impressive win of the season to date, upsetting the Alberta Golden Bears 73-71 on the road in Edmonton on Friday evening.

The Golden Bears came in No. 6 in the U Sports national rankings, but the hot-shooting Cascades got a combined 12 three-pointers from Manny Dulay, Vijay Dhillon and Mark Johnson and shot 42.4 per cent from beyond the arc as a team. Defensively, UFV harassed the hosts into 35.4 per cent shooting from the field, more than 10 percentage points below their season average.

The Cascades (6-7, tied for 10th in Canada West) and Golden Bears (11-4, third place) renew hostilities on Saturday at 7 p.m. MST (webcast at ufv.canadawest.tv).

“We’ve been playing well in the second semester, and the guys are just playing with a confidence and belief and togetherness that makes us a challenging team – a team that you need to play well to beat,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said. “We were able to hit some really clutch shots down the stretch tonight to pull it out.”

The Cascades got off to a fantastic start on Friday, building a 21-10 lead at the end of the first quarter and leading by as many as 12 points in the second. The Golden Bears, though, ended the frame on a 20-8 run to knot the score 34-34 at the break.

UFV surged ahead late in the third on the strength of a 9-2 run, highlighted by a pair of treys from Johnson, and they held a modest lead for most of the fourth before Mamadou Gueye sparked a mini-rally by a Bears. The hosts led 68-67 with a minute and a half left in regulation after a pair of free throws by Geoff Pippus.

The Cascades countered, as had been their pattern all night long, via the deep ball. Johnson swished a trey from the right wing off a feed from Nav Bains to restore the UFV lead, and after Pippus missed a triple at the other end, Dhillon pulled up from the top of the arc and knocked down a cold-blooded dagger to give UFV a five-point cushion with 29.8 seconds left.

The Cascades’ perimeter shooting and defence carried them on Friday – they prevailed despite losing the rebounding battle 46-34 and being whistled for 20 personal fouls compared to just 13 for the Bears.

“Offensively, as a newer group, guys are really understanding what style of play we need to play to be successful, and what good shots are for themselves are and for each other,” Friesen analyzed. “And defensively, we obviously knew they have some tough match-ups for us. It was some level of us keeping them off-balance and making life hard on their best players, and some of their other guys having some good shots and not knocking them down tonight.”

Dulay counted five three-pointers among his team-high 20 points, Dhillon racked up 14 points, and Anthony Gilchrist scored 11. Johnson’s nine points all came from beyond the arc, and Bains pulled down a team-leading 11 boards.

Gueye scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half to keep the Golden Bears in it, Brody Clarke scored 18, and Pippus registered 14 points and 14 rebounds off the bench.

The Cascades built some confidence last Friday against the U Sports No. 5-ranked Calgary Dinos, contending deep into the fourth quarter on the road before falling 92-87. Friesen felt that performance was a building block for the breakthrough effort vs. Alberta.

“Calgary was big, because we had that moment where we could really look at each other and believe that maybe we could get wins against quality teams,” Friesen said. “We just had to learn how to close games out, and tonight, some of the big shots and big rebounds and the way we protected the basketball were improvements over last weekend, and enabled us to pull it out.”

Women’s Basketball: Pandas edge Cascades in Edmonton

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team opened a two-game set in Edmonton on Friday with a 63-51 loss at the hands of the Alberta Pandas.

The Cascades got big games from Kayli Sartori (17 points, six rebounds, two blocks) and Taylor Claggett (13 points, 10 rebounds), but the Pandas’ Shay Crisp (17 points) and Maddie Rogers (15 points) knocked down eight three-pointers between them to spark the hosts to victory.

The Pandas improved to 13-2, good for second place in Canada West, while the Cascades (8-5) are tied for seventh. The two teams lock horns again on Saturday at 5 p.m. MST (webcast at ufv.canadawest.tv).

“I was OK with our game tonight,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said afterward. “I thought we were playing one of those ugly road games, just hanging around and hanging around, and when it came time to grab the momentum, we weren’t able to.”

The Cascades struggled offensively in the first half, shooting just 22.2 per cent from the field over the first two quarters and trailed 27-19 at the break despite 10 points from Claggett.

Tuchscherer’s charges found their footing in the third quarter – they reeled off a 9-0 run midway through the frame, capped by an Amanda Thompson three-pointer, to cut the deficit to 34-33.

The Pandas, though, answered with three-pointers of their own on back-to-back possessions, courtesy Lauren Earl and Crisp, to push the lead back to seven points, and they controlled the game from that juncture.

Afterward, Tuchscherer pinpointed his team’s free throw shooting as an area that cost them on Friday. The Cascades earned 26 attempts from the charity stripe, but hit just 16 of them (61.5 per cent).

“We got to the line quite a bit, but we didn’t capitalize,” he noted. “We’ve got to get a better start tomorrow and be more efficient offensively to give ourselves a chance to get a W.”

Men’s Volleyball: Cascades stun Chargers with huge fifth-set comeback

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team left themselves precious little margin for error on Friday evening, falling behind by four points in the fifth set on the road against the Camosun Chargers.

The Cascades managed a remarkable comeback, though, erasing a 12-8 deficit and fending off three match points to claim the fifth set 18-16.

The victory (14-25, 26-24, 25-21, 23-25, 18-16) enabled UFV to improve to 14-3 and expand their lead over reigning PACWEST champion Camosun (9-6) in the race for second place in the conference. The two teams clash again on Saturday afternoon in Victoria to wrap up the two-game set (3 p.m. start, webcast at pacwestbc.tv).

“We didn’t help ourselves – we got off to an awful start in the fifth set and we were down four points at three different times,” said Cascades head coach Kyle Donen, whose team is ranked No. 8 in the nation.

“It was looking pretty dire, but at the same time, I said to the guys, ‘We were down by that much in the fifth set against Douglas earlier this year. So let’s do it again.’”

Sophomore middle Connor Pruim had a huge night for the Cascades, racking up team-high totals of 12 kills and five blocks, and combining with Adam Frederickson on the game-winning block. Left side Matt Whittall came off the bench to collect nine kills, two blocks and six digs, and Ben Friesen (11 kills), Dayton Pagliericci (nine kills) and Joel Kleingeltink (eight kills) also chipped in offensively. Libero Isaiah Dahl set the tone defensively with 23 digs.

The Cascades matched their win total from last season with seven conference games yet to play, and third-year bench boss Donen noted that Friday’s result marked his first-ever road win over perennial powerhouse Camosun.

“We’re continuing to move forward and grow as a team, and every time we step on the floor, we’re doing something different,” he said.

“We found a way to win again, that’s the biggest thing I can say. I don’t think it was our best game, and the fifth set wasn’t our best set. But we found a way to win, and that’s playing with a championship mentality.”

Women’s Volleyball: Cascades outlast Chargers in five-set thriller

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team and the Camosun Chargers brought out the best in each other on Friday evening in Victoria, engaging in an exciting five-set match that saw the Cascades emerge victorious.

The two teams alternated set wins throughout, with UFV ultimately prevailing 25-20, 20-25, 25-22, 19-25, 15-11.

The victory enabled the Cascades (6-11) to leapfrog the Chargers (5-10) for fifth place in the PACWEST standings. The two teams battle again on Friday afternoon (1 p.m., webcast at pacwestbc.tv).

“It was a very offensive match, for sure,” UFV head coach Mike Gilray said. “It was tough on the defences, because people were really swinging which was good to see.”

Kim Bauder paced the Cascades’ offence – shifted to the right side after spending most of the season on the left, she hit .441 with 15 kills and just three errors, highlighted by a crosscourt shot for the winning point in the fifth set.

Setter Jessica Funk racked up 55 assists and a team-high 12 digs, and was among four Cascades in double-figure digs along with Bauder, Amy Davidson and Rachel Funk. Left side Cassidy Pearson had a strong performance off the bench, earning critical points for UFV in the fifth, and middle Mandelyn Erikson had a team-high three blocks.

“It was a bit of an unforced errors game . . . but we responded well,” Gilray summarized. “We were making too many unforced errors in the sets we were losing. But when we stopped doing that, we were winning a higher percentage of points than they were and put ourselves in a good position to win.”

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