Johanningmeier sinks Grizzlies' playoff hopes
GUNNISON, Colo.— Near misses. That was the story of the 2004 Adams State College volleyball season.
It was also the story of the Grizzlies' 30-26, 30-26, 25-30, 24-30, 17-15 loss to arch-rival Western State College on Saturday night in WSC's Paul Wright Gymnasium, a loss that will keep the Grizzlies out of next weekend's Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament.
Rallying from two games down, the Grizzlies forced a fifth game only to fall behind 11-9. Eventually thing the decisive set at 13 on a Kallee Bingham kill, the Grizzlies earned a game point when the Mountaineers' Erin Osleson committed an attacking error.
However, ASC returned the favor with an attacking error before WSC's lone senior, Janel Johanningmeier, put down two kills in the match and season-ending run. Finishing with 12 kills and 23 digs, Johanningmeier help the Mountaineers improve to 7-20 overall and 4-15 in RMAC action. ASC finished 13-13 overall and 8-11 in RMAC play, one match short of their third straight RMAC Tournament appearance.
The Grizzlies' Ashton Thomas had 20 kills and a career-high 11 digs to help lead ASC while senior setter Monica Garcia closed out her career with a season-high 61 assists. Moving into second place on ASC's career assists list in the first game, Garcia finished her career with 3,489. Junior libero Carly Simpson had a match and career-high 33 digs and now has 1,030 for her career. She had 499 of those in 2004, the fourth best single-season effort in ASC history.
Both players would give up their milestones in a heartbeat if they could be heading to Kearney, Neb. for the RMAC Tournament.
ASC hit just .127 and .177 in the first and second games, respectively, and were playing catchup from the outset. Looking to even the match at a game a piece, the Grizzlies watched Johanningmeier put down a kill to break a 26-26 second game tie. Jen Reichert, who had 14 kills on the night, put one down as well before she blocked a Thomas attack. Garcia then committed an attacking error as the Mountaineers claimed their second straight 30-26 set.
Facing the end of their season, the Grizzlies jumped out to a 13-8 lead in the third game and finally put it away with Thomas and Emily Bussey kills.
Leading by just two at 19-17 in the fourth game, the Grizzlies used a 5-2 run to gain some breathing room before a Bingham/Thomas block of Reichert sent the match into a fifth game.
Trailing 7-6, the Mountaineers used a Reichert kill to trigger a 3-point spurt that gave them a 9-7 lead. The teams then exchanged the next four points before Thomas and Bingham tied the set at 13. WSC called a timeout after Osleson's miscue and then relied on Johanningmeier, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter, to end ASC's postseason dreams.
Osleson hit .333 on the night while Tynet Calhoun put down 18 kills and two solo blocks. Allison Talus had 32 digs to lead the Mountaineers in that category.
Thomas, who matched her career-high of kills, was held to a .106 attack percentage on 66 swings while Bussey recorded 18 kills and 22 digs, new career-highs. Megan Jennings and Brittany Muchmore combined for another 25 kills.
The teams combined for 153 kills and 214 digs in the 2-hour and 7-minute match. WSC had a 10-6 blocking advantage and outhit ASC by a slight .198 to .190 margin.
The Grizzlies were 0-3 in 5-game matches this season, losing two of them by just two fifth game points.