Grizzlies battle back for critical RMAC win over UCCS
ALAMOSA, Colo.— Dropping the first game, the Adams State College Grizzly volleyball team battled back to take a critical 20-30, 30-24, 30-19, 30-24 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference victory over the visiting University of Colorado-Colorado Springs Mountain Lions on Friday night in Plachy Hall. The win snapped ASC’s 4-match losing streak and allowed the Grizzlies to move ahead of the Mountain Lions for third place in the RMAC West Division standings.
Now 12-9 overall and 7-7 in RMAC action, the Grizzlies received four 10 or more kill efforts to en-route to the win. Junior outside hitter Ashton Thomas led the way, smacking a match-high 16 kills while hitting .333. Freshman right side hitter Brittany Muchmore and junior middle blocker Kallee Bingham each had career-nights with 13 and 10 kills, respectively, while junior outside hitter Emily Bussey put down a season-high 11 kills. Senior setter Monica Garcia had the match’s only double-double with 48 assists and 10 digs while junior libero Carly Simpson added a match-high 19 digs.
UCCS was led by Caroline Ottino’s 14 kills and a .344 hitting percentage. Setter Lindsey Hillegass also had 44 kills, eight assists and a .467 hitting percentage.
Coming out flat, the Grizzlies struggled to pass in the opening set as UCCS jumped out to a 17-5 lead. Able to close the gap to nine points, ASC simply ran out of time as Jill Wrenn put down one of her 10 kills as UCCS claimed the set.
Tied at 12 in the second set, the Grizzlies used a 3-0 run behind Muchmore and Thomas kills to take a 15-12 lead. The game continued to be tight until Thomas and Garcia kills gave ASC some breathing room at 27-23. Bingham, who had five blocks, then teamed with Thomas for back-to-back stops, just two plays before a Garcia kill, one of six on the night, evened the match at a game a piece.
Down by three points in the early portions of the third set, the Grizzlies used a 9-2 run behind Bussey serving to take a 18-14 lead. Leading 25-18, Muchmore checked into the lineup before putting down three straight kills as ASC completed the set with Bingham and Bussey points.
Spotting UCCS an early lead for the fourth straight set, ASC used three and 4-point rallies to tie the game at 13 before going up 15-13 on a Jocelyn Garcia service ace and a Mountain Lion hitting error. UCCS would go on tie the game at 20 thanks to back-to-back Ottino kills.
Tied three more times, ASC then went on a 5-0 tear behind Jocelyn Garcia’s serving and two Bussey kills to take a 28-23 lead. The teams then exchanged service errors before Muchmore ended the 1-hour, 47-minute match with her final kill.
The win marked the first time that ASC dropped the first set before coming back to win this season.
The Grizzlies outhit UCCS .255 to .201 on the night and had a slight 7-6 blocking advantage. The Grizzlies also took advantage of 15 Mountain Lion service errors and avenged a 4-game loss to UCCS on Sept. 24.
ASC will now host Colorado State University-Pueblo on Saturday night in Plachy Hall. The Thunderwolves are coming off a 3-game loss to New Mexico Highlands University on Friday and are now just a game ahead of ASC at 8-6 in league action. UCCS will travel to Las Vegas, N.M. to face NMHU, also 7-7 in RMAC play, on Saturday night.