Grizzlies sweep NMHU to begin RMAC West title defense
ALAMOSA, Colo.— Led by a career-high 28 digs from junior Carly Simpson and an impressive 17-kill performance from sophomore outside hitter Sheena Brundage, the Adams State College Grizzly volleyball team began its defense of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference West Division title with a 3-game sweep of the visiting New Mexico Highlands University Cowgirls on Tuesday night in Plachy Hall. The 30-26, 30-19, 30-24 win and allowed the Grizzlies to improve to 6-2 overall and 1-0 in conference play. NMHU fell to 1-5 and 0-1, respectively.
Senior setter Monica Garcia also recorded her second double-double of the season with 40 assists and 10 digs quarterbacking the Grizzly attack, which out hit the Cowgirls by a wide .281 to .104 margin.
NMHU setter Kasey Frederickson also had a double-double with 38 assists and 11 digs while Loretta Sanchez led the Cowgirls with 14 kills.
Brundage, who equaled a career-high, also hit .400 on the night, committing just one error in 40 attacks . She had six of her kills in the first game, the biggest battle of the night. Overcoming a slightly nervous start, the Grizzlies used a 4-0 run to take a 16-12 lead. The Cowgirls would come back to within one at 18-17 before another 4-0 Grizzly run, led by two of Megan Jennings’ match-high four blocks, gave the Grizzlies some more breathing room at 24-19. Junior Ashton Thomas, a former Hutchinson Community College teammate of Jennings, had back-to-back kills plays later bringing the Grizzlies to a game-point before a Cowgirl attacking error, one of 28 on the night, finished the first set win.
Simpson, a Kent, Wash. native, averaged 5.90 digs per game over the weekend as ASC claimed the team title at the Western State College Comfort Inn Invitational in Gunnison. She did not let up a bit on Tuesday, recording nine digs in each of the first two games. Thwarting numerous Cowgirl efforts, Simpson and the Grizzlies used another 4-0 run to take a 16-12 lead in set two. Exchanging the next four points, Garcia and Simpson each went on serving tears as the Grizzlies went on another 8-2 run to build up a 10-point lead, 26-16.
Freshman right side hitter Brittany Muchmore then had two of her 10 kills as ASC cruised to victory in game two. Another 4-0 run in the early portion of the third game was the beginning of the end for NMHU as ASC gradually built a 20-12 lead on back-to-back Lindsey Merritt service aces. Grizzly Coach Katie Moskowitz then made a couple of late substitutions before NMHU climbed back to within three at 25-22, forcing an ASC timeout.
Muchmore responded immediately to trigger another Grizzly run, finished by the serving of junior Emily Bussey and two Jennings kills in the final three points of the evening.
ASC will continue it’s 4-match homestand on Saturday at 7 p.m. when the Grizzlies play host to Fort Lewis College, the same team ASC defeated last November to clinch their first ever RMAC West Division title. NMHU will return home and will also play host to the Skyhawks (3-5) on Friday night in Las Vegas, N.M.