Avalanche have big weekend against the Blues

Playoff implications loom for both the men and women's College of the Rockies volleyball teams.

Men’s Avalanche head coach Steve Kamps (far left) addresses members of his team during practice on Thursday at the College of the Rockies.

Men’s Avalanche head coach Steve Kamps (far left) addresses members of his team during practice on Thursday at the College of the Rockies.

It’s an important weekend for both Avalanche teams as the reality of provincials gets closer and closer.

Especially since their opponents, the Capilano University Blues, sit one place above both the men and women’s College of the Rockies volleyball squads.

The men are eight points behind the Blues, and sit in fifth place, while the women are four points behind their counterparts in seventh place.

“It’s probably one of the most important games coming up,” said Jen Pillon, who plays libero with the ladies. “We have to win both of them if we’re going to have a chance at provincials.”

The women are coming off a big win last Saturday, where they downed the Douglas College Royals in straight sets, which gave the team a big boost of confidence.

“It felt really good,” said Ashleigh White, Pillon’s teammate who plays middle. “We finally started clicking and stuff started working, so hopefully it’ll happen again this weekend.”

While the ladies lost a close 3-2 match the night before in a close tiebreak, they came out firing for some revenge, and earned it in straight sets.

“We all played really hard, trying not to think too much about it,” added Pillon.

The Avs faced the Blues once already during their season opening road trip to the Lower Mainland in October, recording a win and a loss.

“Last time we split and hopefully we can just beat them both times this weekend,” continued Pillon. “They have some good hitters and servers so we’ll just try to shut them down.”

The men also know that this weekend has big implications for the provincial standings as well, with the chance gain some valuable points that could help them climb a rung or two in the standings.

“Anything can still happen,” said men’s Avalanche head coach Steve Kamps. “Looking at the standings, we have six matches left in the season, our last matches at home of the season against Capilano University and we just need to continue to take care of business at home.”

“Mathematically, we can finish anywhere from sixth to potentially seventh, all the way up to second place, so with six matches left, it’s a very tight league.”

The men’s Avs have split their home records following the Christmas break, winning on Fridays and losing on Saturdays in a two weekend stretch against Camosun College and Vancouver Island University.

The Douglas College Royals—the leader of the Pacwest standings—took away a pair of victories on home soil last weekend.

Kamps and his team have been trying to find a way to beat the Saturday blues after putting in a strong performance the night before.

“We’ve tried a little bit of everything,” said Kamps. “We’ve tried coming into the gym and doing a little practicing, we’ve tried staying at home, we’ve tried preparing—the bottom line is they have to want it.”

“I think they’ve kind of been content winning on Fridays in the past and Saturday they just show up and expect to play at that level again, but it’s not a miracle that you’re playing that good on Friday, you have to do the little things and prepare mentally and physically bring your energy.”

Like the women, the men split their weekend with the Blues when the two teams met in Capilano University’s gym in October.

“They are a real scrappy team, well coached, they seem to do the basics very well, dig a lot of balls and frustrate teams,” said Kamps. “They play their system very well so we will really have to be on our game.”

Volleyball action at the College of the Rockies kicks off in the gym at 6 p.m. with the women, followed by the men at 8 p.m.

Matches continue on Saturday, with the ladies starting at 1 p.m. and the men at 3 p.m.