It’s often said home is where the heart is. Unfortunately for College of the Rockies Avalanche volleyball, home was where the heartbreak was this past weekend.
For the first time since the PACWEST volleyball season opened Oct. 30, the Avalanche were in familiar territory, hosting the Camosun College Chargers Friday and Saturday at College of the Rockies.
After coming away from a season-opening road swing with an even record of 2-2 through the Lower Mainland, the Lady Avs dropped both games by identical scores of 3-1 to the Chargers on home court.
After falling behind 2-0 Saturday afternoon, the Lady Avs battled back, winning the third set by a decisive 25-17 mark.
“This team has no quit in it, none whatsoever,” said Lady Avs coach Andrew Zurrin Saturday afternoon. “The character is a big thing with these girls. When they keep their energy up, they feed off of each other. Nobody stays down and everybody stays on a high and just rides the wave.”
Trying to force a fifth and deciding set, the Lady Avs fell behind 22-16 before rattling off six consecutive points to tie things up. With momentum on the home side and the Chargers reeling, Camosun head coach Chris Dahl called a timeout to settle his side.
The breather worked, as the Chargers claimed the remaining three points needed to claim the set and the match.
“It was about finishing right at the end,” Zurrin added. “Every game, we got to 22 [points] and right at the end, that little bit of a push to finish off the other team, call it the killer instinct, we just didn’t have that this weekend.”
Left side Kelsey Thompson continued her strong start to the season with 18 kills and 28 digs over the weekend. Right side Jayden Roch and left side Mackenzie Morey each crushed 16 kills in support.
“Our bench is getting stronger and stronger, and people are stepping up, which makes us a taller, more dynamic team,” Zurrin said. “We got a couple new players into the match that didn’t see any game action [previously]. They get the jitters out of themselves as a result.”
Though Zurrin had some positives to take away from the weekend setbacks, life wasn’t quite as peachy for head coach Steve Kamps and the men’s team.
After falling in a tightly-contested five sets Friday night, the Avs came out and laid an egg Saturday afternoon as the Chargers cruised to a straight-sets victory to earn the weekend sweep.
“Bottom line, it’s serving,” Kamps said Saturday afternoon. “Friday night, I thought we were the better team on the court in all areas of the game, except for serving. We missed 28 serves and some periods, we missed six, seven or eight [serves] in a row. When you’re not putting the ball over the net, you’re not going to win.
“[Saturday], we reduced our errors from the service line, but the serves weren’t tough enough. As a result, Camosun was able to side out, bang some balls, gain some momentum and we just weren’t able to compete with that because of our serving.”
Kamps said there is only so much that can be done to address the serving errors, suggesting too much focus on that area in practice can be detrimental to the mental aspect of the game. Despite this, he acknowledged a number of his players need to work on their routines.
“It’s the one thing that’s holding our team back,” Kamps added. “In my mind, if we had a serving machine serving to both teams, we’d be 6-0 right now. We’re 1-5 because of our serving.
“We’re making that many errors and we’re still competing. We competed hard. I thought we controlled the play, blocked well and were physical. Both setters came in and did a good job this weekend. I think we can take positives from that — with that many errors, we’re still giving ourselves a chance to win.”
Next up, the Avs host the Vancouver Island University Mariners . Ladies action goes Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday (1 p.m.). The men are slated for Friday (8 p.m.) and Saturday (3 p.m.).
PACWEST Men’s Volleyball Standings1) Douglas College (6-0); 2) Vancouver Island University (5-1); 3) Camosun College (5-3); University of the Fraser Valley (5-3); 5) Columbia Bible College (2-6); 6) College of the Rockies (1-5); 7) Capilano University (0-6)
PACWEST Women’s Volleyball Standings1) Camosun College (8-0); 2) University of the Fraser Valley (6-2); 3) Capilano University (5-1); 4) College of the Rockies (2-4); 5) Douglas College (2-4); 6) Vancouver Island University (1-5); 7) Columbia Bible College (0-8)