Photo and Story Credit - Brad Mcleod, Cranbrook Townsman
It may still be early September, but the College of the Rockies Avalanche women's volleyball team proved this past weekend that they're ready to play.
Only a week into the semester and with less than two weeks of practice under their belt, the Avs took on their first preseason competition at home against top collegiate competition from Alberta.
Playing as a split squad, the COTR women were impressive and both put up 3-1 records while competing in some highly entertaining matches.
"I think it was a fantastic event [and] all the teams really enjoyed it," said Avs head coach John Swanson. "It's preseason for everybody and it's early in the season, but it [allows] everybody to play [and] get touches.
"Being a split squad, it [gave us] a lot of volleyball game experience early in the year."
The tournament kicked off on Friday afternoon with the COTR 1 team taking on the Ambrose University Lions in a dominant 3-0 Avs win.
The COTR 1 group was led by returning veteran Mikaela Pushor — who is in her second year with the Avs and fourth season of post-secondary volleyball — and former Camosun Chargers star Megan Beckett, a third-year right side hitter.
The team quickly found chemistry and took the first set 25-11. They then took the next two sets handily with 25-15 and 25-18 wins to complete the sweep.
The COTR 2 team, which included Alexa Koshman — a fourth-year Avs veteran and last year's team MVP — and returning libero Megan Clark, as well as returning middle blocker Danielle Warner, got their chance at Ambrose later that night.
It was a tighter affair in the second Avs-Lions match, with Ambrose taking the match to a fifth set before losing to COTR 3-2 (19-25, 25-10,25-18,18-25, 15-9).
On Saturday, the Avs played each other in an intrasquad game with COTR 1 getting the best of COTR 2 in a four set match.
After winning the first two sets both by a score of 25-21, COTR 1 was shocked by their Avs teammates in the third and lost 25-9. Although the fourth was tight, COTR 1 managed to narrowly win 25-23 to avoid a fifth set.
That night, COTR 1 was handed their one and only loss at the hands of the Lethbridge College Kodiaks in another five set barn burner (23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 20-25, 16-14).
COTR 2 then won in straight sets over the Olds College Broncos (25-21, 25-21, 25-13) and COTR 1 did the same on Sunday morning (25-16, 25-19, 25-13).
The tournament ended on Sunday afternoon with one of the most competitive matches of the weekend between COTR 2 and the Kodiaks. In a back-and-forth affair, the Avs side won the first set 27-25 before losing the next two 25-20 and 25-17.