RMAC West Champion Fort Lewis edges out win over Grizzlies
McNeil registeres rare triple-double with career-high 60 assits
ALAMOSA, Colo.— After scoring the final four points to come out on top of a 5-game match less than 24 hours prior, the Adams State College volleyball team allowed the Fort Lewis College Skyhawks, led by reigning Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Player of the Year Nicole Schwab, to score five of the final seven points of the match to take a 24-30, 30-25, 25-30, 30-23, 15-13 victory over the host Grizzlies, Saturday afternoon at Plachy Hall.
Schwab, who finished the afternoon with 18 kills and nine blocks while hitting .438 on 32 attempts, had a block and two kills, including the one that clinched the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference West Division title. FLC, which recorded 20 total blocks, has now won six straight and 14 of their last 15 matches while improving to 19-6 overall and to 15-2 in RMAC play. The Skyhawks are ranked fourth in the latest NCAA Division II Southwest Regional Rankings and could still host the RMAC Tournament should Nebraska-Kearney drop one of their final two matches.
ASC, which had defeated two regionally ranked opponents in Western New Mexico and Mesa State in the last week, fell to 12-13 and to 8-9 in RMAC Tournament. Despite the setback, the Grizzlies are on the verge of clinching a RMAC Tournament berth for the first time since 2003 and can do so with a Tuesday night when over Colorado State-Pueblo (6-19, 4-13 RMAC), losers of seven straight, on Tuesday night in Plachy Hall.
Although the Grizzlies dropped the match, it was not without some stellar and memorable play.
True freshman setter Mary McNeil (Phoenix, Ariz.) recorded ASC’s first triple-double in more than three years as she registered a career-high 60 assists to go along with her10 digs and a career-high matching 10 kills. She also hit .429 while recording four blocks and became the first Grizzly since Monica Garcia (2004) to reach the 1,000-assist mark in a single season.
Sophomore outside hitter Andrea Tuck (Erie, Colo.) hit .383 while finishing with 23 kills and 10 digs, good for her third straight double-double. Fellow outside hitter Kimberly Ingram (Roswell, N.M.) had a career-high 20 kills while sophomore Darcy Jennings put down 12 kills and five blocks while hitting .250.
Senior right side hitter Brittany Muchmore (Peoria, Ariz.) and freshman libero Amanda Strauss (Espanola, N.M.) were also in double figures with 10 kills and 18 digs, respectively.
The Skyhawks countered with 13 kills from Jessica Bailey, 12 from LeeAnne Greenwade and 11 from Sara Feehan, who also had 16 digs. Cora Vorwald also had seven kills while hitting .636
However, it was the blocking that did the Grizzlies in. The Skyhawks recorded three in the fifth game alone and hit an impressive .474 in that set without making a single hitting error.
They also had eight blocks in Game 4 as they overcame a 2-1 deficit to force the decisive fifth set which featured nine ties and five lead changes.
Trailing 5-4, Muchmore tied it with a kill before one of Greenwade’s four solo blocks started a 3-0 Skyhawk run.
Down 8-5, the Grizzlies took five of the next six points to go ahead 10-9 on a Tuck kill.
Bailey, who had eight blocks, responded to tie the set at 10 with a kill before Tuck, who had seven in the fifth game alone, gave ASC another 11-10 lead. Feehan then answered before she and Schwab blocked ASC freshman Sarah Dirmeyer (Albuquerque, N.M.) to give the Skyhawks a 12-11 edge.
Tuck did her best to keep the Grizzlies alive as she tied the game once again with a kill before a Schwab kill and Grizzly hitting error gave the Skyhawks two match points. Tuck erased one of those before Schwab finished the match off on a Melissa Childs assist, one of her 58.