The first weekend of the 2018-19 PACWEST men's volleyball season saw the Royals put up two three-set sweeps against the College of the Rockies Avalalnche in two exhilarating home games.
The Royals were dominant early on in Saturday's match, jumping out to a 15-7 lead in the first set and never looking back. Just when the Avalanche seemed to be gaining some momentum, a huge kill from second-year outside hitter Greg Moore snuffed out any hopes of a first-half comeback for COTR, as they took the opening set 25-17.
The second set was initially troublesome from the Royals - they went down 7-3 early, and their first lead of the set was at 14-13. But once they got back out in front, the Royals kicked into gear. The Avalanche attempted a couple trick plays, but the Royals players were incredibly aware and dealt with them easily. A hard-fought second set saw the Royals come out on top 25-19.
The third set seemed to start out close, but the Royals quickly pulled out in front. John Colobong entered the game and made a two incredible, unorthodox plays to earn two big points for the Royals. First, after a block spun off the top of the net and careened towards the floor, Colobong instictinvely stuck out a foot and kicked it up into the air, in what was an act of desperation. But the save ended up being a perfect set to Greg Moore, who was able to get the kill. Later in the set, Colobong went up for an attack that was blocked and caromed back off his head, over the net, and onto the floor before an Avalanche player could get a touch on it, putting the Royals up 17-8. After trading a few points, the Royals had match point, and Reid Marriot drove home the match-winning kill, ending the final set 25-15.
Sunday's game was much closer. The entire first set saw the Royals and Avalanche trade points back and forth - no team was up by more than one point until the end of the set. With the score tied at 24, the set continued to extra points. These were traded back and forth as well until, with a 28-27 advantage, Max Haronga's massive kill won the first set for Douglas.
Towards the end of the second set, it looked as though the Royals would pull ahead after they earned a six-point lead and forced an Avalanche timeout, but the COTR team clawed back to force extra points again. This time however, only one extra point was needed, as the Royals would take the second set 26-24.
In the final set, the two teams were once again neck and neck, but with the teams tied at 21, the Royals scored four straight points to win the set and the match, sweeping the Avalanche in both matches on the weekend.
The Royals will be on the road next weekend when they face the Camosun Chargers.