COTR Avalanche men fall twice to CBC Bearcats at home

Volleyball team drops to tie at bottom of conference standings as home court struggles continue

Heading into the weekend, the College of the Rockies Avalanche men’s volleyball team knew they were playing a pair of very important games.

According to head coach Cisco Farrero, a spot at the PACWEST Provincial tournament was “pretty much on the line” as they hosted the Columbia Bible College Bearcats on Friday and Saturday.

Ahead of CBC by two wins before the matches, COTR had a chance to create some real separation in the race for the sixth and final playoff spot.

After coming up short, however, the Avs are now tied in the final position outside of the postseason and have set themselves up for a dramatic finish to the season.

“We lost the first contact, both serve and reception, in both matches,” Farrero told the Townsman on Monday. “We missed 39 serves this weekend over the 8 total sets and our reception directly cost us the first two sets on Friday.

“Whenever that happens, you can throw gameplan out the window because you don’t give yourself a chance.”

On Friday, the team fought hard to pull off a comeback. Losing 25-17 in the first set and then 25-21 in the second, they avoided an early ending by digging deep and winning the next two sets both by a score of 25-22.

Unfortunately, the fifth set ‘coin toss’ flipped on the Bearcats’ side and ended as a 15-12 victory for the road team.

The next day, the Avs played three very close sets, but didn’t even manage to get an opportunity at a fourth or a fifth. Luck was on CBC’s side and they won 25-23, 27-25 and 25-19.

“On Friday we battled a lot harder [than Saturday] and it was a more emotionally-charged match,” Farrero explained. “Saturday was poorly executed by both teams and when two teams play an ugly game there’s still a winner and a loser. CBC did exactly what I thought they would do both games and we didn’t deserve a victory in either match.”

With the unfortunate early ending to an important weekend, the showdown between the two teams will now continue as they close out the year with matches against other teams.

COTR is 4-12 with a four-game road trip coming up on Vancouver Island, and then end the season by hosting Douglas College and the University of Fraser Valley. CBC, meanwhile, is 4-14 and play Douglas, Camosun and UFV to end their year.

“I don’t know if there really is [that much] pressure, we just know that we have eight more games and it’s going to take a complete effort to win matches,” Farrero said. “CBC has the tiebreaker with us now [having won the season series 3-1] so we have to find a way to pull ahead of them.

“If that takes one win, two wins, or more, we will do our best to chase that last playoff spot. We have to be better on service and reception and get more consistency out of our setting.”

Despite the losses, COTR had quality performances from a number of their players over the weekend. Matt Cespedes ended the weekend with 18 kills, while Zach James and Breno Fabbri had 12 each. Blake Thomson had another impressive pair of games at libero with 16 digs.

The Avs’ next match is on the road Thursday against the Camosun Chargers, who are 6-10 and in fifth-place in the PACWEST. The teams will play again on Friday before COTR travels to play the 13-3 Vancouver Island University Mariners on Saturday and Sunday.

Heading into the weekend, the College of the Rockies Avalanche men’s volleyball team knew they were playing a pair of very important games.

According to head coach Cisco Farrero, a spot at the PACWEST Provincial tournament was “pretty much on the line” as they hosted the Columbia Bible College Bearcats on Friday and Saturday.

Ahead of CBC by two wins before the matches, COTR had a chance to create some real separation in the race for the sixth and final playoff spot.

After coming up short, however, the Avs are now tied in the final position outside of the postseason and have set themselves up for a dramatic finish to the season.

“We lost the first contact, both serve and reception, in both matches,” Farrero told the Townsman on Monday. “We missed 39 serves this weekend over the 8 total sets and our reception directly cost us the first two sets on Friday.

“Whenever that happens, you can throw gameplan out the window because you don’t give yourself a chance.”

On Friday, the team fought hard to pull off a comeback. Losing 25-17 in the first set and then 25-21 in the second, they avoided an early ending by digging deep and winning the next two sets both by a score of 25-22.

Unfortunately, the fifth set ‘coin toss’ flipped on the Bearcats’ side and ended as a 15-12 victory for the road team.

The next day, the Avs played three very close sets, but didn’t even manage to get an opportunity at a fourth or a fifth. Luck was on CBC’s side and they won 25-23, 27-25 and 25-19.

“On Friday we battled a lot harder [than Saturday] and it was a more emotionally-charged match,” Farrero explained. “Saturday was poorly executed by both teams and when two teams play an ugly game there’s still a winner and a loser. CBC did exactly what I thought they would do both games and we didn’t deserve a victory in either match.”

With the unfortunate early ending to an important weekend, the showdown between the two teams will now continue as they close out the year with matches against other teams.

COTR is 4-12 with a four-game road trip coming up on Vancouver Island, and then end the season by hosting Douglas College and the University of Fraser Valley. CBC, meanwhile, is 4-14 and play Douglas, Camosun and UFV to end their year.

“I don’t know if there really is [that much] pressure, we just know that we have eight more games and it’s going to take a complete effort to win matches,” Farrero said. “CBC has the tiebreaker with us now [having won the season series 3-1] so we have to find a way to pull ahead of them.

“If that takes one win, two wins, or more, we will do our best to chase that last playoff spot. We have to be better on service and reception and get more consistency out of our setting.”

Despite the losses, COTR had quality performances from a number of their players over the weekend. Matt Cespedes ended the weekend with 18 kills, while Zach James and Breno Fabbri had 12 each. Blake Thomson had another impressive pair of games at libero with 16 digs.

The team has not yet won a home match, with two of their four wins coming on the road and the other two being the result of forced forfeit following the matches.

The Avs’ next match is on the road Thursday against the Camosun Chargers, who are 6-10 and in fifth-place in the PACWEST. The teams will play again on Friday before COTR travels to play the 13-3 Vancouver Island University Mariners on Saturday and Sunday.

Cranbrook Daily Townsman

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