Men’s Basketball: Golden Bears overcome Dulay’s red-hot shooting to earn weekend split with Cascades

A preposterous shooting performance from Manny Dulay wasn’t enough to secure a weekend sweep for the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team, as they fell 95-78 to the Alberta Golden Bears in Edmonton on Saturday.

Dulay, the Cascades’ fifth-year point guard from Surrey, B.C., swished eight of his 10 attempts from beyond the three-point arc en route to a game-high 27 points. He currently leads the nation in three-pointers made this season with 55, and came within one triple of tying his single-game career high of nine (Jan. 31, 2015 vs. the Mount Royal Cougars). Dulay, who hit five treys in Friday’s 73-71 upset win over the U Sports No. 6-ranked Golden Bears, now sits fifth on the Canada West all-time list with 219 career three-pointers.

Fuelled by Dulay’s barrage, the Cascades shot 53.8 per cent (14-for-26) from downtown on Saturday, but the Bears hung with them in that department, shooting 44.8 per cent (13-for-29) themselves.

Six Alberta players scored in double figures, led by Mamadou Gueye’s 18, while Denver Sparks-Guest (15 points, 3-of-5 from three) was the only Cascade aside from Dulay to achieve that distinction.

The Golden Bears’ prowess on the boards was the difference – they hauled down 44 rebounds compared to just 26 for the Cascades.

UFV (6-8) is tied for 11th in Canada West, while Alberta (12-4) sits second.

“We knew the last two weekends (vs. Alberta and the U Sports No. 5 Calgary Dinos) were going to be our biggest challenges of the year, and our goal was to get better and to figure ourselves out more as a group,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said. “We’re all on the same page as to what our strengths are and what we need to work on, and we’re excited about the last three weeks of the regular season.”

The Cascades picked up where they left off on Friday, leading for much of the first quarter and holding a 29-25 advantage after Anthony Gilchrist’s triple early in the second. The Golden Bears responded with a 16-2 run to seize control of the proceedings, but Sparks-Guest and Vijay Dhillon swished treys to cut the deficit to 43-37 at the half.

Alberta extended the lead back to double digits in the third quarter, but Dulay’s scorching shooting kept the Cascades within shouting distance until the final minutes of the fourth.

“Offensively, we’re finding good shots and moving the ball really well,” Friesen said, alluding to the fact that his team shot 49.2 per cent from the field. “We know where our tough spots are –defensively and on the boards. Alberta did a good job of exploiting that tonight, and we’ll try to get better the rest of the season.”

Dulay’s shooting exploits, at this point, have become almost routine for the Cascades players and coaching staff, but the degree of difficulty and distance of some of his shots on Saturday had Friesen shaking his head.

“He’s been a good shooter since the day he got here, but his confidence level has just kept going up and up,” Friesen marvelled. “He’s really found a good rhythm in our offence, so he knows where his shots come from. And he knows the guys believe in him. Everyone understands that he should shoot it.”

The Cascades basketball teams are back in action at home next weekend, hosting the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.) at the Envision Athletic Centre.

Women’s Basketball: Cascades’ comeback comes up short, Pandas hang on for three-point win

A furious fourth-quarter comeback by the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team erased all but one point of a double-digit deficit, but the Alberta Pandas hung on for a 56-53 win.

Playing at Edmonton’s Saville Sports Centre on Saturday evening, the Cascades found themselves down 25-18 after a defensive-minded first half, and the host Pandas expanded the lead to 13 points early in the fourth quarter.

UFV found its offensive mojo at that point – reigning Canada West scoring champ Kayli Sartori  led a dramatic rally that saw the Cascades draw to within 49-48 after Sartori hit a circus shot with 37 seconds left in regulation.

Alberta, though, was superb at the foul line from that juncture, hitting 7-of-8 free throws to close out the victory.

The Cascades fell to 8-6 in Canada West play, leaving them tied for eighth place, while the Pandas (14-2) banked their conference-leading 14th win.

“The thing I really like about our team is, we never give up,” UFV bench boss Al Tuchscherer said. “We go down early in the fourth, and we just kept on grinding. If you have that, you put yourself in position to win on the road in Alberta. For sure it would be nice to get that win, but there’s some good lessons we learned here today.”

The Pandas, coming off a 63-51 win on Friday, limited the Cascades to 29.2 per cent shooting from the field in the first half, and expanded the lead to 45-32 after back-to-back layups from Aimee Wilson and Megan Tywoniuk to open the fourth quarter.

Sartori caught fire at that point, though, racking up nine of her game-high 23 points in the final frame. Most memorable (and controversial) was the shot she hit in the final minute. The fifth-year guard/forward had the ball at the top of the key with the shot clock winding down, took a couple dribbles to her left heading toward the sideline, and heaved up a fall-away shot that somehow found the bottom of the net with 37 seconds remaining.

The shot was initially scored a three-pointer, which would have tied the game 49-49, but the officiating crew reversed the decision, surprising the Cascades and allowing the host Pandas to preserve a one-point lead. That forced UFV into a fouling situation, and Alberta finished the game off at the line.

As much as Sartori’s play was critical for the Cascades down the stretch, Tuchscherer pointed to rookie forward Jessica Zawada as being “the difference in the fourth quarter.” She scored five points and added an assist and a steal in the final frame.

“If we can get contributions like that from a few kids off the bench, it’ll make things easier for us,” Tuchscherer noted.

Sartori was the lone Cascade to score in double figures – Taylor Claggett chipped in with seven points and seven rebounds, and Zawada, Syd Williams and Shayna Litman finished with six points apiece.

Maddie Rogers registered a team-high 14 points for Alberta, to go with seven rebounds and five assists.

The Cascades basketball teams are back in action at home next weekend, hosting the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.) at the Envision Athletic Centre.

Men’s Volleyball: Cascades’ win streak snapped, Chargers prevail in four sets

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team saw its six-game win streak snapped by the Camosun Chargers on Saturday afternoon, as they dropped a four-set decision in Victoria.

The game’s turning point was in the second set. The Chargers had a 25-21 first-set triumph under their belts already, but the Cascades appeared poised to level the match, racing out to a quick 10-5 lead. They nursed that advantage deep into the set, up 21-19 at one juncture, only to watch Camosun claw back and win it 25-23.

UFV won the third 26-24 to extend the match, but were unable to come up with any more heroics in the fourth, falling 25-22.

“We win that second set, and it’s a different match,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen noted. “We just didn’t finish. It was a tough one to drop, and then we were in a big hole.

“Overall, not a great match for us tonight. We’ve got things to work on this week.”

The Cascades, ranked No. 8 in the nation, fell to 14-4 in PACWEST play, but they’ve still got a comfortable lead on third-place Camosun (10-6) in the race for second place in the conference and the first-round playoff bye that comes with it.

“I’d say it was similar to yesterday (a five-set UFV win), other than the fact that we gave them more opportunities tonight and they executed,” Donen said. “Even though we didn’t play that well, I still thought we had our chances to win. But we did get a split this weekend in a gym that’s tough to win in, so we’ll focus on the games that are coming up, that we have control over.”

The Cascades had good balance offensively – left sides Matt Whittall (13 kills) and Ben Friesen (12 kills) led the way, with right sides Joel Kleingeltink (10 kills) and middles Connor Pruim and Dayton Pagliericci (eight kills apiece) also chipping in. Pruim added four blocks, and libero Isaiah Dahl registered 13 digs.

Up next for the UFV volleyball teams is a homecourt weekend (Jan. 27-28) against the first-place Vancouver Island University Mariners. Games run Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 1 p.m., men 3 p.m.) in the North Gym at the Envision Athletic Centre.

Women’s Volleyball: Cascades earn first weekend sweep, beat Chargers in four sets

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team wrapped up its first weekend sweep of the 2016-17 PACWEST campaign, following a five-set victory over the Camosun Chargers on Friday with a four-set triumph on Saturday afternoon in Victoria.

The Cascades prevailed by set scores of 25-22, 25-18, 22-25 and 25-13 to improve to 7-11 on the season and gain some breathing room on the Chargers (5-11) in the race for playoff seeding. UFV is in fifth place, and Camosun is sixth.

“It’s tough to sweep anyone in this league, and on the road is even tougher,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray noted. “It was obviously a very important match in the standings, because we were tied going into the weekend (with five wins each). They have two games (in hand) to catch up, but to get that separation was important.

“It was probably our most consistent weekend as far as maintaining our level of energy and consistency both nights.”

Third-year left side Rachel Funk had an outstanding performance for the Cascades, racking up a team-high 12 kills to go with 11 digs and three aces. Kim Bauder notched nine kills, and Mandelyn Erikson chipped in with seven kills on a team-best 39 per cent efficiency. Amy Davidson (13 digs) and Kelly Robertson (11 digs) joined Funk in double figures.

Setter Jessica Funk also had a strong outing for the Cascades, notching 37 assists.

Gilray felt that Saturday was “a much stronger defensive game” for his squad, and was heartened to see his team notch more aces (12) than service errors.

Up next for the UFV volleyball teams is a homecourt weekend (Jan. 27-28) against the first-place Vancouver Island University Mariners. Games run Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 1 p.m., men 3 p.m.) in the North Gym at the Envision Athletic Centre.

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