Avalanche men’s squad look towards PACWEST championship

The volleyball team secured fifth place ahead of provincials after weekend losses to Camosun and VIU

The College of the Rockies men’s volleyball team has finished up their regular season with back-to-back losses on the road.

The four-game road trip saw the Avalanche lose to the Vancouver Island University Mariners Feb. 7-8 and the Camosun College Chargers Feb. 9-10.

“We weren’t perfect, but we were mentally tough and really good at a couple of skills. I still think we can block and defend better than we did this weekend. I thought our serving was quite good all weekend, we executed a certain game plan very well in all four matches,” said head coach Cisco Farrero.

On the Feb. 10 game against Camosun, the Avalanche were able to push one of the top teams in the PACWEST, winning the first two sets but then losing the next three.

Caleb Peters scored 19 kills with 10 digs, while Kyle Butchart had 12 kills and 13 digs, and Gustavo Bertoli had 11 kills and three digs in the match.

“We lost 17-15 in the fifth set, so to be able to push the number six team in the county on their home gym in a match that meant more to them than it did to us — in terms of the standings — was encouraging. We know we can hang with the big boys, we just have to be able to break on through,” said Farrero.

While they didn’t win a match Farrero says there were positives they could really take away from the weekend.

“To play four games in four days is tough, and we were mentally tough on the last day, which isn’t always the easiest thing to do. The guys know we are right there and it’s going to take a slightly better execution for us to win our provincial quarter-final,” he said.

Camosun and VIU are both higher in the PACWEST standings, and it was expected they would be tough competition on their home courts.

“We have to still do some things better on our own end,” said Farrero.

“We need to receive better and more consistently. We were alright at it this weekend but alright doesn’t cut it at this time of year. You need to be very good in your own system. I think the teams know us quite well, they have figured out different ways to be attacking us, and that’s something we will have to be able to handle and still figure out ways to attack our opponents.”

While it is still unknown who the Avalanche are going to play in their quarter-final match-up, they have been preparing as much as they can.

The Avalanche have a bye week as the rest of the teams will be battling out in their last games this weekend. The team plans to take a bit of time off and then back to work.

“Fairly light into next week,” said Farrero. “Next week will be specific to whichever opponent we know we are facing … this week we will push a little later in the week, probably Thursday, Friday we will go quite hard.”

Even with all the practices, the key for the team will be to stay healthy and confident.

The College of the Rockies is playing host to the 2019 PACWEST Volleyball Championships and are gearing up, as they have secured fifth place.

“It’s great to have our home fans and to have our home energy, but it’s something to build off of and it’s nice we don’t have to travel to play in those events,” said Farrero. “It gives you that little bit of an extra push, hopefully, we can use that to make a run in provincials.”



jessica.dempsey@cranbrooktownsman.com

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