Lady Avs outsider hitter Kelsey Thompson (#7) celebrates with libero Alexa Koshman (#9)

Lady Avs outsider hitter Kelsey Thompson (#7) celebrates with libero Alexa Koshman (#9)

Avalanche volleyball continues to roll in new year

College of the Rockies men's & women's squads split PACWEST volleyball weekend festivities with Douglas College heading into bye week

Avalanche men knock off nationally-ranked Royals

The College of the Rockies men’s Avalanche volley squad earned a huge victory this past weekend, knocking off the nationally-ranked Douglas College Royals Friday night in PACWEST action.

The Avs (7-9) took down the Royals (10-4), who were ranked third in the country heading into action, in a closely-contested five-sets match (16-25, 25-13, 22-25, 29-27, 15-8).

“[The Royals] came in with an intimidation factor and I think when we started to play, we thought we had to be perfect or we thought, ‘Whoa, these guys are so good,'” said John Swanson, head coach of the Avalanche volleyball program. “We had a terrible first set and did not play well at all. The one encouraging thing was we finished off the set in a positive way.

“We lost the first set 25-16 but we won the second set 25-13. It was a complete flip flop. From then on, the guys thought, ‘Yeah, we can play with these guys.’ Yeah, they’re ranked No. 3 in Canada, but we just kind of took it to them.

“Win or lose, I was proud of the guys because they came back from adversity after that first set. They could’ve just thought, ‘We can’t play with these guys. We’ll lose in three and maybe we’ll try to come back Saturday.’ But they didn’t. They battled and I was proud of them for the maturity and growth that they showed.”

Import outsider hitters Julio Linz (15 kills) and Patrik Toze (12 kills) led the offense for the Avs in Friday’s triumph.

With 20 kills in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Royals, Toze put forth a performance worthy of PACWEST Athlete of the Week honours.

Since the holiday break, the Avalanche has laid claim to a  3-1 record through two weekends on home court, distancing themselves from the sixth-place Capilano University Blues (4-10) in the PACWEST standings, while closing in on the fourth-place University of the Fraser Valley Cascades (8-8).

With a four-game road trip scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 28 through Sunday, Jan. 31, the Avs will use a Week 10 bye to help prepare for their last journey of the regular season.

After facing the seventh-place Columbia Bible College Bear Cats (0-16) on Jan. 28 and 29, the men wrap up the Lower Mainland swing in a pair of outings with the Cascades on Jan. 30 and 31.

The Avalanche then return home to close out the regular season with Feb. 5 and 6 against Camosun College and Feb. 12 and 13 versus Vancouver Island University.

PACWEST Men’s Volleyball Standings

1) Camosun College (15-1, 30 points) 2) Douglas College (10-4, 20)3) Vancouver Island University (10-6, 20)4) University of the Fraser Valley (8-8, 16)5) College of the Rockies (7-9, 14)6) Capilano University (4-10, 8)7) Columbia Bible College (0-16, 0)

Lady Avs split with Douglas College

The College of the Rockies Lady Avalanche continue to roll, earning a split with the Douglas College Royals this past weekend in PACWEST volleyball action.

Friday night, the Lady Avs (6-10) cruised to a straight-sets victory (25-18, 25-16, 25-13) over the Royals (7-7).

“It’s a confidence they’re playing with,” said John Swanson, head coach of the Avalanche volleyball program. “We did change a couple things in our defensive system, which I think has helped. But the ladies are just playing with more confidence individually, and with that, the team doesn’t have to rely on one player to maybe pull us through.

“Friday, we continued getting the ball to lots of different players and when those players get their opportunity, they’ve been putting the ball away and just playing fantastic.”

Outsider hitter Kelsey Thompson, fresh off being named PACWEST Athlete of the Week, continued to dominate, crushing 10 kills and getting 14 digs in Friday’s victory.

Right side Corissa Mildenberger and middle blocker Kennedy Koop also chipped in on the attack, collecting six kills each.

Saturday afternoon, the Royals returned to the court intent on a split and managed just that with a win in four sets (25-23, 25-20, 19-25, 25-22).

Since the holiday break, the Lady Avs are 3-1 in PACWEST play, already matching their win total from the first half of the season.

The strong start to 2016 has pulled the sixth-place Lady Avs within striking distance of the fifth-place University of the Fraser Valley (7-9) and fourth-place Royals.

“Being home and, because they’re having some success, the confidence level goes up,” Swanson said of the ladies’ positive second-half swing. “As a coach, I will never be disappointed with the women’s team if we lose but we always remain aggressive.

“Anything where they’re trying to be competitive and put pressure on the other team, I’ve always supported that.”

With a four-game road trip scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 28 through Sunday, Jan. 31, the Lady Avs will use a Week 10 bye to help prepare for their last journey  of the regular season.

After facing the seventh-place Columbia Bible College Bear Cats (3-13) on Jan. 28 and 29, the ladies wrap up the Lower Mainland swing in a pair of outings with the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades on Jan. 30 and 31.

The Lady Avs then return home to close out the regular season with Feb. 5 and 6 against Camosun College and Feb. 12 and 13 versus Vancouver Island University.

PACWEST Women’s Volleyball Standings

1) Vancouver Island University (13-3, 26 points)2) Camosun College (10-6, 20)3) Capilano University (8-6, 16)4) Douglas College (7-7, 14)5) University of the Fraser Valley (7-9, 14)6) College of the Rockies (6-10, 12)7) Columbia Bible College (3-13, 6)