Avs kick off new season

College of the Rockies volleyball teams open new campaign with road trip to Vancouver Island.

It was a mixed start for the College of the Rockies Avalanche, which began their season on the road with a trip to Vancouver Island to take on the Camosun College Chargers and the Vancouver Island University Mariners.

After a month of practice and preseason tuneups against various teams in Alberta, the men’s and women’s Avalanche were put to the test in their first Pacwest league games of the new season.

Both teams played two games against the Chargers and two games against the Mariners in a gruelling four-day schedule.

The men had a better start, losing a tight 3-1 (26-24, 25-23, 22-25, 25-23) match to the Chargers, followed by a heartbreaking rematch that went to five sets at 3-2 (25-19, 21-25. 25-5, 19-25, 15-12).

“We played well and had opportunities to win, but obviously, not coming away with a win, we were really hungry going into VIU, a tough gym to play in, but the guys prepared really well,” said men’s head coach Steve Kamps.

The ladies had a tougher go against the Chargers, dropping both matches at the same set scores of 3-0.

The two teams headed up to Nanaimo to take on the Mariners, which featured some better results for the men, which won both matches in the tiebreak set.

In the first match, the Avs took the first two sets, and gave up the following two to force the tiebreak. Final score stood at 25-12, 25-22, 19-25, 23-25, 19-17.

“We were down 7-2 in the fifth set and came back and won,” said Kamps.

The two teams had a rematch on Sunday, and the Mariners took a 2-1 set lead before the Avs battled back to even it up and force a tiebreak for the win. Final score for sets stood at 25-23, 21-25, 10-25, 25-20, 15-13.

“Some good things happening there, and obviously, two huge wins in VIU, I don’t think we’ve won a league game there in over 10 years, so to win two of them back to back was huge for us,” added Kamps.

Kamps noted that even though it may not have looked pretty at times, the men were able to get it done.

“I think we just found ways to win,” Kamps said. “I don’t think it was our best volleyball that we can play, but the guys just found ways to score, remained patient in a really up and down match and it was a good character builder for them to just continue to find ways to score and find ways to win.”

The women’s team were up against a tough team in the Mariners, which won both matches at set scores of 3-0.

It was a homecoming for Avs rookie Alysha Hutt, a libero who was recruited out of Cedar Secondary School in Nanaimo.

Both teams have a bye this coming weekend, but will open their home schedule in the beginning of November, when they host the visiting Douglas College Royals.