Avs prepare for exhibition tournament

Men's team heading out to Red Deer to get some preseason volleyball action under their belts.

Avalanche head coach Steve Kamps addresses his players before practice at the College of the Rockies gym on Wednesday night.

Avalanche head coach Steve Kamps addresses his players before practice at the College of the Rockies gym on Wednesday night.

The College of the Rockies Avalanche volleyball teams don’t start the Pacwest season until October, however, both the men’s and women’s squads are going to be getting busy with some exhibition action.

The men’s team is heading to Red Deer on Thursday, where they will face off against teams from the Pacwest and ACAC (Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference), in a bid to capture the Challenge Cup.

The tournament was created to give teams from B.C. and Alberta some intra-provincial competition before the respective leagues kick off their college seasons.

The men will be hitting the court this weekend in Alberta, but the ladies will get some volleyball in next week, as they host the Rumble in the Rockies tournament.

Kamps has had a chance to get some practice in with his team since the Labour Day weekend, and is encouraged by what he sees, from both the returnees and the new faces.

Newbies Jack Newman and Zach Fedechko are fighting for a spot on the left side, and Kamps said he’s been impressed with both. Spencer Dakin-Kuiper, who just graduated high school in Lethbridge, also adds some size to the middle with his 6’5” frame.

The seven returnees have also come into camp in good shape and are working towards earning their spots, Kamps added.

“We’re going to be a much different team from last year, we’re smaller in size, especially on the outside, where our power hitters are all six-feet, six-foot-one, but jump well, so it’s going to be a different look from last year,” Kamps said.

“I think our passing, from what I’ve seen, we really haven’t had much of a chance to break the skills down, we just wanted to get our systems stuff out of the way, so they know why they have to do the things we’re asking them to do technically.”

The tournament in Red Deer will be a good way for Kamps to see his how hard his players compete and their intensity on the court, as they move towards the start of the new season in October, which begins on the road on Vancouver Island.

“No starting roles, we’re about a month away and that first weekend, we’re going to need everybody to play, so we really need to assess where everyone’s at,” Kamps said, “because everyone will need to contribute on the Island on our first regular season game, so it’s a good chance to see what we need to work on as a team and what we need as individuals so everyone’s good to go in a month’s time.”

Kamps admits the team will be thrown into the fire in Red Deer, as they are still working on perfecting systems play.

“Once we get back from Red Deer, we’ll evaluate and slow things down and work technically on things,” Kamps, “but considering the few reps that we’ve had passing, we look like we’re going to be a strong passing team, so that will help us out for sure.”