Grizzlies erase game points, take care of business at FLC
ALAMOSA, Colo.— The Adams State College Grizzlies erased a game point in the first game and another two in the third set as they went on to post a key 32-30, 30-24, 31-29 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference volleyball sweep over the Fort Lewis College Skyhawks in FLC's Whalen Gymnasium on Saturday night. The sweep, ASC's first in four weeks, allowed the Grizzlies to improve to 13-11 overall and more importantly 8-9 in RMAC action. The Skyhawks, who saw their Senior Night spoiled, fell to 5-20 overall and 2-15 in RMAC action.
Down 30-29 in the first game, junior outside hitter Emily Bussey responded with one of her match and career-high 16 kills before a Ashton Thomas kill gave ASC a second game point at 31-30. The Grizzlies then claimed the early edge on a Leeanne Greenwade attacking error, one of just two that the freshman outside hitter would have on a solid .355 hitting, 13-kill night.
Bussey, a 5-foot-9, Alamosa native also had a big kill in the third game as ASC closed to within 28-27 after trailing by a 27-24 margin moments earlier. FLC's Juanita McGuire then responded to give FLC a pair of game points at 29-27 before Kallee Bingham put down a kill to erase the first. Lisa Levings, the Skyhawks' lone senior, then committed back-to-back hitting errors on Brittany Muchmore served points as ASC suddenly took a 30-29 lead. Bingham, a 6-foot-1 junior middle blocker then wasted little time as she closed out the set and the match with her 13th kill of the night. That kill allowed the Peoria, Ariz. native to match a career-high.
Bussey surpassed her week-old career-best of 15 kills and fell just one dig shy of her third straight double-double while hitting an impressive .353 on the night. Bingham also hit a solid .333 while senior setter Monica Garcia recorded her second straight double-double with a match-high 47 assists and 11 digs. Junior libero Carly Simpson chipped in another 21 digs as the Grizzlies recorded a 66-51 advantage over FLC.
The Skyhawks negated that advantage as they outblocked ASC 8-1 on the evening. McGuire and fellow middle blocker Nicole Schwab, who combined for 12 kills, each had three blocks to lead the way. Despite her misfires in the late going, Levings had 14 kills and 18 digs, both team-highs, in her final home match of her career.
Hitting .180 on the night, the Grizzlies were held to a .107 clip in an evenly played first game. Tied on eight occasions in the early going, neither team had a lead of more than two points until a 3-0 run, triggered by a Levings/McGuire block, gave FLC a 17-14 edge. Responding after a Grizzly timeout, Garcia put down one of her four kills before a Thomas kill and Bingham service ace tied the game at 17.
The game remained just as tight with the teams exchanging miscues before a Schwab kill thwarted ASC's first game point at 29-28. The Skyhawks then received their first game point on a Grizzly hitting error before Bussey responded with her timely kill.
Game two was only slightly easier for ASC, which used a 6-0 run behind Jocelyn Garcia serving to take a 14-10 lead. The Grizzlies, who outhit FLC .326 to .311 in the set, would not trail again and finished the game on back-to-back Thomas kills.
The Grizzlies trailed during the entire second half of game number three before they took the final four points of the match.
Garcia, had all three of service aces in the early going of that game as the Grizzlies jumped out to an 8-1 lead before FLC chipped away the lead, finally taking a 16-15 edge on three straight Grizzly hitting errors.
The Grizzlies had eight aces on the night, four more than FLC, and also took advantage of 10 Skyhawk serving miscues, seven more than ASC committed.
Garcia, a 5-foot-7 Albuquerque, N.M. native is now just nine assists of becoming the first ASC player to record 1,000 assists in three straight seasons and is now just 35 assists shy of Sandy Hotz (Wilcox) for second place on ASC's all-time career assists list. Now with 3,398 in her career, Garcia could reach both milestones as early as next Friday, when the Grizzlies travel to Mesa State College in Grand Junction.
The Mavericks (19-8, 13-4 RMAC) clinched the RMAC West Division Title on Saturday night with a 3-game win over the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, a result that allows ASC to move a full match ahead of the Mountain Lions for the eighth and final RMAC Tournament spot.
With two matches remaining in the regular season, the Grizzlies are now just one win away from clinching their second straight winning season and could move to as high as the fifth seed for the Nov. 12-14 RMAC Tournament, now guaranteed to be in Kearney, Neb. The nation's top ranked University of Nebraska-Kearney Lopers (30-0, 16-0 RMAC) earned the right to host the tournament after clinching the RMAC's regular season title with their 30th straight win over Colorado Christian University on Saturday night.