Avalanche keep Cascades at bay for second straight day

The College of the Rockies Avalanche, battling for their playoff lives, played “like a desperate team” on Saturday in the estimation of University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball coach Kyle Donen.

That mentality paved the way for the Avalanche to wrap up a weekend sweep of the Cascades in Cranbrook.

15984411102_6ddb1d314c_hComing off a four-set defeat on Friday, UFV battled the Avalanche down to the wire in the first set and had a chance to serve for the set, but the hosts rallied to grind out a 28-26 triumph.

After taking the second set 25-17, COTR built a 24-19 lead in the third before the Cascades mounted a furious comeback highlighted by a pair of Joel Kleingeltink aces to cut the deficit to 24-23. But Kleingeltink’s terrific run at the service line came to an end when he unleashed a scorcher that went just long, and the Avalanche claimed a 25-23 win to close out the match.

“I think today was better – maybe the scores didn’t show that all the way through,” Donen said afterward. “But the loss in that first set really deflated us. The consistent play we seem to have in the first set just wasn’t there in the second.

“They were playing like a desperate team, and we gave them opportunities that we shouldn’t have and they beat us today.”

The Cascades fell to 6-14 on the season, good for fifth place in the PacWest conference.

The Avalanche improved to 5-15, and had a chance to move into the sixth and final PacWest playoff spot depending on what happens between the Capilano Blues and Camosun Chargers later Saturday afternoon. The Blues were 4-15 going in.

The UFV volleyball teams head out to North Vancouver this coming week for a Friday-Saturday set vs. Capilano. It’s the second-last weekend of the regular season, and the Cascades will subsequently wrap up their schedule with a home-and-home series against crosstown rival Columbia Bible College – Feb. 20 at CBC, and Feb. 21 at UFV’s Envision Athletic Centre (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m. both nights).

“We can’t expect to find a way to win when we’re down five or six points – you can’t make any errors (at that point),” Donen noted. “We just have to do a better job of being consistent though entire sets. That’s going to be our focus in practice this week.”

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