Mountaineers outlast hard-fighting Grizzlies in four
by Chris Day
GUNNISON, Colo.ó The Western State College Mountaineers completed the season-sweep of Adams State College for the first time in four years, outlasting a hard-fighting Grizzly squad in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference volleyball action on Friday night in the Paul W. Wright Gymnasium. The 4-game (30-28, 34-32, 26-30, 30-23) win improved the Mountaineers to 13-9 overall and more importantly to 8-6 in RMAC action, good for a 3-way tie with Colorado State-Pueblo, who the Mountaineers host on Saturday night, and UC-Colorado Springs for the final two RMAC Tournament spots.
The Grizzlies, who had late leads in both of the first two games, went into the intermission down two games and eventually fell to 4-20 overall and to 3-12 in the league after the 2-hour battle. The loss was ASCís seventh straight.
The Mountaineers took a 17-11 lead in the first game before an 11-2 Grizzly run, aided by four Ashly Heikes (Hartington, Neb.) service aces, gave the Grizzlies a 22-19 cushion. However, the Mountaineers came roaring back taking 25-24 and 26-25 leads before Darcy Jennings (Lakin, Kan.) and Leah Hill (Fort Collins, Colo.) kills around a Jennings service ace put the Grizzlies up 28-26.
Jennings then returned the favor with a service error as the Mountaineers scored the last four points of the game to take it on an Erin Osleson and Amanda Passehl block.
The Grizzlies were down by as many as nine in the second game before another long 12-3 run allowed them to tie it at 23. ASC eventually went up 29-27 on a Tiffany Stockebrand (Alamosa, Colo.) kill. However, the Mountaineers erased two game points before libero Melinda Baumgartner service error gave ASC a third at 30-29.
The teams then traded even more miscues as ASC gained a fourth game point on a Hill kill. However, Osleson, who had a match-high 18 kills throughout, came up big putting down two of her five blocks before giving her squad the overtime set after putting back a Grizzly overpass.
Tied at 12 in the third game, Jennings put down one of her 15 kills giving ASC a lead that the Grizzlies would not relinquish. WSC did not go down without a fight and was within one at 19-18 before two Hill service aces highlighted a 4-0 Grizzly run that gave ASC enough of a cushion in the set that Hill finished with two kills in three rallies.
Looking to force a fifth game, the Grizzlies were tied with the Mountaineers on 11 different occasions in the first half of the Game 4 before a Passehl block and Osleson kill started a 4-0 Mountaineer run that hosts up 17-14.
WSC then gradually stretched that lead closing the match out with an Osleson put-back.
Osleson had plenty of help in the win, especially from senior middle blocker Heather Adams, who had 11 kills and 10 blocks, and sophomore setter Amy Thompson, who had 51 assists, nine digs and seven kills.
Stockebrand led the Grizzlies, coming off the bench to put down 16 kills. Jennings did record a double-double with her 15 kills and another 15 digs while Heikes recorded a match-high 56 assists. Freshman libero Ronica Stanley (Cortez, Colo.) dug up a match-high 19 Mountaineer attacks.
ASC Freshman Gina Meyer (Blanding, Utah) also played well putting down 14 kills while hitting a solid a match-best .312.
The Mountaineers went without a service ace for the first three games before recording three in Game 4. One of the better blocking teams in the RMAC, the Mountaineers did put down 18. The Grizzlies had nine service aces and 10 blocks.