Grizzlies hang tough before falling in four to #13 FHSU
HAYS, Kan.— Playing in front of a hostile crowd and against a nationally-ranked opponent for the second time in as many nights, the Adams State College volleyball team put up a valiant effort before falling in four games to the nation's 13th ranked Fort Hays State University Tigers on Saturday night in front of a 364-person Gross Memorial Coliseum crowd. The 30-26, 29-31, 30-26, 30-24 win allowed the Tigers to improve to 18-2 overall and 9-1 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action while ASC, which was swept by the nation's top-ranked University of Nebraska-Kearney Lopers, dropped to 11-7 and 6-5 in RMAC play, two full matches behind RMAC West Division leading Colorado State-Pueblo, a team that ASC defeated just a fortnight ago.
After splitting the first two sets, the Tigers used a 6-1 run to take a 16-11 lead en-route to a close third game win. They then overcame a 14-9 fourth game deficit with a 7-0 run and went on to claim the match, that lasted an hour and 54 minutes. Sophomore right side hitter Ashley Holt and senior middle hitter Amber Zoglman came up with kills in each run and combined for 38 on the night. That pair also hit a solid .326 on the night and led the Tiger squad as a whole to an impressive .260 clip.
Holt had 20 kills and 17 digs and joined four other Tiger players in double figure kills. Zoglman had 18 kills while Katie Noriega and Darshaya Mustacchio chipped in 14 a piece. Katie Carnes had 11 while setter Jayme Eichner had 65 assists and 16 digs.
The Grizzlies also had a strong and balanced night, led by 13 kills from junior outside hitter Sheena Brundage. Brittany Muchmore, who hit .320 on the night, and Ashton Thomas each had 11 kills while Megan Jennings chipped in 10 kills and a match-high five blocks, one more than Kallee Bingham, who also had nine kills and a match and career-high five service aces.
Junior defensive specialist Jocelyn Garcia also had a match and career-high 22 digs, while her older sister Monica finished the night with 43 assists, nine digs, four kills, a .400 hitting percentage and three blocks.
The Grizzlies had a 24-23 first game lead before a Eichner and Zoglman block followed by a Kelly Skidmore ace, triggered a 4-0 Tiger run giving FHSU a 24-74 lead. Fighting back to within 28-26, the Grizzlies watched a Holt kill and a Monica Garcia ball handling error give FHSU the early lead.
Down by as many as seven points in the second game, ASC came roaring back with a 5-1 run to tie the second game at 20 on a Bingham kill and ensuing service ace. Continuing their momentum, the Grizzlies went up 24-21 before FHSU clawed back to tie the game at 28 on a Eichner and Carnes block.
Bingham then recorded another kill to give ASC a game point before a hitting error tied things at 29. Jennings then put down a kill of her own before teaming with Monica Garcia to block Noriega as the match went into the intermission tied at a game a piece.
It was a Zoglman kill that broke the 10-10 tie in the third game, that was finished off with a Noriega smash. Zoglman also started FHSU's comeback in the fourth game and finished the match with the final two of FHSU's 81 kills, 22 more than ASC recorded.
The Grizzlies will have two more road matches next weekend at Colorado Mines and Chadron State before returning home on Oct. 22 to start a second and critical round against their RMAC West Division foes.