Saturday’s basketball games are particularly significant, as the Cascades will be celebrating three graduating fifth-year athletes: Kayli Sartori, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon. They will be honoured in an on-court Senior Night ceremony between games, immediately after the women’s game finishes and before the men’s teams warm up.
The Cascades are also offering a promotion for current UFV students – the first 20 students through the door on Friday and Saturday will receive a free slice of pizza, popcorn and pop.
The women have an opportunity to leapfrog past the Vikes in the standings with a sweep.
“Victoria has a veteran team with a real tough frontcourt and a couple guards who can shoot the ball, and they have some depth coming off their bench,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “There are a lot of challenges playing against a team like that. We’re going to need to have our starters play great, but we’re also going to need to have some of our kids coming off the bench contribute heavily if we’re going to have some success this weekend.”
UFV ranks tied for seventh in the Canada West heading into the weekend, with the Vikes sitting in sixth.
The Cascades men’s team still needs to secure a playoff spot, and the Vikes are in the same situation with an identical record of seven wins and nine losses. Both teams are in a logjam with three other teams for ninth overall.
“We need to play with the same energy we’ve been playing with, but with a different understanding that we’ve got to protect the paint a little bit better,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said. “That was a takeaway from last weekend (as the Cascades split a pair of games vs. Thompson Rivers). Vic tries to grind it out, and games like that come down to a possession here or there. Whoever wins the battles in the paint gives themselves a better chance to win.”
Friday’s games occur at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., with Saturday’s games tipping off at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The men are now ranked seventh in the country, and middle Connor Prium was named volleyball athlete of the week after a big weekend against the Mariners.
The women also have a bye week, after coming up short twice against the Mariners last week.
The Cascades, coming off a sixth-place finish at the inaugural Canada West Women’s Rugby Sevens tournament in Edmonton last month, look to continue to take steps forward during the second event at UBC.
Head coach Jen Ross noted that this weekend will have a slightly different feel as games will be played outdoors on grass, as opposed to indoors on turf like the first tourney.
“All of the girls are feeling a bit more confident going into this weekend, because they know what the competition is like,” she said. “They’ve lost that intimidation factor, and in our training you can see our skill level and team cohesiveness is increasing.”
UFV takes on Calgary, Lethbridge and UBC on Saturday, and then battle Alberta and Victoria on Sunday. Placing games will also occur on Sunday.
For more on the teams, visit ufvcascades.ca.