Avalanche assistant coach John Swanson has a discussion with his squad between sets Saturday afternoon at College of the Rockies. The Columbia Bible College Bearcats went on to earn a straight-sets victory Saturday after claiming a five-sets win over the Avs Friday night.

Avalanche assistant coach John Swanson has a discussion with his squad between sets Saturday afternoon at College of the Rockies. The Columbia Bible College Bearcats went on to earn a straight-sets victory Saturday after claiming a five-sets win over the Avs Friday night.

Opposite directions

Avalanche winless since November; meanwhile, Lady Avs continue to climb PACWEST, winning five of six matches in 2015

The situation can’t get much worse for the College of the Rockies Avalanche men’s volleyball team. With a pair of losses to the Columbia Bible College Bearcats this past weekend, the Avs have dorpped seven consecutive matches and sit in the PACWEST basement.

Friday, the Avs battled but came up short in a five-sets loss (16-25, 25-16, 17-25, 25-18, 11-15) to the Bearcats.

Saturday, the visitors made quick work of the hosts in a straight-sets sweep (11-25, 18-25, 22-25).

“Mentally, we’re deflated. We have to start over again being one [set] down,” said Avs assistant coach John Swanson on Saturday. “Whether we win or lose, it’s just how we play. You can lose by making positive mistakes, or trying to play aggressively. But when you’re playing passively or afraid — that just sets the tone for the match.

“Give the guys credit. In the second and third sets, they became more competitive. But why that first set is that way — it’s a maturation process; it’s a mental toughness kind of process and it’s what we’ve been working on all year. It’s still a work in progress, obviously.”

In 18 matches to date, the Avalanche have only managed to win their first set four times.

This weekend, the Avs welcome the fifth-place University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) Cascades to Cranbrook in hopes of finding a way into the win column for the first time since a five-sets victory over Capilano University Nov. 29.

While the men continue to struggle, the Lady Avs continue to build on unprecedented success.

Head coach Andrew Zurrin’s group improved to 9-9 with a pair of straight-sets victories over the Bearcats this past weekend (25-20, 25-20, 25-13 – Friday; 25-21, 25-20, 25-20 – Saturday).

“If we played clean and hit enough balls, we knew we could take [the Bearcats] out,” Zurrin said Saturday. “They only had one real weapon. I knew their lineup — we matched up well against it. “

Zurrin was forced to draw from his bench Saturday, with injuries to a number of his regular starters. The depth of Zurrin’s squad was on display, giving the Lady Avs’ bench boss confidence moving forward.

“Not only were we a tight team before, but we have become a better, full team because everybody has contributed,” Zurrin said. “Everybody knows they have self-worth as an Avalanche player.”

The Lady Avs face UFV this weekend, trailing the Cascades by two points in the standings. A pair of victories would vault the Lady Avs into fourth place in the PACWEST.

The ladies hit the court at 6 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday.

The men provide the encore at 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday.

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