Avs head to Pacwest championship

The College of the Rockies men's volleyball team face their hosts in the Capilano University Blues to open their schedule.

It’s playoff time for the Avalanche men’s volleyball team.

The Avs were able to keep their grasp on sixth place in the Pacwest standings, but climbed up to fifth after Vancouver Island University suffered a pair of losses in the final weekend of the regular season.

Though tied in points, the Avs have won more sets over the course of the season, which gave them the edge.

With the bye in the final weekend, the Avs were able to get some well-deserved rest to prepare for the upcoming provincial championships, hosted by the Capilano University Blues.

“We had a bye this past weekend—the only team in the league—and I think it was really beneficial for us just to come back home, rest a little bit and have a mental and physical break.” said Avs head coach Steve Kamps.

“The guys are looking energetic, got their jump back and had a chance to mend a few aches and pains that you get at this time of year.

“Mentally, they’re looking really sharp, had a chance to watch some video and prepare a game plan for Capilano, so we’re feeling very good about things.”

The Avs and the Blues have faced each other four times—twice in each other’s home court—and Capilano has the season series edge with three wins and one loss.

However, there’s more to it behind the numbers.

The two teams first met at the College of the Rockies gym in November, and the Avs mounted a comeback after falling in to a two-set deficit to lose out in the tiebreak. The rematch, which the Blues won in four sets, featured some tight set scores as well.

The two teams also met in North Vancouver, when the Avs closed out their season earlier in February, leaving with a split record of a win and a loss.

Both matches went to five sets, as the Avs won the first, but lost out on the following rematch.

Those kind of results are encouraging for the Avs, who are eager to roll into provincials and be a contender.

“We’re excited for the matchup,” said Kamps. “I think we do match up very good against Capilano. They are playing in their own gym, but sometimes that means more pressure and they’re a team that hasn’t been playing great as of late—they’ve been struggling with some injuries—so I think it’s good timing for us to face them right now.”

The Avalanche-Blues match, one of the tournament quarterfinals, will go down on Thursday night at 9 p.m. Should the Avs win, they will face the Columbia Bible College Bearcats in the semifinals.

Though it’s playoffs, there is no series here, as each match is a one-and-done deal. If you lose, you’re out.

“It’s single-elimination so you’ve obviously got to show up and play,” said Kamps. “There’s such parity in the league this year from first place to seventh place, it was so close with teams beating up on each other every weekend, it’s anybody’s tournament.”

NOTES: Avs right side Curtis Stockton was named the Pacwest men’s player of the year on Wednesday. He was also named to the Pacwest men’s 1st team All-Stars. Teammate Zach Fedechko, who plays left side, was also named to the men’s All-Rookie team.