The Lady Avs celebrate a point over the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades Feb. 7. The Lady Avs open the 2015 PACWEST Volleyball Championships against the Cascades Thursday night at Camosun College.

The Lady Avs celebrate a point over the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades Feb. 7. The Lady Avs open the 2015 PACWEST Volleyball Championships against the Cascades Thursday night at Camosun College.

Title hunters

Lady Avalanche off to Camosun College in search of PACWEST Volleyball Championship

The College of the Rockies Lady Avalanche is on Vancouver Island and ready to compete for a PACWEST Volleyball Championship.

“The girls are super excited,” said Lady Avs head coach Andrew Zurrin Wednesday afternoon, while awaiting takeoff on the team’s flight from Vancouver to Victoria. “They all know they can get to the top. They’re practicing phenomenally right now.

“If all the girls show up and play to their potential, we’re going to have good success…We play a very big team game, where everybody has to contribute, we have to attack from all spots and everybody has to be digging well. If we do that, we’ll get a team game going and we’ll be able to chip away at teams and wear them down.”

The Lady Avs (11-13, 22 points) finished the 2014-15 PACWEST campaign fifth in the conference and will take on the fourth-place University of the Fraser Valley Cascades (13-11, 26 points) in the quarter-finals at Camosun College Thursday night.

“If we close our blocks and block well, serve well and tough, they don’t pass well,” Zurrin said of the Cascades. “They run a generic offense that we can read. If we close our blocks, we’ll be able to attack back and hopefully finish the game well.”

The two teams split their four-match season series, with the Cascades earning home victories (3-0, 3-1) Oct. 24 and 25. The Lady Avs claimed a pair of straight-sets triumphs Feb. 6 and 7 at College of the Rockies.

Should the Lady Avs get past the Cascades Thursday night, they will face the number-one ranked hosts from Camosun College in the semifinal Friday night at 7 p.m (MT).

The women’s gold medal game is slated for 6:30 p.m. Saturday and the bronze medal game goes beforehand at 2 p.m.

“This is not new for us. We play four [matches] in a row usually,” Zurrin said of the compact schedule. “They’re used to having game three and the next day game four. I’ve got a deep bench, which, if I have to, I will get into. I hope all my starters show up well so we can just ride them and see how well they do together.

“Preparing for that third match and if there was a fourth, preparing for that all in a row — we’re used to it. We’ve done it three times already now and it’s just old hat.”

The 2015 PACWEST Volleyball Championships can viewed online for free by visiting www.sportscanada.tv/pacwest/.

As the team travelled to the PACWEST Volleyball Championships, the conference announced its all-star teams for the 2014-15 campaign and three Avalanche made the cut.

Right side Curtis Stockton was named a men’s first-team all-star, left side Kelsey Thompson was named a women’s first-team all-star and libero Alexa Koshman was named to the women’s all-rookie team.

“They’re two of my most consistent players all year long,” Zurrin said.

“Their gamesmanship, their ability to rise to big points — they make special players that other players don’t, whether offensively or defensively. They make ‘OMG’ plays all the time. Other players are shocked by it and say, ‘I can’t believe they just did that.'”

Thompson, a native of Vernon, led the PACWEST in kills, averaging 3.4 per set.

Thompson was also second in the conference in digs, averaging 3.67 per set. With 3.62 digs per set, Koshman landed third in the conference behind her teammate.

As for Stockton, the native of  Melbourne, Australia, led the PACWEST in kills, averaging 4.19 per set.

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