Balanced Grizzlies sweep Regis for second all-time win
ALAMOSA, Colo.ó Four Adams State College Grizzlies had nine or more kills while senior setter Monica Garcia became the third ASC player to reach the 3,000 career assist mark as the Grizzlies swept a key Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference match over the Regis University Rangers on Saturday night in Plachy Hall. The tight 30-26, 32-30, 30-27 win was just the second in 14 all-time tries against RU and allowed ASC to improve to 11-5 overall and 6-3 in RMAC action. The Rangers fell to 6-9 overall and 4-3 in league play.
Garcia, who finished the match with 42 assists and 12 digs, picked up the historic assist on a Megan Jennings kill giving ASC a 10-8 lead in the first game. The 5-foot-7 Albuquerque, N.M. native now has 3,036 assists in her career and is now just 397 shy of catching Sandy Hotz (Wilcox), who was in attendance, for second place in the ASC record books.
After settling down into a routine, the Grizzlies pulled out three tight games as junior outside hitter Ashton Thomas put down a match-high 13 kills, several of which came at key times. Jennings, a Hutchinson Community College teammate of Thomasí, had 10 kills and four blocks while hitting an impressive .529. Freshman right side hitter Brittany Muchmore chipped in another 10 kills and three blocks, while junior middle blocker Kallee Bingham finished the night with a match-high six blocks.
It was a 10-6 blocking advantage along with a 5-2 service ace edge, that helped the Grizzlies win what was otherwise a very competitive match. The Grizzlies had 48 kills as a team, just one more than RU, while each team had 44 assists. RU had a small 51-47 advantage in digs, but was outhit .185 to .180.
Junior libero Carly Simpson led the ASC defensive charge with a match-high 14 digs, one more than the Rangersí Holly Yamada, a high-leaping, 5-foot-6 senior outside hitter, who had a team-high 10 kills. However, Yamada also committed 10 attacking errors, including two that ended the match.
Using a 7-1 run behind two Muchmore kills and a Simpson service ace, one of a match-high three, the Grizzlies took a 17-10 first game lead. The Rangers clawed back to within three at 27-24 on back-to-back blocks, but did not have enough time to complete the comeback as Catherine Perez committed a service error on the very next point. After a Perez kill and yet another RU service error, one of nine on the night, Thomas put down a kill giving ASC a game point before Ranger setter Nikki Peniata, who had 40 assists, misfired giving the Grizzlies their first win.
Game two was a tight battle throughout before a Thomas kill gave ASC a 28-27 lead. Yamada answered right back before a Jennings smash gave the Grizzlies a 29-28 lead forcing a Ranger timeout. Yamada responded once again before Sheena Brundage got into the act with one of her nine kills giving ASC another game point at 30-29.
LaVanda Mireles then answered with a kill from Peniata before a Yamada jump serve sailed long giving ASC a third game point at 31-30. Finally sealing the deal on a Cassie Skipitis hitting error, the Grizzlies cruised to an early 11-2 lead in the third game before the Rangers clawed back to within two after an extended 8-2 spurt that featured four Yamada kills. Eventually tying the game at 19, the Rangers watched a Jennings kill and two straight Bingham/Brundage blocks give the Grizzlies a 22-19 lead.
Tying the set at 26 on two Sarah Jackson kills, the Rangers could not stop Thomas who put down two kills in three points as ASC to a 28-27 lead. Earning their first match point on a Yamada hitting error, the Grizzlies claimed the win when Brundage and Garcia teamed for match-ending block.
The Grizzlies, who took two of three on a 3-day home weekend, will now be on the road for eight of their final 10 regular season matches. Starting the span with next weekendís brutal trip to Kearney, Neb. and Hays, Kan., the Grizzlies will face the nationís top-ranked and University of Nebraska-Kearney Lopers (19-0, 8-0 RMAC) on Friday before taking on 15-2 (7-1 RMAC) and 13th ranked Fort Hays State University Tigers on Saturday Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. CDT.