The College of the Rockies Avalanche women’s volleyball team has opened the new PACWEST season with a 3-3 record through the first six matches. They are preparing for their final home weekend before the holiday break.
Head coach Bryan Fraser is now in his fourth season with the Avalanche, and he has set his sights high as the College of the Rockies will host the PACWEST championship tournament at the end of February. In order to play in that playoff tournament, the Avalanche need to be one of the final four teams after the regular season. Fraser has surrounded himself with four outstanding young minds on the bench to help achieve that goal and they are no strangers to the Avalanche. Taylor Whittall has joined the coaching staff after three seasons with the Avalanche. Former men’s athlete Alex Avery who played from 2016-2022 is also on the bench as is Capilano Blues alumni Rhiannon Paterson and Douglas Royals graduate Brendan Paterson.
Brooklyn Brodner is now in her second season after a wonderful rookie campaign where she led her team in blocks. Through the first six matches this year she leads the PACWEST with 19 blocks and has added 41 kills.
Claire Newsome returns for her second year of eligibility and is the team’s captain. She has been one of the best all around athletes this year leading her club with 45 kills, has 51 total offensive points and 42 digs.
The Avalanche coaching staff is excited about the addition of Abby Betker, a first year outside hitter from Selkirk Secondary in Kimberley. She currently has 10 kills, three blocks, six digs and an ace in six matches. She is a physically gifted athlete with a great understanding of the game for such a young player.
Following last season middle blocker Brynn Shaw decided to move on from volleyball and complete her science degree at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna. She was one of the hardest workers in the Avalanche gym last year and her positive energy and kindness will be missed this season.
Each year the Avalanche have a goal to develop local talent and this season is the first to see some of those athletes in the PACWEST. There are six student athletes from the Kootenays on the Avalanche roster including Betker, Winter Knudsgaard and Cranbrook native Lauren Penney.
Their roster this season is a good mix of second- and third-year athletes with one fourth year. They gained some valuable playing experience last year and have started to show positive signs here in 2022-2023. The Avalanche will host the Capilano Blues on Friday and Saturday.