Stockebrand, Heikes records not enough for persistent Grizzlies
ALAMOSA, Colo.— A pair of all-time school records and a stubborn Adams State College volleyball squad were not enough Saturday afternoon as the Grizzlies fell in a hard-fought 5-game match to the visiting Western New Mexico University Mustangs in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action. The Mustangs, now 26-6 overall and 16-3 in the conference, claimed the right to host next weekend’s RMAC tournament with the win.
ASC concluded its season with 5-23 overall and 4-15 conference records.
Senior outside hitter Tiffany Stockebrand (Alamosa, Colo.), who had matched a career-high with 24 kills on Friday, bettered that mark and set a new all-time school record less than 24 hours later when she put down 34 kills on Saturday. That mark broke the former record of 31 held by former Grizzly stand-out Amy Cousin. Stockebrand also had a career-high 26 digs in the contest as the Grizzlies played without a libero for the second straight match.
Junior setter Ashly Heikes (Hartington, Neb.) also set a record of her own after dishing out 74 assists, breaking the former record of 71, set earlier this season.
The Grizzlies, looking for their second straight win, battled to extra-point wins in games two and four, but were unable to come up with the decisive fifth-game victory as the Mustangs took the 30-24, 29-31, 30-24, 34-36, 15-12 win.
ASC came out of the gates strong, taking a 5-1 lead in game one only to watch the Mustangs, who had already clinched the West Division title, battle back to tie things up at 8, then take a 12-8 lead on three kills and a pair of Liz Narkon service aces.
Not giving up, the Grizzlies waged a rally of their own, retaking the lead at 20-19 and again at 21-20 and 22-21. WNMU, however, took nine of the final 11 points for the 30-24 win and the early advantage.
The Grizzlies would not be outdone as they staved off three straight Mustang game points in game two to rally from a 26-29 deficit to take a 31-29 win. Stockebrand, who had nine kills in that game alone, had three straight in the final rally to tie the game at 29, forcing a Mustang time-out.
Freshman Gina Meyer (Blanding, Utah) and junior Brittany Muchmore (Peoria, Ariz.) then hammered down the final two kills of the game, sending both teams to the locker room tied at a game apiece.
Game three belonged almost entirely to the Mustangs, as they led nearly from the start. The Grizzlies managed to force ties at points seven and eight, but WNMU never gave up the lead as they claimed a 2-1 advantage in games with another 30-24 win.
Game four proved to be yet another intense affair, featuring 14 ties and three lead changes. The Grizzlies, who had led from point 13 on, gained a 29-27 advantage after two straight Darcy Jennings (Lakin, Kan.) kills, only to watch WNMU erase a pair of game points to tie things up at 29 and force yet another extra-point game.
The two teams then battled through six Grizzly game points before Jennings slammed down two straight kills to give ASC the 36-34 game win and force the fifth and final game of the match. Jennings and Stockebrand each had seven kills in the fourth game.
The Grizzlies, looking for the upset win, got off to a hot start in that fifth game, taking a 3-1 lead. WNMU, however, erased both points and took the lead for good at 9-8.
The Mustangs extended that lead to 13-8 and looked to be cruising to the match victory, but three straight Stockebrand kills forced a WNMU timeout. The Mustangs came out of that break to claim a match point.
Meyer erased that match point with another kill, but the Mustangs’ Meghan Watson put down her final kill, allowing WNMU to escape with the win.
The Grizzlies had four players with double-double efforts, led by Stockebrand’s career day. Jennings had 16 kills and 24 digs to go along with her eight blocks, while Meyer had 14 digs and 15 kills, rounding out her freshman season.
Sophomore Jessie Pickens (Cortez, Colo.) had 11 kills and 18 digs, while Heikes had seven digs and three blocks to go along with her record 74 assists.
WNMU was led by 23 Watson kills, while Narkon had 21 digs to lead the way defensively. Narkon also had 18 kills to complete the double-double.