Grizzlies claim 300th win with 3-game sweep of SJC, sweep CEU in just 67 minutes
GUNNISON, Colo.— Behind a solid team effort and 10-kill performances by sophomore outside hitter Sheena Brundage and junior middle blocker Megan Jennings, the Adams State College volleyball team posted a 3-game sweep over St. Joseph's College of Rensselaer, Ind. allowing the Grizzlies to claim their 300th win in school-history in just 75 minutes on Friday morning at the Western State College Comfort Inn Invitational in WSC's Paul Wright Gymnasium. ASC came back later in the afternoon to sweep the College of Eastern Utah Eagles by 30-21, 30-19, 30-17 game scores in an exhibition match. CEU, based in Price, Utah, is a junior college and thus can not count on ASC's record or in seasonal statistics.
Now officialy 3-2 on the young season, the Grizzlies survived a first game scare from the Pumas, who fell to 0-5, edging them 30-28 in the first set before dominating them in games two and three by 30-18 and 30-23 margins. Brundage, who was named as the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference West Division Player of the Week on Wednesday, recorded six kills in the first game and finished the morning with just one error in 18 total attacks, good for a solid .500 attack percentage. She did not play in the third game as Coach Katie Moskowitz rested her, replacing Brundage with junior Emily Bussey, who had four kills and as many digs in a solid third game. Jennings, a Hutchinson Community College product and Lakin, Kan. native had five kills in the third game and also hit .500 for the match, a new career best.
As a team, the Grizzlies hit a solid .292, much higher than the Pumas' .106 clip. Senior setter Monica Garcia, an All-Tournament team selection at last weekend's West Texas A&M University First General Services Lady Buff Classic in Canyon, Texas, led ASC's offense dishing out 35 assists while racking up four kills, seven digs and two blocks as well. Junior libero Carly Simpson had a match-high 16 digs and is now averaging nearly five per game this season.
The first game was a close battle with SJC leading by a 23-21 margin in the later part of the set. Brundage and junior outside hitter Ashton Thomas, who had five of her nine kills in the first game, then responded to tie the game before the teams exchanged points until a Thomas kill and Garcia-Jennings block gave ASC a game point at 29-27. Kristyn Corley, who helped the Pumas with seven kills and a .316 hitting percentage, erased one of those gane points before a Brundage kill from Garcia finished the set, taking much of the wind out of the Pumas' sails.
Racing to a 24-8 lead behind several key plays in game two, the Grizzlies held off a slight Puma rally to post a 12-point win before taking another big 14-9 lead in game three. Watching, SJC pull to within four, the Grizzlies would put up with no more, using timely kills to quickly build a 28-20 lead. The Grizzlies then used a a Leah Hill-Brittany Muchmore block and a Corley service error, one of six that the Pumas had, to win the match.
The afternoon saw the Grizzlies dominate just as much as the newcomers led the way. Paced by Thomas' team-high 10 kills and eight a piece from Hill, Jennings and Muchmore, the Grizzlies needed just 67 minutes to finish off CEU, which was led by a 10-kill, 10-dig effort from Amy Warburton, a sophomore outside hitter from Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Garcia had a double-double of her own for ASC with 31 assists and 11 digs, both match highs, while leading ASC to a .257 attack percentage. Meanwhile, CEU committed 28 attacking errors and finished the afternoon with a negative .009 percentage. ASC had no trouble in the first two games taking early leads and controlling the pace into comfortable-size victories. The third game was a little bit of a challenge as the Eagles closed to within a single point at 15-14 on a Heather Palmer service ace.
However, Muchmore, a freshman right side hitter from Peoria, Ariz., who hit .455 for the match, responded with one of her kills before redshirt freshman Linsdey Merritt went on a service tear as the Grizzlies scored 14 straight points thanks to five straight kills, a service ace and a self-destructing Eagle unit. Garcia, then had one of her two solo blocks giving ASC a match point before a Cassidy Dawes service error gave ASC the match just moments later.
ASC Redshirt freshman Jacque Loch, a La Jara native and 2003 Centauri High School graduate saw her first collegiate action in the match recording a block assist in second and third game stints.
Action at the 7-team, 2-day tournament will continue on Saturday, starting at 9 a.m., when the Grizzlies face the Dowling (N.Y.) College Golden Lions, 3-game winners over the host Mountaineers in the second match of Friday's action. The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs Mountain Lions then posted a tight 3-game win over the Valdosta State (Ga.) University Lady Blazers in Friday's third match. ASC will meet VSU, on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Grizzlies then return home to begin RMAC play on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against New Mexico Highlands University. That match can be heard live on KSPK-FM (103.5 in Alamosa) and via the internet at www.kspk.com.
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