Despite a win and three losses, head coach Steve Kamps was able to get a good look at his volleyball team last weekend at an exhibition tournament in Red Deer.
The College of the Rockies men’s Avalanche team clashed on the court in the Challenge Cup, a event that pitted the Pacwest (B.C.) and ACAC (Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference) against each other.
It was a great way to throw his players into the fire and try a few new things before the regular season starts, said Kamps.
“We were only one-and-three, but it’s exhibition and we’re looking at different things and the results don’t really matter, we just wanted to see where we were at as a team and individuals,” said Kamps.
The first match was against their hosts, the Red Deer Kings, the silver medalists at last year’s nationals, with a lineup that featured five returnees from that season. The Avs lost in straight sets at 25-17, 25-15, and 25-13.
However, the team rebounded the next match, beating the SAIT Trojans in four sets, which helped restore some confidence for the Avs, Kamps added. Set scores were 25-20, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20.
Following that match, the Avs took on the Medicine Hat College Rattlers and fell in straight sets (25-16, 25-18, 25-23) after utilizing a different lineup and trying some different things on the court.
The final match was a marathon two-and-a-half hours on the court against the Briercrest Clippers, which was decided when the Avs dropped the tie-breaking fifth set.
Briercrest is hosting nationals this year, and the squad features a lot of fourth and fifth year athletes, which was a good test for his Avs, said Kamps.
“We were composed, we had leads and Briercrest really crept back there,” Kamps said. “They’re a patient team, an experienced team, but we didn’t panic. We closed out every set that we did have a lead in, we made some adjustments as we went throughout the match—it could’ve gone either way in the fifth set.”
Briercrest took the first set at 25-21, but then the Avs came back and took the next two at 23-25 and 22-25. Briercrest won the fourth set 25-23 to set up the tiebreak, which they won at 15-10.
The Avs are back practicing in their home gym and hope to get a few more exhibition games under their belt with some Alberta squads before the Pacwest season starts in October.