After a loss this weekend to the Capilano Blues the COTR Avalanche women’s volleyball team now sit in the final playoff position. Photo by Jessica Dempsey

Avalanche can’t find answer against Blues

College of the Rockies women’s volleyball team had a tough match against Capilano University

College of the Rockies Avalanche volleyball team couldn’t find an answer against a tough Capilano University.

The women’s squad were downed 3-0 and 3-1 on Jan. 25 and 26 respectively.

“We did not come out and play with the passion or the effort that is really needed,” head coach John Swanson said about the first match.

“The diving after reflective balls or those sort of things. We struggled mightily in general, but some had good matches overall in getting kills.”

The outside hitter position, Swanson said, was better on the second day of play, but it wasn’t enough.

“[Capilano] did a very good job of offensive strategy that we didn’t have an answer for, and it was very difficult,” said Swanson.

The lone set the team won was the first one on Jan. 26 where the Avalanche seemed to be in control, but the Blues had a plan.

“They made some adjustments, they made a strategy where they did something different and good on them … for executing that,” said Swanson.

Outside hitter/setter Mikaela Pushor said the way the Blues altered their play after the first set made the difference.

“We just couldn’t match that alteration that they did and the best teams do that. We just didn’t do that today — it’s a learning process. We have a young team and we are trying to figure out our stuff,” she said.

With the losses to the Blues, the Avalanche were leaped in the standings. The Avalanche now sit in the sixth position with a 4-16 record for eight points in the PACWEST.

“We just have to dig down and defensively we have to be more on our toes and play forward a little bit,” said Swanson on what the team has to do to be successful.

“We struggled a lot with our serve/receive on short serve.”

The team is fairly young compared to others, and Swanson noted they struggle with in-game changes.

“Case in point moving up in serve/receive and if we have to take it with our hands, so be it. But, we keep staying back and staying back then diving forward all the time,” he said.

Injuries have also been inflicting the team this year. Outside hitter Sam Lautrup is out for the year and Abigail Horch is dealing with an injury as well.

“We have some players who are injured and that puts a lot of stress on other players to play a whole bunch, but every team has injuries so they aren’t going to take it easy on us because we are down players,” said Swanson.

The team will have a week off before they head to the island to play a doubleheader against Vancouver Island University and Camosun College.

“It’s nice to get a break after this and then we will come back playing on the island as strong as we can,” said outside hitter Taylor Whittall.

VIU and Camosun are top of the PACWEST standings and will be tough competition. The Avalanche will head out on their road trip on Feb. 7 to 10.

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