Avalanche return home from opening road trip

Men's and women's team find success, identify areas of improvement.

The College of the Rockies Avalanche volleyball teams returned from their opening four-game weekend road trip to the Lower Mainland with a list of things to work on.

The men’s team split their record with Capilano University, while dropping both matches against Douglas College. The ladies returned with a 0.500 record, beating both teams once, while also giving up a game to each opponent.

Both men’s head coach Steve Kamps and women’s head coach Agata Bendkowska said it was good to get back out onto the court and see how their teams stood up.

Kamps was a little disappointed that his team didn’t reach their goal of two wins, but he noted that Douglas College is very talented, and pegs them to be a top team in the Pacwest league.

“Playing them in their gym in the first matches of the season, I think we competed them at times. The first set, we got badly outplayed, but the guys responded and came back.

“We were in the match and it was close, and we really weren’t playing that well, so I think that was good to see.”

The men lost that match 3-1 to Douglas, and dropped their rematch the following day by the same score.

“The second night, we competed again, probably played well enough to win the match, but unfortunately we just had trouble putting the ball away,” Kamps continued.

The team refocused for it’s matches against Capilano University, which helped them towards a 3-1 win for their first game.

However, the wheels fell off for the final match of the four-game stretch.

“We completely shut down on Sunday for the end of the road trip,” said Kamps. “We ran into a very hot team, Capilano was digging everything and they would’ve been tough to beat that day.”

Injuries also became a factor, as a few players were nursing the pains that come with playing multiple games on road trips.

Now that the team is back, Kamps said he wants the team to work on finishing the ball in practice this week.

“The biggest thing we saw all weekend is that we had trouble putting the ball away,” Kamps said. “We didn’t pass well at times and that makes it difficult to put the ball away, but even at times, we passed the ball well, and the sets were there, but as attackers, we weren’t making good decisions.”

The ladies had more success than their male counterparts, earning a win against both Douglas College and Capilano University, while giving up a game to each opponent as well.

The women’s team went through their preseason tournament for Rumble in the Rockies with three consecutive wins, and Bendkowska said that experience gave her team the confidence it needs to face other opponents in the Pacwest league.

Earning two wins on the road gives her ladies even more credibility in the Pacwest league.

“All the teams now are going to respect us and be scared of us as a team,” Bendkowska said.

“We’re very happy that we’re finally starting to win and starting the season with two wins is unbelievable for the College of the Rockies ladies team, because they’ve never done it.”

The ladies were very close in sweeping Douglas College, as the first game went to a tiebreak set, but their opponents got the upper hand.

The Avs came back the next day and won 3-1.

Capilano came out strong in their first meeting, winning 3-0, but the ladies roared back for a 3-0 win of their own in a rematch for their final game.

Now that the women have returned to their home gym, Bendkowska wants to keep improving on their game.

“Little things with everything,” she said. “A little blocking, a little hitting, defence, passing. Everything that we need to work on, it’s just small pieces to make sure that we play consistently. That’s our goal right now.”