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Avalanche Open PACWEST Volleyball Season in Cranbrook

The College of the Rockies Avalanche are geared up for a new PACWEST season, as the Men’s and Women’s Volleyball teams host the Douglas College Royals.

At College of the Rockies, the Women’s Avalanche play their first match at 6:00 pm on Friday and 1:00 pm on Saturday, while the Men’s Avalanche battle the Royals at 8:00 pm and 3:00 pm respectively.

The Men’s Avalanche are looking to rebound from an 8-16 season a year ago, where they finished fifth in the PACWEST after losing in the quarterfinals of the Conference Championship to the Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners.

Veterans Alex Avery, Matt Cespedes and Caleb Peters lead the Avalanche into another season. Avery and Cespedes are entering their fourth season with the College of the Rockies. Peters is back for his second season after being named a PACWEST First-Team All-Star in his rookie campaign. The Mount Baker Secondary alumnus was second in total offense last season, averaging 4.25 points per set, third in kills, averaging 3.45 per set, and fourth in aces, averaging 0.53 aces per set.

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While the Men’s Avalanche are equipped with its veterans which also includes Brazilian outside hitter Gustavo Bertoli, the roster is fairly fresh with nine rookies including Riley Byman and Jordan Simpson from Cranbrook’s Mount Baker Secondary.

The Women’s Avalanche are now three full seasons removed from their PACWEST Championship in 2016 as they have a new coach at the helm in Bryan Fraser and feature a roster with seven rookies and six veterans. Last season, the Avalanche finished last in the PACWEST with a 4-20 record and lost in the Conference Championship quarterfinals to the Camosun College Chargers.

The Avalanche will rely heavily on the experience of Taylor Whittall, a three-year veteran that was a PACWEST Second-Team All-Star with the team last season. Whittall was an all-around player for the Avalanche last year, finishing eighth in total blocks, 11th in total kills, and 13th in total offense and digs in the PACWEST. Megan Clark also brings a plethora of experience to this year’s roster as the libero enters her fourth season with the Avalanche.

Interesting inclusions to the Women’s Avalanche this season include local rookie Mariah Prust from Mount Baker Secondary School and Ecaterina Arabadji, an international addition from Moldova. It’s expected that Prust will mainly play libero behind Clark while Arabadji will mostly lineup on the outside and look to provide offense to the Avalanche’s attack this year.

The 2019/20 PACWEST season officially gets underway Friday at 6:00 pm at College of the Rockies for the Women’s match before the Men’s match at 8:00 pm.

Caleb Peters of the College of the Rockies Avalanche going for a kill at the 2019 PACWEST Championships in Cranbrook on Thursday, February 21, 2019. (Bradley Jones, MyEastKootenayNow.com staff)
Alex Avery of the College of the Rockies Avalanche serving at the 2019 PACWEST Championships in Cranbrook on Thursday, February 21, 2019. (Bradley Jones, MyEastKootenayNow.com staff)
Caleb Peters of the College of the Rockies Avalanche at the 2019 PACWEST Championships in Cranbrook on Thursday, February 21, 2019. (Bradley Jones, MyEastKootenayNow.com staff)
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