Rocky home opener for Avs women’s team

The women’s volleyball team at College of the Rockies didn’t have the weekend they were hoping to.

A full home crowd for Friday’s game, the Avalanche lost 3-1 to the University of the Fraser Valley.

“I think we came out tight, which is surprising in our home gym,” said head coach John Swanson.

“Our serving was inexplicitly poor for having our home gym. I think nerves got the best of the players, and I was surprised.”

Volleyball isn’t just about physical play. Swanson explained with a young team mental and emotional factors played huge roles.

“Physically when you serve, it’s the only skill you are in total control of, so it’s more of the emotional and mental part of it. In a game of volleyball you just made a great dig, you rallied and made a great point, you need to get that serve in. It’s just an emotional killer serving in the net or serving out,” he said.

With less than 24 hours until they had a rematch with UFV, Swanson said the ladies needed to be better when they came out.

Unfortunately Saturday afternoon the team went 3-0 to UFV.

“It’s a huge learning curve of where we are. By no means do I think that’s typical of how we can play, but it also shows UFV, whose a disciplined, well-coached, well-executed team the different level,” said Swanson.

As a coach, the positive of the weekend was the number of people who were able to play and gave more players chances to gain experience.

With a majority of the team being young, this experience will be beneficial to them.

“As a first-year player you just have to learn as much as you can, and put stuff in the memory bank, let the nerves calm down,” said Swanson.

Avalanche libero Megan Clark also acknowledged the age of the team as a major factor in the weekend.

“I think we had moments of greatness, but I think we do have a lot to learn because we are very young,” she said.

Staying mentally strong was one aspect that outside hitter/setter Mikaela Pushor said was something the team needed to work on.

“I think we can sharpen up, honestly, every aspect of our game. It’s just not quite at the level that we need it to be, and I think that just comes with hard practices, hard training and having a mentality that we are going to win,” said Pushor.

Next weekend the Avalanche will have a doubleheader against Vancouver Island University starting Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. and Oct. 27 at 11 a.m. at COTR.

There will be a couple main things the team will focus on as they prepare for next weekend, including terminating the ball.

“We have to hit in different areas instead of the same spot all the time so they are comfortable. And our blocking has to greatly improve,” he said.

With the full house on Friday the team hopes to have that continue into next weekend’s games.

“It’s always lovely seeing our community supporting us as they do. It’s definitely different compared to other schools. It helps out a lot,” said Pushor.

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