College of the Rockies’ women’s Avalanche volleyball team travels to Charlottetown, PEI on March 8 to compete in the 2016 CCAA Women’s Volleyball National Championship.
After earning a spot in the PACWEST provincial championships in February for only the second time in the team’s 15-year history, the women’s Avalanche surprised many by winning gold.
Kelsey Thompson, Alexa Koshman and Kennedy Koop are three members of the gold medal winning team, who will be travelling to the National Championship. Thompson was named a 1 team All-Star for the league as well as MVP for the tournament and Player of the Game for the gold medal match. Koshman and Koop were both named Tournament All-Stars.
When reflecting on their time at Provincials, the student-athletes said they went in knowing that they had what it takes to win. To help them along the way, Thompson, a Business Administration student from Vernon, would play inspirational speeches to her teammates. One line in a speech hit a chord with her teammates – “Passion has a funny way of trumping logic.”
“This is the most passionate team I’ve ever played on,” Koshman, a University of Victoria/East Kootenay Teacher Education student from Lethbridge, AB, notes. “Perhaps having us, at number 6, beating the number two and number one teams wasn’t logical, but we knew we had the passion necessary to do it.”
“We peaked at the right time,” adds Thompson. “While some teams peaked earlier on in the season, we came into our own at the right time. And if we lost a point or a game, we didn’t panic. We just stayed positive and kept pushing.”
The team is extraordinarily close and Thompson, Koshman and Koop are clear that this was a team effort. “We are like a family,” says Thompson. “We have a lot of fun on and off the court.”
“I wouldn’t want to have this experience with anyone else but this team,” adds Koshman.
The support they received along the way had a huge impact on their success, the teammates say. Many of the student-athletes’ parents would travel to their games to cheer them on and the men’s team provided support all season long.
As the underdogs, the Avalanche received a lot of support from other colleges and universities in the PACWEST. This was especially apparent during Provincials, with the crowd loudly and enthusiastically rooting on the Avalanche.
“The cheers from the crowd felt like an instant wall of energy,” Koshman says. “We were able to feed off that.”
Looking ahead to Nationals, the ladies are feeling confident. “We strongly feel that we can get a medal,” says Thompson.
“Going into games with confidence has helped us be successful,” adds Koop, an Office Administration student from Nieverville, MB.
Rather than being intimidated by the challenge ahead of them, these three athletes are excited to be representing BC and College of the Rockies.
“The College says we’re ‘Small College Proud’ and the support we’ve seen through this shows that,” says Koop.
“We didn’t realize how much support we had here until Provincials,” adds Thompson. “It’s going to be cool to represent everyone at the College and to show what it means to be small college proud.”
“When we started out, unranked, no one knew who College of the Rockies was,” notes Koshman. “Now we’re starting to get a name. We’re ranked number four in the country. People are starting to know who College of the Rockies is. That is a great feeling.”
Find out more about College of the Rockies’ Avalanche.