Grizzlies split 4-game matches in Colorado Mines Tourney
by Chris Day
GOLDEN, Colo.ó The Adams State College Grizzlies split a pair of 4-game matches falling to still undefeated Ferris State (Mich.) University before rebounding to take out the University of Missouri-Rolla Miners on Friday, the first of two days of competition at the Days Inn-Denver West Oredigger Volleyball Classic, being held in the Colorado School of Minesí Lockridge Arena.
The Grizzlies, who could not convert on a pair of game points to go up 2-1 in the Ferris State match, are now 3-3 on the season heading into Saturday, when they will face the nationís sixth-ranked Concordia-St. Paul (Minn.) Golden Bears and the Merrimack (Mass.) College Warriors at 1 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.
ASC senior Brittany Muchmore (Peoria, Ariz.) put down a career-high 19 kills in the Ferris State match but was not enough to overcome the Bulldogs, who had four players with 10 or more kills.
Senior outside hitter Lindsay Tye led the way for the Bulldogs with 20 kills, many of them rockets, and 11 digs. Setter Candice Marut also recorded a double-double with 53 assists and 12 digs as the Bulldogs improved to 5-0 with the hard-fought 30-32, 30-26, 32-30, 30-22 win.
FSU, which has made the NCAA Tournament in each of the last three years, then moved to a perfect 6-0 with a 3-game sweep of 2006 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference regular season champion Western New Mexico later in the evening.
Muchmore hit a strong .324 for the Grizzlies, who also received strong efforts from sophomore outside hitter Andrea Tuck (Erie, Colo.) and junior libero Jessie Pickens (Cortez, Colo.). Tuck, the RMACís leading attacker coming in, finished the match with 12 kills while Pickens turned in 21 digs.
The first set was tied on eight separate occasions and was knotted at 22 before Tye put two down two kills in a 3-0 run that forced ASC Coach Lindy Mortensen to call timeout.
Mortensenís words must have worked as the Grizzlies responded with a 3-0 run of their own, keyed by one of Darcy Jenningsí (Lakin, Kan.) match-high three service aces.
The Grizzlies then took a 29-27 lead after two of the Bulldogs 12 hitting errors in the first game before Tye and Marut kills erased two set points. Tye then recorded an ace to put the Bulldogs up 30-29 before a Gina Meyer-Smith (Blanding, Utah) kill evened the score once again.
Meyer-Smith then served the next two points as ASC closed the game out on a Jennings smash.
Game two was just as close before a 3-0 Bulldog spurt gave FSU a 22-19 lead. The Grizzlies pulled within one at 24-23 thanks to Jennings, Mary McNeil (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Muchmore kills but could not get any closer as FSU evened the match on an Emily Nemmers kill.
The third game was even closer and featured 13 ties and seven lead changes.
FSU broke a 24-24 dead-lock with a 3-0 run before a Tuck kill triggered a 4-0 Grizzly spurt. Tye, who had seven kills in the third game alone, then stopped the bleeding before Muchmore answered to give ASC a 29-28 lead and a chance at going up two games to one.
However, Marut tied the game with a kill of her own before another Muchmore smash put ASC up 30-29. However, the Bulldogs did not relent as Marut set up Tye for a kill before a Bulldog block, one of 11 in the match, and a Grizzly hitting error gave the Bulldogs the 32-30 win.
The momentum then continued as FSU went up 6-0 in the fourth game en-route to victory.
The future of the Grizzly program was then on display later in the day as six underclassmen started against the UMR Miners, including freshman outside hitter Kimberly Ingram (Roswell, N.M.), making her first appearance as a Grizzly after sitting out the first weekend with an injury.
Ingram made the most of her start putting down 12 kills. She was joined in double figures by Tuck and Jennings, who had a season-high 14. Tuck put down 22 while hitting an impressive .442.
The former University of Wyoming player was in total control from the start putting down six kills while hitting .667 in ASCís easy first game win that set the tone for a 30-16, 30-24, 25-30, 30-19 win over the Miners, who fell to 0-6 in their first year at the varsity level.
McNeil turned in her third double-double of the season with 50 assists and 13 digs while Jennings also had her third of the season with 14 digs. She also added four blocks.
ASC hit .247 throughout the match and out-blocked the Miners 11-6. Meyer-Smith had a season-high six blocks to lead the Grizzlies in that category. The 5-foot-9 sophomore also had six kills and a .500 hitting percentage. Pickens, the only upperclassmen in the starting lineup, turned in 15 digs and a career-high five service aces while freshman outside hitter Amanda Strauss (Espanola, N.M.) registered 11 digs.
UMR was led by Leandra Pelaeís 10 kills off the bench.