Recruits beef up Avs roster

It's time for a new Pacwest season as the College of the Rockies volleyball team readies for action.

The College of the Rockies have begun a new fall semester, and that means student athletes are hitting the court for the Avalanche volleyball program.

Both Steve Kamps and Agata Bendkowska, the head coach for the men’s and women’s teams, along with their assistants, have had a busy offseason recruiting fresh talent for their respective rosters.

Turnover is inevitable, as students graduate out of their programs, or transfer to different post-secondary institutions, however, both squads also feature some returnees from last season.

Below is a breakdown of the new recruits that have signed on for the new season along with athletes who have returned for more action with the Avalanche program.

Women’s Avalanche

Jayden Roch comes in from the West Kootenays where she played high school volleyball in Nelson, leading as captain to the AAA provincials. She also has experience with the Kootenay Volleyball Club, heading off to provincials and nationals for the last six years.

Corissa Mildenberger was sought after by many college teams, but eventually landed with the Avalanche. Hailing from Elkford, Mildenberger has played both high school and club volleyball, attending tournaments at the provincial and national level.

-Madison Hudy, coming in from Calgary, is a outside hitter who had a lot of success with her high school team, the Cardinals, which included an undefeated season. She has club experience with the U18 Canuck Stuff Volleyball program and placed first and second at the Division 2 provincial championships.

Atayia Durrant is an outside hitter who has volleyball in her blood, as her father, Rod, coaches the Men’s CIS team at the University of Calgary. Durrant led her team to a third place finish in AAA zones and plays with the U18 Central Peace Wolves club.

Alysha Hutt, a native of Nanaimo, will help out the Avs defence at libero. She captured a bronze medal at the BC Summer Games in 2010 and earned a silver at  provincials the same year. Hutt will be enrolling in the Kinesoology program while lending her volleyball skills to the Avalanche.

Fauve Welsh is a middle who is coming in from Calgary who has just graduated out of St. Mayr’s High School. Welsh played club volleyball with Canuck Stuff and led her team to a first-place finish at Premier #3 in Division 2. She received the team’s Canuck Grit award, given to the player that brings inspiration to the team.

Brittany Wells was recruited early last season out of Prince Albert in Saskatchewan. Wells has won championships at the provincial level in 2009 and at the regional level in 2010. Wells will fit in on the left side and is interested in pursing studies in the education program.

Abby Glaciar is a setter who was recruited out of Black Diamond in Alberta, where she led her Oilfields High School team to a third-place finish at provincials. At the club level, she captained the 403 Selects to fifth in provincials and third at nationals. She has numerous accolades, including team MVP the last three years running with her high school squad.

Brook Garvin comes to the Avalanche program via Quesnel, where she played high school volleyball. She also played club in Prince George, making the three-hour drive three times a week to practice.

Kelly Yuill, a local Cranbrook product, will spend the season practicing with the team as a red-shirt.

Returnees: Jen and Julie Pillon, Kelsey Thompson, Madi Gibbs, Allison Pepper.

Men’s Avalanche

Ben Smith is a local Cranbrook product, having been involved with volleyball at Mount Baker Secondary School and the EKVC for many years. Smith has attended three straight Baden Cups and was a member of Team BC that placed second overall at the Western Canadian Championships in 2012.

Blake Peebles is a setter from Sparwood, who came out of the East Kootenay Volleyball Club program as a setter for tyne past four years. Peebles will be taking Kinesiology courses en route to completing an education degree.

Zach Fedechko comes to the Avalanche program from Calgary, where he played CIS volleyball with the University of Calgary Dinos, however, he suffered a season-ending concussion last September. He will play on the left side for the squad while taking courses in the sciences field.

Jack Newman already has college-level volleyball experience, as he is transferring from Lethbridge College. Newman plays on the left side and will be taking second-year sciences courses.

Spencer Dakin-Kuiper is a tall 6’5” middle blocker who will add some size to the roster. Kamps says he has excellent all-around skills and has a lot of potential. Dakin-Kuiper will be taking environmental studies during his time with the Avalanche.

Returnees: Curtis Stockton, Tyler Remenda, Nolin Hoodicoff, Josh Lockert, Zach Andres, Scott Bedell, Nick Schmidt.