Avalanche volleyball teams hosting UFV

Playoff implications loom for the men, while the ladies look to build off of last week's win.

Volleyball action is taking over the College of the Rockies this weekend, as the Avalanche program hosts the visiting University of the Fraser Valley Cascades.

It’s the second set of home dates in a schedule of three consecutive weekends of hosting opponents out of the Pacwest league.

Both Avalanche teams are coming off wins against their previous opponents—the Columbia Bible College Bearcats—in volleyball matches last weekend.

It was an especially important win for the ladies, which picked up their first victory of the season in a come-from-behind effort after going down two sets early in the match.

“I think we played a lot better on defence,” said team veteran Allison Pepper. “Our defence stepped it up a lot and we had some pretty good blocking—closing the block and getting there, setting the block.

“Also, our serve-receive was on fire. You can’t run an offence without serve receive, and we were doing a really good job of that.”

The ladies will be in tough this weekend, facing the Cascades which are ranked fifth in the country in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association standings. In the Pacwest league, UFV sits in second place with 12 wins and two losses.

“They’re very clean, they don’t really make a lot of mistakes,” said Pepper, as the Avs faced them earlier in the autumn semester down in Abbotsford. “They kind of play it out until you make a mistake.

“Pretty much what we need to do is clean up our defence and make sure that our passes are on point so we can attack at them and make them make the mistakes.”

It’s a big weekend for the men’s team as well, which will have a chance to secure a playoff spot. The men’s UFV squad sits in the bottom of the Pacwest standings, but have the same record as the Avalanche.

Two wins will make a big difference in the standings, according to head coach Steve Kamps.

“It’s probably the most important weekend of our season—the team we’re tied with for the final playoff spot right now,” said Kamps.

“It’s basically an eight-point weekend for us. If we can beat them twice, it puts us up in the standings and puts them down and out of a playoff spot, so it’s a huge weekend for us, for sure.”

It’s a point underscored by Avs libero Scott Bedell.

“This is definitely our most important weekend so far,” said Bedell. “As of right now, I’m pretty sure we’re both tied for sixth, so this weekend, if we can take both games off them, it’ll give us a huge lead over them and we know we’re capable of beating the other teams.

“We got to put them in the basement and keep them there for the rest of the season.”

The Avs split their record in the fall, with a win and a loss, both at set scores of 3-1.

“They’re a real scrappy team,” said Kamps. “They just don’t go away. They’re coming at you, they dig a lot of balls, got some guys who can put the ball away and a pretty good serving team as well.

“We definitely need to be on our game.”

Volleyball action kicks off on Friday night at 6 p.m. for the women, 8 p.m. for the men. On Saturday, matches start at 1 p.m. for the ladies and 3 p.m. for the men.