Home-opening weekend for Avalanche volleyball

College of the Rockies host Camosun College in PACWEST action this weekend

Avalanche Volleyball

Avalanche Volleyball

Taylor Rocca

After opening the 2014-15 PACWEST volleyball season on the road in the Lower Mainland, the College of the Rockies Avalanche volleyball teams are excited to play on home court.

The Avalanche welcome the Camosun College Chargers to Cranbrook this weekend for a pair of games on each side of the men’s and women’s slate.

The Lady Avs look to continue rolling after grabbing wins over the Columbia Bible College Bearcats Oct. 23 and 26, en route to a 2-2 start. The even record has the Lady Avs smack in the middle of PACWEST, wedged in fourth place between the Capilano University Blues (3-1) and Vancouver Island University Mariners (2-4).

“The key to what we’re doing right now, is the girls work so hard and we’re getting different people stepping up each practice, each game,” said Lady Avs head coach Andrew Zurrin after practice Wednesday night.

Left side Kelsey Thompson leads the assault for the ladies, racking up 53 kills, six aces and 41 digs through opening week. Her 53 kills lead the PACWEST heading into Friday’s action. Kira Sutcliffe, of the Capilano University Blues, is hot on Thompson’s heels with 52 kills to date.

Thompson’s performance in late October earned her Avalanche Athlete of the Week.

On the ladies side of the equation, the Chargers march into Cranbrook with an undefeated mark of 6-0, powered by an offense Zurrin characterized as “super fast.”

“They’re going to have road legs so Friday night is an advantage for us,” Zurrin said. “They haven’t seen us that much. They haven’t seen our offense, which is quite unique.

“If we stay disciplined in our blocks and close [Camosun] to cut off their speed, I think we’re a good defensive team and that’s going to allow us to stay in the match.”

On the men’s side of the court, Avs head coach Steve Kamps is disappointed with the team’s 1-3 start. After closing out the season-opening road swing with a win over the Columbia Bible College Bearcats Oct. 26, Kamps hopes his squad can carry that momentum into this weekend.

“Now that we’re back at home, we do need to take care of business,” Kamps said prior to practice Wednesday night. “With Camosun coming all the way from the Island, we need to start strong. We need a win.

“It’s always tight in this league and every win is important.”

The lone win thus far leaves the Avs in sixth place in PACWEST, ahead of only the Capilano University Blues (0-4).

Zach Fedechko played all 17 of the Avs’ sets during the opening week of play, tallying 26 kills and two aces en route to earning Avalanche Athlete of the Week honours.

Led by Elion Wong (42 digs, second in PACWEST) and Cameron Fennema (61 kills, third in PACWEST) the Camosun College Chargers are 3-3 heading into the weekend.

The matchup between the Avs and Chargers represents a rematch of the 2014 PACWEST bronze medal game, a contest in which the Avs came out victorious. With that in mind, this weekend’s affairs won’t be short of fireworks.

“We know them fairly well,” Kamps added. “They’re a good squad, very balanced. We just need to focus on us. It’s all about us. If we can serve the ball tough and if we can pass the ball, I think we’ll be successful.

“Everybody can hit. Everybody can block. But really, we need to be able to pass the ball and serve tough.”

The ladies open the festivities Friday night at 6 p.m., while the men provide the encore at 8 p.m.

Saturday features afternoon games between the Avs and Chargers, with the ladies scheduled for 1 p.m. and the men slated for 3 p.m.