News Archive - 2008
February 28, 2008
by Chris New
College of the Rockies welcomes former Avalanche player Ian Halliday as the new head coach of the men's volleyball program. Steve Kamps, the current head coach, has decided to take a well-deserved break after being with the team for nine seasons.
"The nine years has gone by very quickly and I've enjoyed my time as head coach. Although this is a difficult decision, I know I am making the right choice at the right time for my family and for the Avalanche program."
Kamps is taking parental leave from the College for the next year starting in June. "With a two-year-old at home and another addition to our family in June, I felt that the time was right to start the next chapter in my life," he said.
Kamps coached the Avalanche to two bronze medals and eight provincial championship appearances during this period. He also received the BC College's Athletic Association Coach of the year award, twice, and the CCAA -- 3M National Coach of the Year award. Kamps had an overall record of 88 wins and 56 losses in league play and graduated numerous players to higher levels including Kris Brand, current member on the Canadian National Team.
Athletic Director Chris New noted, "The program would not be in the position it is today without Steve's involvement. When we first ventured in to varsity athletics, we really didn't know if we would be able to compete against the larger institutions. Steve built a program that not only competed, but was consistently one of the top men's programs in the province, often making the national top 15 rankings.
"Ian's local knowledge combined with his extensive networking throughout the Alberta volleyball community will ensure we will maintain our broad recruitment base for student-athletes. Ian will be able to build on the solid foundation that Steve has left behind."
New also noted that although Kamps has passed the torch he will work with Halliday during the transition year. "It would be difficult for me to completely remove myself from the passion I have for the game of volleyball and the Avalanche program," said Kamps.
Kamps added, "When Ian was a member of the Avs from 2001-2003, our coaching staff often wished the whole team could be made up of Ian Hallidays. His dedication, positive attitude, and coachability made him the ideal role model for the team. In his final year with the Avs Ian received the prestigious Avalanche Award which portrays what he is all about and what he will bring to this program as the new head coach. I have the utmost confidence in Ian and I'm certain the success of the program will continue."
Halliday knows he has some large shoes to fill but is anxious to rise to the challenge.
After he transferred to the University of Calgary to complete his Kinesiology degree, he developed his coaching talents taking on a variety of positions including assistant coach with the University of Calgary Dinos and the head coach of the Alberta Provincial Under-16 team.
Halliday is excited to be returning to COTR and to be involved once again with the Avalanche program. "Steve has done a great job building the men's program to a competitive level within the BCCAA and it's my goal to continue to build on the foundation he has created and work towards success at both the provincial and national levels."
February 22, 2008
By MATT COXFORD
That's the problem with the unexpected: you never expect it. The College of the Rockies Avalanche lost their vaunted team chemistry minutes before last night's provincials quarterfinal matchup against the UBC Okanagan Lakers.
The Avalanche stumbled and didn't recover in time after starting power Ryan Hilton was hurt in warm-ups.
"I don't want to use that as an excuse, but it definitely threw a wrinkle into our game plan and the guys, mentally," said head coach Steve Kamps, from Nanaimo, where Malaspina is hosting provincials. "Mentally we were very prepared and very confident, and Ryan is a third-year player and one of our leaders on the floor. The chemistry with him out there is very good."
The Lakers won their first two sets on the way to a 25-21, 25-23, 21-25, 25-21 victory.
Hilton tweaked his neck during warm up in what Kamps described as a freak accident.
"It was severe pain to point where he could hardly even move. Literally three minutes before hitting warm-up, we find this out, and that's when I tell Mike Clark that he's playing power," said Kamps.
"We went into the first set absolutely shell-shocked." The coach said Clark responded well.
"It's a tough situation for anyone to go into, let alone it being provincials and a somewhat difficult gym to pass in. There we are throwing Mike into the fire," said Kamps. "It's not that he stepped in and did a poor job or anything; the first set was us trying to regain our focus and realize that we were going to have to find a way to win with the eight healthy bodies we now had."
That number was depleted to seven-and-a-half when Anton Louden hurt his already-sprained ankle in the third set.
Kamps said the Avs missed close to 20 serves last night.
"That was basically the difference. They served their targets well and put pressure on Mike and hit him when they wanted to. I thought Mike stepped up and settled in, especially in the third set, and started passing really well for us. Then we started competing and believing, but it was just a little too late unfortunately."
In the third set, the Avs led 9-3, and then 16-9 before the Lakers
made seven straight points. COTR was still able to pull away. Kamps said very poor serving plagued them in the fourth set. Despite leading 16-13 at one point, they weren't able to force a fifth game. "Even playing as poorly as we have all year, we were still in the match and still had a chance to put it in the fifth set, but no depth and no subs made it a very difficult situation for us," he said. Blake Giles had a team-high 13 kills, while Eric Meeuwissen had 10 digs and Clark had nine.
"It wasn't false confidence at all. The guys truly believed that they had a legitimate shot at bringing home a banner, and obviously it's a big disappointment for them," said Kamps.
"You just feel kind of helpless. It was a great group of guys, and you can't create chemistry like that. We had it this year, and unfortunately stuck with the injury bug all year long."
The team started with 14 players, which dwindled to the eight available last night. Several players were likely in their last game with the Avalanche. Giles, Meeuwissen, Hilton, Dan Metcalf and Aaron Brown will be moving on.
"It's another reason that it's personally difficult, because I've coached guys like Blake since he was 16 years old in the club system and now with the college team for three years," said Kamps. He feels the building blocks are in place for a strong team next year. As for the just-finished season, Kamps said he'll look back and remember the fact the team beat most of the best teams in this province, and breezed through top Alberta opponents in a December exhibition tournament in Calgary.
"When you sit back and think about it, that will probably be one of the highlights of our year, finishing second at that Mt. Royal tournament and playing the best volleyball we saw all season."
Avalanche Men head to Provincial Championships
February 19, 2008
by Chris New
The Avalanche men’s volleyball team have made an appearance at the BCCAA provincial championships every year since 2000.
Once again, the Avs finish strong in 4th place overall in BC, and will again represent College of the Rockies at the championships.
Follow the team's results here or at the host Malaspina University College's tournament site ((http://www.mala.ca/mariners/nationals/index.htm).
Game one for the Avs takes place at 8 pm, February 21st.
February 19, 2008
by MATT COXFORD
The College of the Rockies Avalanche regular season ended as it began, with the men taking a split and the women dropping two matches.
Next up for the men is the B.C. Colleges' Athletic Association volleyball provincials. They get underway this Thursday at Malaspina University College. The women's season is over, however, as they didn't win a match in 18 tries this season.
Theirs was a team chock full of youth, with only two non-rookies by season's end.
"Having the two vets and finishing the season with six first-years — Brooke Moncrief (at 17) being a full year younger than anybody else in college — I think it was going to be difficult for them to get wins," noted women's coach Lisa Ramsey.
"Not having the sound vet numbers out there, the pressure just mounted. They really did feel like every single point had to be perfect, instead of knowing that the game of volleyball is a game of mistakes and transition, and that's just what happens."
This weekend, they lost to the Capilano Blues and Douglas Royals.
On Saturday, Katy Couperus dug up 12 balls, one more than teammate Anna van Goudoever. Offensively third-year Brittany Harkess led the way with nine kills. She also had 10 digs, part of the 60 her team came up with against the Royals.
It was a marked difference compared to the beginning of the season, in which team defence was "shaky," according to Ramsey, who will be back for a second season as coach next year.
"Every single player improved on defence and digging. I was very, very pleased with that."
She said that, after a good start against the Avalanche alumni at the beginning of the year, the team struggled with cohesion and feeling comfortable on the court once the regular season got underway.
She said the younger players struggled in a league where they played teams brimming with players three or four years older than them.
"Overall, the first-years improved immensely. I'm very, very proud of everyone on the team. Everyone improved," said Ramsey.
As the year went on, the coach adjusted the club's goal-setting from an overarching season goal to a focus on each match.
"We wanted that 85 per cent serve; we made it for the most part, but then there would be those games where it really lacked. That's consistency, and that's lacking the experience," said Ramsey. "It seemed to be a lot easier for them to focus on the week and that weekend. For the most part, they did achieve those goals."
The men, meanwhile, have yet to achieve theirs, as they prepare for provincials. They meet the UBC Okanagan Lakers in the quarterfinals Thursday. By taking fourth spot with a win on the weekend, the Avalanche assured themselves of the enormous advantage of wearing their home colours to start things off.
On Friday — in front of a raucous, white-clad, pom pom-waving crowd — the men beat the visiting Blues, who were no doubt singing in their namesake genre after dropping a 2-1 lead and losing 25-17, 20-25, 20-25, 25-23 and 15-11.
Head coach Steve Kamps said Friday night's match was an anomaly.
"It was really quite strange. If you looked at the statistics, you would have guessed that Capilano was going to win the match," he said.
Defensively the Avalanche played well, with Eric Meeuwissen leading the way with 14 of the team's 33 digs.
"Offensively, we were having trouble putting the ball away," said Kamps. "They blocked us 24 times to our four blocks. Even with that, we still found a way to win. Capilano passed very well. It's just a sign of our character that we can win playing an average night, and that's as good as Capilano can play. That's got to be pretty deflating for them to lose that match after controlling the net as well as they did."
Capilano was in a must-win situation, and dropped from first to third in the rankings, meaning they'll play in the quarterfinals.
Blake Giles was a points machine against Capilano, getting 10 kills and seven aces. Aaron Flanagan was tops with 16 kills, while Graham Coskie also had 10. Flanagan was also the kills leader on Saturday, with 15.
If the Avalanche didn't get a lot of blocks on Friday, they did get timely ones: Mike Clark's stuff won the match in the fifth set.
Ryan Hilton played all five games on Friday night, finishing with six kills and a half of the team's four blocks. Kamps chose to rest Hilton on Saturday, giving Aaron Brown more time on the court.
"We stole a match on (Friday) night and feel really good about that. We did some good things out there (Saturday). We had guys step up."
On Saturday, the Avs also won their first set but dropped three-straight to the sixth-place Royals 25-18, 21-25, 21-25, and 23-25.
"I think we fought hard: the energy was there. I think the other team might have wanted it a bit more, and we just didn't execute. We made a pile of errors," said Kamps, pointing to 20 missed serves over the four sets.
"When you do that against a good team such as Douglas, you're not going to win those matches."
Kamps said he was impressed with several of his athletes who were in roles they weren't used to.
"Mike had an outstanding weekend, and Aaron Flanagan as well, stepping into virtually new roles for them," said Kamps.
"Anytime you lose, it's not great going into the playoffs but I think the guys should be proud of what we've done. We got ourselves into a good position in provincials and a good matchup against UBC-O. We're confident going into Thursday."
February 18, 2008
by Chris New
The Avs returned home for their final matches of the regular season, hosting Capilano and Douglas colleges.
Friday night, the women started with a difficult match up with the third ranked Capilano Blues. The Blues powered their way over our team, knocking the Avs off in three. The women had a much better game on Saturday against the Douglas Royals, but lost that match in three as well.
The men battled to a split over the weekend. The atmosphere in the gym was electric (thanks in part to the fantastic support of our Students' Association and extra loud fans) as the men went all the way to the tie breaker set on Friday night, knocking off the blues 3-2. The team was unable to repeat on Saturday, and dropped in four to the Royals, 3-1.
Brittany Harkess was named player of the match on Friday night, with Anna van Goudoever picking up the honours on Saturday. Dan Metcalf was player of the game for the Avs on Friday, and Eric Meeuwissen picked up the award on Saturday.
Harkess picked up 15 offensive points on the weekend, followed by first year Chelsey Morck with 13. First year Kaity Couperus picked up 17 digs to lead the women in defensive stats. First year Aaron Flanagan chalked up 31 offensive points over the weekend, followed by Blake Giles with 30 and Graham Coskey with 22. Meeuwissen picked up 30 digs.
The women's season is now wrapped up. The men will advance to the league provincial championships, starting on February 21st.
February 11, 2008
by Chris New
The Avalanche would have preferred a different outcome to their final road trip of the season. The teams dropped both their matches to the UCFV Cascades and the Columbia Bible College Bearcats.
The women were led by first year Brooke Moncrief who tallied five stuff blocks to go with her 5 kills. Brittany Harkess followed with 8 kills and an ace. Heather Julsrud added 6 kills and 2 stuffs, and led defensively with 22 digs.
The men were led offensively by Blake Giles who tallied 16 kills and two aces. Eric Meeuwissen dominated on defence with 27 digs over the two matches.
The Avalanche return home next week, Feb. 15 and 16 for their final home matches of the season.
February 5, 2008
By MATT COXFORD
The College of the Rockies Avalanche men started the weekend off by beating the second-ranked team in the country. That set up their first two-win weekend of the season.
The women, meanwhile, achieved some team goals but lost in straight sets to both the Malaspina Mariners and the Camosun Chargers.
The 9-7 men played an emotionally charged match against the Mariners on Friday, beating them 25-18, 22-25, 25-15, 20-25, 15-10.
"The matches we won, we took complete control with some lopsided scores, and then we kind of traded back and forth," said head coach Steve Kamps. "It seemed like whoever was on this side of the court (facing the climbing wall) was taking control."
Blake Giles helped pave the way, with 13 kills and six service aces.
Mike Clark chipped in with 11 kills, while Anton Louden had nine and a team-high six blocks.
"It was a great match; it was back and forth with some big blocks and huge kills by both teams," said Kamps. "It simply boils down to serving and passing, and we did that very well. We served them very tough and as a result, they had trouble running their offence."
The club passed a 2.47 out of 3, which is one of their highest ratings of the year. Kamps complimented the passers on delivering, and also said the team played great defence. Libero Eric Meeuwissen had 16 digs on Friday, and ended the weekend with 27.
"Anton was a force for us all weekend. He had five blocks (Saturday) and six blocks (Friday) as well. (Saturday) he was putting the ball away. I think he was probably close to 100 per cent any time he touched the ball," said the coach.
"Mike made some timely blocks for us and Blake and Ryan (Hilton) are just solid for us all the time, putting away stuff on the outside.
They often get garbage sets after we dig them up from not-good situations. They seem to be able to find ways to score out there."
After the high of beating one of the best teams in the country, the Avalanche had to reset for their match the next day against a Chargers team made almost solely of first-year players, and who sat on the outside of the playoff picture.
Kamps said the Avalanche haven't had trouble getting up for games against tough opponents, but have been complacent against lower- ranked teams.
"We addressed it earlier (last) week and said that every game is a playoff game now. We need to start believing we can win two matches in two days, and three in a row in three days at provincials," said Kamps. "We took a step in the right direction this weekend."
After a flat start from the Avs — and a good one by the Chargers — the locals settled down before winning in straight sets: 26-24, 25-15, 25-21.
"We talked about being patient against them. They don't play with a lot of emotion there — never have, never will," said Kamps. "They'll kind of lull you to sleep and before you know it, they'll be beating you. We stayed on top of it and had a big finish in the first set after being down by a couple and took control of the match after that."
Graham Coskey had nine kills and two aces, while Hilton had seven kills and eight digs.
The weekend's games were the Avalanche's first at home since the end of November.
"I guess we'd better enjoy it, because we're on the road again," said Kamps, with a laugh. "It's important for us to win on the road, and we know how hard it is to play on the road, and we need to return that favour when people come here."
Opening set nerves
The women told their coach they were suffering from nerves in the first set of their 6, 14, 16 straight-set loss to Malaspina.
"They just seemed to settle and get a couple of big rallies and win those points. They got some confidence through that," said head coach Lisa Ramsey.
She said her club, although winless through 14 matches, are finding ways to keep each other buoyed.
"If somebody gets down, somebody else has to bring them back up.
Instead of pointing out the negative parts of what's happening, point out the positive. They seem to be doing pretty well. I was really happy with the fact they walked off the court against Mal in a really good mood."
Although Malaspina (14-0) hasn't lost a match this year, they're ranked second in the province behind the Okanagan Lakers (15-1).
Kelsey Bowles led the Avs with 15 digs, while Heather Julsrud and Brittany Harkess had 13 and 10 respectively.
Saturday's game was against a now-5-9 Chargers club that was a little closer to the Avalanche in terms of skill, and the pressure caught up with them.
"They have no pressure against Mal, of course," said Ramsey. "Against Camosun, we missed six serves in the second set and we lost by six points. I think they knew they were fairly close, and once they realized that then the pressure kind of set in."
The Avalanche lost Saturday's match 18, 19 and 9.
Harkess and Julsrud each dug 13 balls, while Kelsey Bowles did the same to 10.
"That was one of our goals for this game, to kind of hit the floor a little bit more but to watch their shoulders and really try to dig everything," said Ramsey.
They didn't pass as well as they'd have liked, aiming for a rating of 1.8, but getting only 1.53.
"That's fairly low, but they have improved on their passing so it's still little by little with that," said Ramsey.
She said she's happy with the steps the young Avalanche players have taken.
"I think it's a good thing to constantly remind them that they're playing against third- and fourth-year players. I think they've progressed quite well," said the coach.
"It's consistency, and you can't expect that from first-year players when they're facing six-foot-two players on the other side that are banging it over the block."
The team isn't looking to getting wins as motivation.
"It's tough for them to stay positive now, but we've done lots of goal-setting," said Ramsey. "It was anything they wanted for themselves, and then they had team goals to set as well. Right now, I think we stay focused on our side."
January 31, 2008
By MATT COXFORD
The College of the Rockies Avalanche are back home this weekend. It marks their first such dates since the end of November.
Both teams host the Malaspina Mariners tonight before turning their attentions to the Camosun Chargers tomorrow afternoon. On the men's side, the Mariners are one of the best teams in the country, and come sporting a 10-2 record. The Chargers are just outside a playoff spot in seventh place with a 4-8 record.
"The whole weekend is important, and that's the message we're sending the guys," said Steve Kamps, whose Avalanche men are 7-5. "Every match is a playoff game now, and that's how we have to approach it.
The reality is we have not yet swept a weekend series. That's obviously a concern for us."
The women, meanwhile, are still searching for their first win. Malaspina boasts a 12-0 record, while Camosun is 3-9. The Avalanche men, who are currently in fifth place, could finish anywhere from second in the province to ninth depending how the next half-dozen games go.
Kamps said getting two wins on the weekend would shore up their position in the standings, not to mention shoring up confidence.
"At provincials, we're going to have to win two or three matches within a two or three day period in order to reach our goals. We need to start showing that and believing we can do that; having the stamina and physical and mental capabilities to do that."
Kamps said, in order to do well against Malaspina, the Avalanche will have to convert their serve-receive into a 70 per cent or better side out game. "We need to be serving the ball very tough so they can't get in a rhythm with their offence," he said. "If we do those two simple things at any level, you're going to win."
Aaron Brown will return to action this weekend, after sustaining multiple injuries ‹ including punctured lungs ‹ in a car accident in December.
"He's dropped about 15 pounds since the accident so he's absolutely flying," said Kamps. "His legs enjoyed the rest, and he's jumping as high as he ever has in his life. He's hitting the ball hard, it's just some of the other touches still need some reps coming back from being off for a couple of months."
Last weekend, the Avs played one match each at Selkirk College in Castlegar. The men did their part to ensure the Saints remained winless on the season, while the women Avs dropped straight sets to also remain winless.
"Looking at Selkirk's record, it's sometimes difficult to get up for that," said Kamps, of his team's win over 20, 13 and 19. "As much as we as a coaching staff told them to approach it as any other game, I think ultimately once you're out there and playing, it's more difficult to get up for a team that's 0-11 as opposed to the team (tonight) that's ranked No. 2 in Canada. That's just the nature of sports."
Tonight's women's game starts at 6 p.m., with the men scheduled to take the court at 7:45. Tomorrow's matches start at 1 and 2:45 p.m.
January 24th, 2008
By MATT COXFORD
In the battle of the B.C. Colleges Athletic Association oh-fer teams, the College of the Rockies Avalanche weren't able to improve their record on the weekend.
The women dropped to 0-11, while the College of New Caledonia Kodiaks bumped their record up to 2-10.
The Avs had one change after the previous week's strong play in the Vancouver: right side Brooke Moncrief came down with food poisoning or the flu, just as the team was heading to the CNC gym in Prince George.
"The chemistry is different when you put somebody else in. Friday night was about getting used to the six or seven players that are out there," said Lisa Ramsay, head coach.
Like the men's team, the women have found that tinkering with team chemistry doesn't lead to great results.
"They had such a good rapport with each other on the court the previous weekend," said Ramsay.
She said the host Kodiaks responded well to a partisan crowd and played well -- and played a bit lucky.
"It was their home gym, and they came out and were pretty strong. They had good fans. Having to bench Brooke for illness just threw a wrench in it," said Ramsay.
"What actually killed us on Friday is they dug the impossible ball, and then it would just hit the tape and roll over. It was undefendable. I just kept going 'Another one?' I bet you they must have had 20 points scored like that throughout the match."
The Avalanche got off a strong start Friday, but couldn't maintain it, falling 25-23, 25-14, 25-19.
Heather Julsrud led the Avalanche with 14 kills and 12 digs to go along with a service ace and a block on Friday. Kelsey Bowles also had a dozen digs. "Brittany Harkess had 13 digs, and she's becoming a very good defensive player," said Ramsay. "She just said (yesterday) 'I never used to like defence, but I'm loving it.'"
Ramsay also said middle Katy Koots stood out.
"She just led the team: she dug up the free balls when they came in. She got a lot of touches on the block, and her serving was good," said Ramsay. "She did her job. She's not going to hammer blocks down to the ground, but she got a touch on a lot."
On Saturday, Harkess and Julsrud again led the team in kills, with 11 each. Julsrud added another 18 digs, while Bowles came up with 17.
The women won their second game, but eventually lost in four: 16-25, 25-20, 20-25, 17-25.
Julsrud wound up being named player of the match both days.
"I have been waiting for Heather Julsrud to show up and play like I knew she could play. She's done well this semester," said the coach.
Next up, both the men and women will enjoy a bit of a reprieve from travel, as they'll go to Castlegar on Saturday to play the Selkirk Saints.
"That Prince George trip does take a lot out of you, so it'll be good just to have the one day," said Ramsay. "It's a full day, but they're back in their beds that night and they have Sunday for homework and rest. I'm looking forward to it, and I'm pretty sure they're happy it's just the one day."
The women will be concentrating on the transition from defence to hitting, and more consistent passing.
Moncrief is expected to be back in the line-up for that game.
"She's a really good spirit," said Ramsay. "Whether it's just the intimidation factor of her six-foot-one size -- she can hit a little bit higher than a lot of people in the league because of it -- she should bring back a good team dynamic for the weekend."
January 23rd, 2008
By MATT COXFORD
The College of the Rockies isn't a bad place to learn about chemistry. Who knew it would be the Avalanche men volleyballers to teach it?
The men learned all about the importance of chemistry last weekend, after dropping their first match to the College of New Caledonia Kodiaks before a close-call win on Saturday.
Head coach Steve Kamps had hoped to rest starters Ryan Hilton and Blake Giles, to allow their back and knees respectively to mend.
"Not to take any credit away from the guys who went in for them, it just seems to be a chemistry issue that we have," said Kamps.
"If we deviate from our starting six-plus-libero in any way, the chemistry is not there and guys are not as confident. It's mind-boggling. It's the same three guys on the floor passing, but it just changes everything."
After coming away from Prince George with a split, Kamps said the Avalanche likely won't deviate from their starting line-up.
"It's not a great thing for guys that are playing roles and looking for opportunities to play, but they also realize the same thing," said Kamps. "They're part of the team, and they want to win. If that means fulfilling role by coming in and serving or blocking duties, then they're willing to do that."
It was the Avalanche's second long road trip in as many weeks, but Kamps never wants to blame the travel.
"Whether that contributed to it or not, I'm not sure, but they were completely brain dead when they stepped on the court Friday night," said Kamps.
"They just looked sloppy at the net in blocking plays, and made a lot of hitting errors, which are uncharacteristic of us. We just weren't talking and we weren't jelling on the floor."
The Avalanche committed errors and the Kodiaks didn't.
"I think the guys started to tighten up and think about losing, thinking about outcomes and as a result we got frustrated and started to play worse," said Kamps.
The Kodiaks won 25-22, 16-25, 25-19, 21-25, 20-18.
The Avalanche had their chances in the fifth set as well, leading 15-14 and 16-15.
On the second day, Kamps put Giles in at libero, and had Eric Meeuwissen at the left side. The Avalanche found themselves down 2-1 before Kamps put in the starting rotation.
"As much as I wanted to rest Ryan and Blake, I felt it was a must-win for us so I gambled and went with them," he said. "Once they were on the court, it was just night and day difference. The confidence out there in every player was amazing to see."
It worked out, as the Avs won their last two games to take the match 20-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 15-6.
"It's just hard to describe when you have chemistry," said Kamps. "I always say don't question it, just be happy you have it. We took complete control of the fourth set, and won the last set 15-6."
With only four weeks left in the regular season, Kamps said the athletes have to start looking after their bodies "religiously."
That includes regular visits to physiotherapy, applications of ice and stretching.
"Literally two or three hours a day is what it's going to take, and I don't think that everyone's been doing it," said Kamps, who also noted the importance of hydration and sleep.
They'll also be returning to more practice, after a light schedule to start the New Year.
"I think the guys enjoyed the break we had between the two long trips but at the same time, guys feel they need to sharpen some of their skills," said Kamps.
"Most importantly, they want to be at practice now. If we hadn't gone with a lighter schedule the last couple of weeks -- I've been there before -- when you get to the beginning of February, guys don't want to be at practice anymore. We do need to be practicing then."
January 15th, 2008
By MATT COXFORD
The College of the Rockies men have proven they can compete with the best, and their head coach hopes a light gym regimen will keep it that way.
The Avalanche dispatched the previously undefeated Capilano Blues on Friday night before falling to the 4-5 Douglas Royals the next afternoon. The women, meanwhile, lost both of their matches, taking one game away from Douglas.
Men's coach Steve Kamps said -- with the performance his team recently had at a tournament in Calgary after five weeks away from practice -- less intense training is in order.
"We have a special group of guys here, who've proven to us that healthy and fresh is what they need," said Kamps, who won't have full practices leading up to next weekend at College of the New Caledonia.
"With the situation we're in, with some nagging injuries and the fact we're down to nine bodies, it's hard to do any game-like drills," he noted. The Avalanche were plenty fresh for Capilano, who hadn't lost in eight matches before dropping a 25-22, 17-25, 17-25, 26-24, 15-13 decision to COTR.
"We went in there with the attitude that we were the better team. We didn't play our most spectacular match of volleyball, but we seemed to find ways to win," said Kamps. "It was just the passion, and wanting it more than Capilano. We've been on the other end of that stick in the first semester."
Blake Giles led the way with 11 digs and 13 kills, including the match-winner. Anton Louden had five blocks, a feat which he would repeat the next day.
The Avalanche had trouble making the turnaround to play Douglas some 16 hours after wrapping up things against Capilano.
"Finishing at 10:30, 11 on Friday night and having to get up for another match the next day is sometimes difficult. As a result, we weren't prepared mentally and didn't seem to have the energy," said Kamps. "We didn't get into the match until the third set."
Even after dropping the first two matches 24-26, 23-25, the Avalanche still had the chance to win the match. The forced a fifth set with 25-23, 25-21 wins before losing the tie breaker 11-15.
The Avs led 8-6 during the last set.
"We switched sides, and it was like a light switch went off. There's no way to describe it," said Kamps. "We had a complete mental breakdown. It wasn't just one player, it was the whole team. They outscored us 9-3 to win the match."
Giles had 12 kills and three service aces. Louden had 11 kills. Graham Coskey added 10 kills and four blocks.
The Avalanche had a stronger statistical day on Saturday, coming up with 14 blocks in the last two-and-a-half sets. The team also passed a 2.44 out of 3 on Friday, compared to just 2.06 against Capilano.
"It seemed like Douglas got every single break," said Kamps. "They won every long rally and got some luck. You have to be good to be lucky, and you prepare to be lucky, but we just couldn't catch a break anywhere. Whether it was an officiating call, or balls that are one inch in rather than one inch out, it was just a frustrating day."
Kamps said Douglas is better than their then-3-6 record would suggest. The women, meanwhile, haven't won a match in nine tries so far, but coach Lisa Ramsey said confidence is high after the weekend.
"The passing was outstanding on Friday and wavered a bit on Saturday, but overall it was still decent," said Ramsey, who had picked out passing as an element to improve. "Then they got the transition and just felt a little more confident. I was very happy with how they played."
The Blues took their match in straight sets, with the Avs getting 9, 15 and 7 points respectively.
Heather Julsrud had seven kills and as many digs on Friday.
The next afternoon, she had the same number of kills and dug ten balls in the Avalanche's 25-14, 25-27, 25-19, 25-18 loss.
Ramsey recently moved Julsrud to the right side, and placed Cranbrook native Katy Couperus to the left. Listed at five-foot-five, she managed 15 digs, seven kills and two blocks against Douglas.
"She was like a little spitfire out there," said the coach. "She did really, really well."
On Saturday, the Avs lost their serving mojo: after missing only two serves the night before, the went on to miss 14.
"That's handing 14 points to a team who we were right in there with," said Ramsey. "That was tougher to swallow, but they were closer games so the pressure was there."
The Avs will have a good chance to get a win next weekend, when they head up to Prince George to take on the 0-10 CNC Kodiaks.
"If we pass as well as we did Friday, we'll do well. It kind of hinges on getting that initial contact in a playable position," said Ramsey. "I don't know anything about them, but it's an important couple of key matches to build confidence."
Paint the Gym Pink
We raised over $2400 in February on behalf of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
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