Grizzlies fall in four to streaking Rangers
DENVER— Jessica Howe and Liz Franz combined for 28 kills as the Regis University Rangers posted their fourth straight win over visiting Adams State College, Saturday night here in the Regis Fieldhouse. The 4-set (25-20, 25-18, 18-25, 25-18) Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference victory propelled the Rangers to an 11-8 overall mark.
The Grizzlies, playing their third road match in as many nights, fell to 1-2 on the weekend and to 9-9 overall despite another solid effort from junior outside hitter Andrea Tuck (Erie, Colo.), who had 17 kills and eight digs.
Junior middle hitter Darcy Jennings (Lakin, Kan.) also chipped in 11 kills and a team-high four blocks but was not enough to stop the Grizzlies from falling 6-5 in conference play, one match behind the Rangers and two other teams, tied for fifth in the overall RMAC standings.
Howe put down 17 kills on the night and hit .364 to lead the Rangers, who finished the night with a 56-44 edge in total kills. Franz added 11 kills while Kerry Grady put down 10. Freshmen Elizabeth Kann and Cassidee Young led the way defensively recording eight blocks and 20 digs, respectively.
Sophomore setter Devin Eckhardt, one of the best in the RMAC, finished with 50 assists and eight digs while ASC redshirt freshman Megan Hawkins (Elizabeth, Colo.) doled out 38 assists, seven digs and four kills. Freshman libero AJ Palmer (Colorado Springs, Colo.) had 15 digs to pace ASC in that category.
The Rangers hit a consistent .204 clip throughout the night while the Grizzlies hit just .140 in the match, hitting below .100 in each of the three sets they lost. However, the Grizzlies on fire in the third set, attacking at a .361 clip as they overcame a 10-7 deficit while using a 8-2 run in which Tuck put down five kills and a service ace to take a 15-12 lead.
That lead eventually grew to 23-17 as the Grizzlies recorded three blocks in the late stages of the second before a Jennings kill and an attacking error by Sarah Keiter gave the Grizzlies the set that extended the match.
However, the Rangers were relatively unphased as they used a 4-0 run to gain early control of the fourth set that they maintained throughout while closing out the Grizzlies.
ASC now returns home to Plachy Hall, where they are 4-1 this season, to host Nebraska-Kearney and Chadron State on Thursday and Friday nights, respectively.
Nebraska-Kearney, 21-1 overall, currently ranked ninth in last week’s American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II Coaches Top 25 Poll, is riding a 21-match winning streak and leads the RMAC standings with a 10-0 mark. Chadron State (3-17, 1-9 RMAC) has won just once in the last 18 matches.
Thursday’s match can also be heard on KSPK-FM (104.1 in Alamosa) and via the internet at www.kspk.com. Jennings will have a strong chance to break ASC's NCAA Division II era (1992-Present) record for career points in that match as she now has 1,092, just 10 shy of former Grizzly great Amy Cousin's mark of 1,102 set in 2002 and 2003.