Grizzlies drop another heartbreaker in RMAC opener
by Jacque Scoby
ALAMOSA, Colo.ó Just looking at the box score, one would think the Adams State College volleyball team had won. Five players in double digit kill figures. Five players with ten or more digs. Two players with double-double efforts. An all-time school record 71 Tagen Bierley (Colorado Springs, Colo.) assists.
The difference? Eighteen Colorado School of Mines blocks, a .171 ASC hitting percentage and 16 Grizzly service errors.
Combine all that, and it adds up to yet another 5-game heartbreaker for the Grizzlies, who fell to the visitng Orediggers by game scores of 26-30, 26-30, 30-14, 30-26 and 12-15 as both teams opened the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference portion of the season Friday evening in ASCís Plachy Hall. The games were part of the RMAC Crossover Tournament being held in Alamosa this weekend.
The Grizzlies fell to 1-9 on the season and 0-1 in the conference. CSM now sports 4-5 and 1-0 records.
The Orediggers jumped out to the early 2-0 lead heading into the intermission. CSM used seven total blocks and five Grizzly service errors in game one to overcome 18 Bierley assists to gain the early edge. The Orediggers led by as many as seven points midway through the game before letting the Grizzlies back into contention late in the game.
CSM then led from the start in game two, using five Amanda Rebol kills to keep the Grizzlies at bay heading into the break.
The Grizzlies came roaring back in game three, dominating the play to take the 30-14 win, aided by six Darcy Jennings (Lakin, Kan.) kills. Jennings served ten of ASC points in the set as the Grizzlies jumped out to an early 7-1 lead and never looked back, posting a .400 hitting percentage in the game, their best of the night.
Game four proved to be one of the hardest fought battles of the night, featuring 15 ties and nine lead changes. The two teams were tied at every point from 10 to 20 before the Grizzlies broke away to take a 24-20 lead en-route to the hard fought victory. The Grizzlies hit .207 in that affair to force the decisive fifth game.
Game five was just as intense with six ties and three lead changes. Neither team could gain the upper hand until the Orediggers pulled away from an 11-10 lead to take a 13-10 lead on a Kaity Edmiston kill and block assist. Edmiston also teamed with Rebol for a game and match-ending block.
The Grizzlies nearly pulled off the come-back effort thanks to a career effort from Bierly. The 71 assists smashed a 7-year-old school record, formerly held by Sandy (Wilcox) Hotz, who was in attendance for Fridayís performance. The 5-foot-6 sophomore also a .402 set percentage as the Grizzlies out-killed the Orediggers by a 78-47 margin.
Jennings, a redshirt freshman who came to the Grizzlies from Wichita State University, had 20 kills to pace the Grizzlies. Senior Alamosa native Tiffany Stockebrand had 17 while freshman Gina Meyer (Blanding, Utah) and junior Janie Elkins (Berthoud, Colo.) had 14 apiece, a career best for each player. Junior Brittany Muchmore (Peoria, Ariz.) also had 13 kills.
Elkins also posted a career-best 24 digs to lead five Grizzlies in double-digit digs. The double-double was the first of her young career.
CSM got 11 kills from Rebol and ten each from Edmiston and Nicole Leeper. The Orediggers also had a balanced defensive effort with five players in double digit digs.
Both teams will resume play tomorrow. ASC will face Colorado Christian University at 11 a.m. in Plachy Hall while CSM will take on New Mexico Highlands at 11 a.m. at Alamosa High School.