Grizzlies take two Saturday wins, claim WSC Tourney title
GUNNISON, Colo.— Dropping just a single game on the weekend, the Adams State College volleyball team rolled to a pair of wins and claimed the Western State College Comfort Inn Invitational title on Saturday in WSC's Paul Wright Gymanasium. After sweeping 3-game matches from St. Joseph's (Ind.) College and the College of Eastern Utah on Friday, the Grizzlies took a 30-22, 30-22, 20-30, 30-25 win over Dowling (N.Y.) College on Saturday morning before blasting Valdosta State (Ga.) University in three easy games (30-14, 30-24, 30-16) on Saturday evening to complete a perfect 4-0 weekend. Now officialy 5-2 on the year, the Grizzlies, were the only team with an unblemished record in the 7-team affair and will enter their defense of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference West Division title on Tuesday with a ton of confidence.
Sophomore outside hitter Sheena Brundage tallied a team-high 13 kills in the win over Dowling, but was not alone in the match, the first of ASC's young season that went past three games. Freshman right side hitter Brittany Muchmore added 11 kills while junior middle blocker Megan Jennings had eight kills along with a match and career-high seven blocks. The Grizzlies also had five players with 10 or more digs, including junior libero Carly Simpson, who recorded a season-high 23. Senior setter Monica Garcia also added 13 digs along with her 44 assists, seven kills and a solid .312 attack percentage.
DC, which qualified for last year's NCAA Northeast Regional Tournament and came into the match with two Friday wins as well, was led by sophomore outside hitter Marta Slodnik, one of three players from Poland on the Golden Lions' roster. Slodnik had a match-high 22 kills, but also committed 13 attacking errors on the morning.
Jennings and freshman middle blocker Leah Hill, who had seven kills and four blocks, led ASC to an impressive 11-4 blocking advantage. Hill, a Fort Collins native, also had three service aces and guided ASC to an 8-2 edge in that category. She came back in the evening and recorded a match and career-high11 kills in the win over VSU, which took just one hour and 21 minutes. Simpson finished that match with 20 digs as well as the Grizzlies held the Lady Blazers to a negative .050 hitting percentage.
Against DC, the Grizzlies used a Hill solo block of Slodniak to trigger a 11-1 run as ASC took a 19-6 first game lead. Watching the Golden Lions close to within 28-22 late in the first set, ASC finished the set off with a Slodnik service error and Muchmore kill beforeASC started game two with a 12-6 lead thanks to two early blocks and a Lindsey Merritt service ace.
The Golden Lions would pull to within just two points at 17-15 before a a 8-3 spurt gave the Grizzlies some breathing room. It was Muchmore, a 6-foot-1 Peoria, Ariz. native, that completed the second game once again. The third game was close in the early going before the Golden Lions went on an impressive 6-1 run behind Slodnik and Kaylene Ivan kills to take a 17-9 lead. The Grizzlies never recovered, committing 13 attacking errors in the set, the only one that they would drop throughout the tournament.
Riding their new-found momentum, the Golden Lions would take a 20-15 lead in the fourth set. Not wanting to go to a fifth, ASC responded behind Hill's serving and three of Emily Bussey's seven kills to score eight straight points. Up 23-21 after a Golden Lion point, Bussey, Jennings and Brundage each had kills forcing DC to take a timeout down 26-21. Slodnik then banged two straight kills for DC to cut the gap to three before Brundage answered for the Grizzlies with one of her own. The teams then traded miscues until Muchmore and Bussey kills from Garcia ended the set and the match, by far ASC's biggest test of the weekend.
Tied at nine in the early going of the evening match with VSU, the Grizzlies would score 21 of the final 26 points of the first set. They hit .258 in that game and .209 night on the night and watched the Lady Blazers self-destruct with 29 attacking errors, 11 of which came in game one. Meanwhile, Hill led a balanced attack of Grizzly newcomers, that included Muchmore and Ashton Thomas, who added nine and eight kills, respectively.
ASC led by just a 19-16 margin in game two, but gradually climbed towards a 6-point win before Merritt served 11 straight points in the game three blowout. ASC also used three Hill kills in the run to take a big 14-4 third game lead. Stretching that lead to as many as 14 points at 25-11, the Grizzlies simply cruised to the victory.
Garcia had 34 assists and a match-high three aces in that match. Simpson had a match-high 20 digs. VSU, now 2-7, only had one player, Ana Pendowski, reach the 5-kill mark on the evening.
Coach Katie Moskowitz's Grizzlies return home to Plachy Hall for their RMAC and home-opening match with New Mexico Highlands University on Tuesday. That match can be heard live on KSPK-FM (103.5 in Alamosa) or on the internet at www.kspk.com and is the first of a 4-match homestand against RMAC West Division rivals.
Saturday's Western State Comfort Inn Invitational Results
Match 9 - Adams State def. Dowling, 3-1
Match 10 - Valdosta State def. St. Joseph’s, 3-1
Match 11 - Western State def. Eastern Utah, 3-0
Match 12 - Dowling def. CU-Colorado Springs, 3-2
Match 13 - Adams State def. Valdosta State, 3-1
Match 14 - Western State def. St. Joseph’s, 3-1
Friday's Western State Comfort Inn Invitational Classic Results
Match 1 - CU-Colorado Springs def. Eastern Utah, 3-0
Match 2 - Adams State def. St. Joseph’s, 3-0
Match 3 - Dowling def. Western State, 3-0
Match 4 - CU-Colorado Springs def. Valdosta State, 3-0
Match 5 - Adams State def. Eastern Utah, 3-0
Match 6 - CU-Colorado Springs def. St. Joseph’s, 3-2
Match 7 - Dowling def. Eastern Utah, 3-0
Match 8 - Western State def. Valdosta State, 3-0
Final Team Standings
Adams State 4-0
Dowling (N.Y.) 3-1
CU-Colorado Springs 3-1
Western State 3-1
Valdosta State (Ga.) 1-3
Eastern Utah 0-4
St. Joseph's (Ind.) 0-4