Grizzlies clinch RMAC Tourney spot with 4-game win over CSU-Pueblo
ASC now in seventh alone after Regis setback
ALAMOSA, Colo.— Sophomore Andrea Tuck (Erie, Colo.) put down a match-high 19 kills while senior Brittany Muchmore (Peoria, Ariz.), playing for the final time at home, added 12 on a .526 hitting effort to lead the Adams State College volleyball team to a 4-game (30-19, 30-16, 23-30, 30-15) victory over visiting Colorado State University-Pueblo and to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament for the first time since 2003.
The Grizzly victory, their sixth in the last eight matches, evened their overall and RMAC records at 13-13 and 9-9, respectively, and clinched a spot in the tournament that begins next Friday on the campus of the top seed— likely Nebraska-Kearney or Fort Lewis.
The ThunderWolves, not in contention to qualify for the 8-team affair were led by Lindsey Wilson, who had 14 kills and nine digs, and Caitlyn Jewell, who put down 11 kills and eight blocks. They have now lost eight straight falling to 6-20 (4-14 RMAC) heading into a Saturday night season-finale at Western State (9-16, 6-11 RMAC), the same team the Grizzlies pay a visit to on Friday night at 7 o’clock.
The Grizzlies won every statistical battle on the night and were simply dominant in the first, second and fourth games hitting .382, .276 and .367 in them. Meanwhile, the ThunderWolves were solid in the third game as Wilson and Jewell put down five kills a piece to help the Pack extend the match.
The momentary lapse only short-lived as the Grizzlies came out rocking in the fourth game jumping out to a 10-5 lead before scoring 12 of 15 points behind the serving of Jessie Pickens and Muchmore, who had three service aces to go along with six blocks, to take a 26-11 lead. The Grizzlies then closed out the match out on a Muchmore-Sarah Dirmeyer (Albuquerque, N.M.) block and ThunderWolf attacking error, the last of 38 on the evening.
Although, Muchmore and Tuck stole the show with their offensive prowess, the Grizzlies had plenty of other weapons to complete the first season sweep of CSU-Pueblo, known as the University of Southern Colorado at the time, since 1993. Freshman outside hitter Kimberly Ingram (Roswell, N.M.) chipped in nine kills while hitting a respectable .250. Sophomore Darcy Jennings (Lakin, Kan.) added eight kills and eight blocks to further her bid for an RMAC blocking title that she is battling for with Fort Lewis’ Nicole Schwab, the 2006 RMAC Player of the Year.
Jennings now has 127 this season, a 1.30 per game average. Schwab has 115, good for a 1.29 per game average.
Freshman setter Mary McNeil (Phoenix, Ariz.) coming off her first career triple-double, also turned in a solid performance with 49 assists. Junior Jessie Pickens (Cortez, Colo.) had 20 digs in her first start at the libero position in five matches.
The Grizzlies never trailed in any of the games that they won and put down 55 kills, compared to CSU-Pueblo’s 48. The Grizzlies also had an 8-1 edge in service aces, a 53-46 advantage in digs and a 14-11 cushion in blocking.
ASC came into the night tied with Regis University for the seventh place in the overall RMAC standings. The Rangers, who do hold tiebreakers over the Grizzlies, fell to the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs Mountain Lions, who still have an outside shot at hosting the RMAC tournament, in five games and are now a match behind the Grizzlies at 8-10 in the RMAC standings.