Avs ready for home-opener

Men and women's College of the Rockies volleyball teams excited to play in front of a home crowd.

The Avalanche will open their home dates this weekend by hosting the visiting Douglas College Royals on Friday night and Saturday afternoon for a pair of games.

The men are coming off two big wins on the season-opening trip to Vancouver Island against Vancouver Island University, and was oh-so-close to winning one of their matches against Camosun College.

The women’s squad didn’t fare as well, losing all four matches against VIU and Camosun, however, they did get a feel for what to work on an improve in their game.

Men’s right side Curtis Stockton was named the Pacwest athlete of the week, with some impressive numbers that included 62 kills, 7 blocks and 14 aces.

Both teams had the bye weekend last week, and have had two weeks to prepare for the Royals.

Stockton said the opening results for his team were the result of hard work after enduring a 16-hour bus ride down to the competition.

To go two-and-two on the road, is a really good thing. It was a really good result, and we’re really pleased with that,” said Stockton. “We could’ve won all four, which shows how competitive we are, and we have never beaten VIU in their own gym ever, so to go back-to-back nights and beat ‘em in their own gym in five-set games said something about our character.”

The catalyst for the two wins was a loss to Camosun College in the second match that went to a tie breaking set. The Avs recovered from that, and went into Nanaimo to collect a pair of wins against VIU.

“That fifth set just shows how close were were, and if we put in a little more dive for that last ball and hit that ball a little bit harder, that we would’ve got over the line,” Stockton added.

The team was clicking on the court, with some improved passing, serve receive and setting, said Stockton.

“It’s pretty basic and it just gives us a little more confidence, so our passing definitely improved and we were serving aggressively, which is good to see,” he continued.

Jayden Roch,  a left/right side with the women’s squad, said that though the four losses were tough, there are lessons to be learned from each game.

“I think we learned a lot. We had one rough game, but we definitely took that and learned from it and came back the next day a lot stronger, Roch said.

“We came together as a team more and focused on the things that we can control more, as a team, and I think that helped us a lot.

“The games, especially the first two, moved pretty fast, but we competed and we definitely fought hard. We didn’t end up winning any sets, but we definitely competed for them.”

Both Roch and Stockton are expecting a good team in the Douglas College Royals, and both are anxious to play in front of a home crowd.

Stockton said the team has lost a few key players from last year, but have strength and experience up the middle and on the left side.

However, the Avalanche are hoping to make a statement.

“We really want to beat Douglas and put a stamp on this league,” said Stockton.

Roch said the women’s team has looked at some game tape and have picked up on a few tendencies, but notes that her team just needs to be focused and play hard.

“I’m very excited, it’s our home opener. I’m a bit nervous, but I think our team is coming together nicely and we’re working well together, so I’m hoping for the best,” said Roch.

Matches are at the College of the Rockies gymnasium and begin at 6 p.m. for the women and 8 p.m. for the men on Friday, followed by Saturday afternoon matches, which start at 1 p.m. for the women and 3 p.m. for the men.