The College of the Rockies Avalanche volleyball teams are back in action after some time off over the month of December, commencing after two at home wins against Camosun for both the men’s and women’s teams on November 22 and 23.
The Avalanche men got back in action a little earlier than the women, with an exhibition weekend against Medicine Hat College. Having an Albertan team come to them at the start of January is something head coach Cisco Farrero tries to do every year.
The two wins they achieved don’t count towards their standings, but he says it’s always good to get them back rolling after the Christmas break.
Farrero said his team practised until around the fifth or sixth of December, before taking to the gym for heavy weightlifting until Dec. 14 before the guys went off for Christmas. They returned on Dec. 30 for a couple practises before heading into their weekend against Medicine Hat and then got ready for their road trip immediately after that.
Their first two games were against Douglas College on Dec. 9 and 10, and then Capilano the 11 and 12. It proved to be a tough weekend and they were unable to come away with a win. Against Douglas the final scores were 3-1 and 3-2 and 3-0 for both games against Capilano.
“Douglas and Cap are arguably the two best teams in our conference right now,” Farrero said. “We pushed Douglas pretty well on Friday night, we played okay Thursday night, and then kind of ran out of gas and then Friday night we were quite good and we probably should have won the match in the fourth set, but found a way to not win at the end of that set and then not win in the fifth set, so it was a bit of a heartbreaker.”
Farrero said that they struggled to rebound from their two losses and Capilano came out guns blazing.
“They seemed to have our number,” he said. “It’s been a pretty tough matchup for us this season, Capilano’s played quite well against us and our service wasn’t quite the level it needed to be on Saturday or Sunday.”
They took away some solid lessons from these games and Farrero knows what strategies to work on in order to be successful for the last three weekends of the regular season. Columbia Bible College (CBC) will be taking on the Avalanche on home turf this weekend, and Farrero said these are important games and CBC is currently behind them in standings.
“We’re in the last playoff spot right now and we want to at least maintain that and for us to clinch anything we have to take care of business this weekend at home. It’s really important for us to play well, it’s really important for us to play to win and I’m sure CBC is going to give us absolutely everything they’ve got and we need to rise to the occasion and be good at home and then continue that into the next weekend.”
The women’s team played valiantly but lost both games against Douglas, with final scores of 3-1 and 3-2. They shutout Capilano 3-0 in the first game and then lost 3-0 the next.
“These road trips are never easy and we faced two opponents that are really similar in skill level as us and I’m fairly happy with it,” said women’s head coach Bryan Fraser, adding all four games were extremely close and he felt they were on the cusp of winning them all.
“And, okay we only came away with the one win, but it was tough and I think there was lots of stuff that we were able to learn from and build on for the next three home-game weekends and then hopefully into playoffs.”
He said his team is back in top form.
“We played four really good games this weekend and so we’re looking to obviously continue that against CBC, we’re resting a little bit right now just because we had a pretty long trip back home.”
The team hit a blizzard just after leaving Vancouver and they were forced to stop and stay in Hope for the night, making for a long, harrowing trip home.
Both coaches say they are looking forward to having big home crowds for their games against CBC this weekend. Friday’s matchup begins at 6 p.m. and Saturday’s at 1 p.m.