2008 Grizzlies to face stiff Alumni challenge Saturday night
ALAMOSA, Colo.— Two of the top hitters in Adams State College history going to-to-toe.
Sisters playing together. Sisters staring at each across the net.
Two San Luis Valley head coaches playing. The current Grizzly assistant coach playing against her new team.
Four players from ASC’s 2003 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference West Division Championship squad going against a team that could easily contend for the same five years later.
Friendships renewed and created.
Those are just some of the numerous storylines that Grizzly volleyball fans can keep an eye out for Saturday night as the 2008 edition of the Grizzlies will take on some of the best and most recognizable names in ASC Volleyball history in the program’s alumni match in Plachy Hall.
First serve is slated for 6 p.m. when ASC head coach Lindy Mortensen, entering her fourth year at the helm of the Grizzly program, will get many of her questions answered as the 2008 Grizzlies take on the star-studded group of alumnae.
Mortensen expects a group of 12 former ASC players to attend the match, 10 of whom which will play. The other two— Alamosa natives Tiffany Hawkins (Stockebrand), expecting a child in November, and Megan Martinez, will serve as the Alumni Team’s coaches.
Although the 2008 Grizzlies have high expectations as they return five starters from last year’s RMAC Tournament Semifinal Team, the alumni squad is certainly loaded.
The list of former greats is plentiful and led by Amy Cousin, a 2-time First Team All-RMAC selection and ASC single-season kills record holder. Helping lead the Grizzlies to the 2003 RMAC West Division title as a senior, the 6-foot-2 middle blocker is now residing in Las Vegas, Nev. with her husband David, a former ASC football player and their two young children.
Cousin, who played in 2002 and 2003, holds ASC’s single-seasons kills record of 519, a mark that was seriously threatened by returning First Team All-Southwest Region selection Andrea Tuck (Erie, Colo.) last year.
Cousin is just one of four Grizzlies living in Las Vegas, all of whom were members of the 2003 championship team. She will try to re-create the magic connection with setter Monica Garcia-Ashley, also a 2-time All-RMAC recipient during her 2000-04 ASC career.
Garcia-Ashley also resides in Las Vegas with her husband Charles, 9-month old daughter Kaelynn and younger sister Jocelyn, also returning to play for the alumni squad.
Jocelyn Garcia, a 2005 Honorable Mention All-RMAC libero for the Grizzlies and a member of that 2003 squad, is now a kindergarten teacher in Las Vegas.
Former Alamosa High School great and 2005 Honorable Mention All-RMAC outside hitter Emily Bussey is also living in Las Vegas where she is the Inside Sales Coordinator for Jacobs Engineering.
Bussey pushed Mortensen to have this event and helped arrange the details. It has also been rumored that the Las Vegas group have been practicing heavily for the event, which if true could make it even a tougher challenge for the 2008 Grizzlies.
Also expected to return is 2005 and 2006 ASC standout Megan Jennings, now a first grade teacher in her hometown of Lakin, Kan. The 6-foot middle blocker who was ASC’s RMAC Honor Student Athlete in 2004-05, will have the opportunity to play against her younger sister Darcy, a junior-to-be on the 2008 Grizzly squad, who earned first team all-region and her second All-RMAC honor last season after leading the conference in blocks.
Now ASC assistant coach Brittany Muchmore and longtime and successful Alamosa High School volleyball coach Amy Ortega (Wilcox) will also have the opportunity to display their playing talents to current players. Muchmore finished her solid career with an Honorable Mention All-RMAC honor last season and is now in her first season as Mortensen’s assistant.
Ortega, who played at ASC in 1997 after transferring from Colorado College, has 107 wins as a head coach for the Mean Moose, who have qualified for the playoffs during every year of her tenure.
Ortega also shares a bond as part of the amazing AHS teams of the past, with other Alamosa natives playing or coaching the alumni team, such as Bussey, Lisa Crowder, Martinez and Stockebrand.
Crowder, now a teacher and head coach for the Sargent High School Farmers, played for the Grizzlies from 1998-2002 and played a major part of the 2003 championship team as an assistant coach. She also helped lay the foundation for that success as a senior in 2002 as she picked up Honorable Mention All-RMAC honors while the Grizzlies qualified for the RMAC Tournament for the first time in five years.
Also returning to play for the alumni squad is 2001 and 2002 ASC player Amanda Cornelius (Coats), now living in Pueblo West with her husband Charles and 2-year old daughter Kierstyn, and Leah Hill, who played for the Grizzlies from 2004-06 before missing last season with an injury.
The squad will be guided by Hawkins, a 2-time Second Team All-RMAC selection who set ASC’s single-match record with 34 kills in her final match as a Grizzly in 2006. She will be assisted by Martinez, who wrapped up her Grizzly career in 2007 after starting college at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling.
Fans will also have a chance to see the modified scoring format in which games, now officially termed sets, will be played to 25 points, instead of 30. The fifth set will still be played to 15 points.
Mortensen noted that Saturday’s match, which includes free admission, will go the full five sets regardless of the outcome of the first four, giving fans more volleyball and her current squad more live action alike.
Admission for the match is free.