Avs put to the test at home tourney

Ladies are defeated in two matches, but earn a win in first day of tournament action.

The Avs beat the visiting Medicine Hat College Rattlers in their second match of the tournament on Thursday afternoon.

The Avs beat the visiting Medicine Hat College Rattlers in their second match of the tournament on Thursday afternoon.

Day one of the Rumble in the Rockies volleyball tournament is in the books, and the women’s Avalanche team had a busy day with three matches on the schedule.

The ladies are the hosts in a seven-team tournament featuring Alberta college teams and the heavy hitters of the CIS-level University of Calgary Dinos.

Because of the compressed schedule and abundance of teams, matches are best of three sets instead of the usual best of five sets.

First up was a squad out of Lethbridge College in the afternoon, which ended in with a straight set defeat at scores of 25-19 and 25-22.

“We were struggling a lot,” said Agata Bendkowska, the head coach for the women’s Avalanche team. “We were confused, nobody knew what was going on. It was a very kind of nervous game.”

As soon as that game ended, the Lethbridge College squad left the court and the Medicine Hat College Rattlers stepped on for some volleyball action.

The Avs took the first set, closing out at 25-19. Rattled by their performance, the Rattlers came out swinging in the second set, building up a nine-point lead that ended with a 25-17 win to even things up.

Heading into the tiebreak, the Avs took the lead and didn’t look back, winning 15-11 to capture the match.

“Everybody was getting there, just clicking better,” Bendkowska said.

Their third and final match of the day—despite it being a loss—was probably the highlight as they took on the CIS-level University of Calgary Dinos and pushed them around a bit.

The Dinos won the first set at 25-7 but it wasn’t the blowout that it looks like, as the Avs made them earn every point they got. The second set was more of the same, though the COTR team lost 25-20.

“Everything was just right,” Bendkowska said. “We blocked, we passed really well, the defence was unbelievable.”

Bendkowska said there is a huge payoff for her girls to face a team like the Dinos which feature athletes that play in the higher-level CIS league.

“It’s much easier for them to imagine what I’m talking about, what is real, what is higher volleyball, because they’ve never played anything except our league,” Bendkowska said.

“Those girls are coming in tall, in great shape, hitting great balls, hitting harder, serving harder. So for them [the Avs], it’s just a new experience, and when you play a better team, you perform better, so that was just excellent.”

The Avs are back on the on Friday, with playoffs on Saturday, which are determined by the round-robin standings.