Friday night the COTR Avalanche (4-18) will host the UFV Cascades (9-11) in the PACWEST Spike Night with both teams needing to snap a streak to keep their post season hopes alive.
The Cascades have lost five straight but currently are holding the fifth seed and if the PACWEST championship started today they would face the Douglas Royals.
They will play their seventh and eighth road matches of the New Year as they make the nine hour bus trip to COTR. The Cascades are 5-4 away from home, but have lost three straight while on the road. They last faced the Avalanche in November and swept in four and five gruelling sets at home.
Offensively Nick Bruce and Ben Friesen continue to lead the way as the top point producers. In order for them to have success they need to find secondary scoring from players like Dayton Pagliericci and Matt Whittall.
“We know we’re playing a desperate team,” UFV head coach Kyle Donen said. “They’ll be grinding for set wins as much as they’ll be grinding for match wins, so we expect it to be a battle – and a pretty hostile environment to play in, as well. But I think we’re up to the challenge. We’ve done some good things the last couple weeks, we just haven’t gotten the winning results yet. I feel good about where we’re at heading into the weekend.”
The Avalanche on the other hand will play their final matches this weekend and find themselves in a deadlock with the CBC Bearcats for the final playoff spot. The Avalanche have lost 13 straight and haven’t tasted a victory since November 16th. As a matter of fact they haven’t won a set in seven straight. All that said they can still squeak into the post season with a pair of wins this weekend and then get a little help from the Cascades next weekend when they play a home and home against the idle Bearcats.
Offensively Matt Cespedes and Julio Lins will need to be a major factor. They are the top two weapons for their club leading the team in kills and offensive points. There is extra incentive for Lins who is hoping to prolong his PACWEST career by qualifying for the championship tournament, which oddly enough happens to be hosted at UFV.
These two teams will square off on Friday night at 8:00pm and then again on Saturday at 3:00pm.