Grizzlies bounce back with 3-set win at NMHU
ASC can clinch RMAC Tourney berth with Friday night win over WSC
LAS VEGAS, N.M.— Junior outside hitter Andrea Tuck (Erie, Colo.) recorded a match-high 12 kills, three of which came in a crucial 9-0 second set winning spurt, while the Adams State College Grizzlies out-hit New Mexico Highlands University .226 to .062 as they bounced back from a Friday night setback to Western New Mexico University with a 25-21, 25-21, 25-15 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference volleyball win over the Cowgirls, Saturday night here in the Wilson Complex.
The Grizzlies have now defeated the Cowgirls six straight times over the last three seasons and have now won four of their last five matches this campaign to improve to 13-11 overall and to 10-7 in the RMAC. The Cowgirls, led by nine kills each from Ashley Murray and Dominique Benton, fell to 8-18 overall and to 2-15 in the league with their fifth straight loss.
The win allowed the Grizzlies to remain tied with Regis, a 5-set winner over UC-Colorado Springs, for seventh place in the overall RMAC standings. Both teams are just a match behind Mesa State and Fort Lewis, who the Grizzlies host in their regular season finale next Saturday, after the Mavericks, who ASC has defeated twice, swept the Skyhawks in three sets on Saturday in Grand Junction.
ASC, which would lose a head-to-head tiebreaker with Regis, is a full two matches ahead of idle Western State but must defeat the Mountaineers at home next Friday in order to lock up a RMAC Tournament spot.
Tuck, the RMAC leader in kills and points, recorded five kills in each of the first two sets before Kimberly Ingram (Roswell, N.M.) and Darcy Jennings (Lakin, Kan.) helped lead the Grizzlies to the comfortable third set win. Ingram, who had seven kills on the night, and Jennings, who finished with eight to go along with a match-high three blocks, both recorded three kills in the third set.
ASC hit .292 in it while the Cowgirls committed 11 attacking errors while hitting negative .027 in the frame that ended the match.
The Grizzlies hit .297 and never trailed in the first set as they jumped to an 11-6 lead with a 5-0 run behind the serving of freshman libero AJ Palmer (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who finished with eight digs to share team-high honors with fellow freshman Kelsey Huckle (Gunnison, Colo.).
The Grizzlies never looked back and maintained a 3 to 7 point lead through the set that was eventually ended with two kills by redshirt freshman setter Megan Hawkins (Elizabeth, Colo.) and another by Tuck.
Hawkins hit a perfect 1.000 with four kills to go along with her 26 assists and seven digs.
The second set was the only time that the Grizzlies really struggled as nine attacking errors in the set helped the Cowgirls to take a 19-14 lead. The teams then exchanged points as NMHU led 21-16 before a Jennings kills triggered ASC’s set-winning run with Huckle at the service line.
The Grizzlies watched NMHU self destruct early in the third set as four attacking errors helped the Grizzlies to an early 7-2 cushion. Ingram and Jennings then put down two kills a piece as that lead grew to 12-4.
The cushion was more than enough as the Cowgirls continued to struggle with their attack the rest of the way.
Jennings now has 900 kills in her career, just 28 shy of the NCAA Division II era (1992-Present) school record, held by Amy Cousin. Jennings, who already holds the era’s career points record, also moved to within one block of Keri Abbott’s era mark of 341.
Tuck tied Tanesha Steadham for third place on the era’s career kills chart with 888 and passed Steadham for fifth place on the Division II era career points chart.
The Grizzlies, who are a respectable 5-5 on the road this year, now return home to Plachy Hall, where they are 6-2 to face Western State and Fort Lewis. Friday’s match against the Mountaineers can be heard live on KSPK-FM (104.1 in Alamosa) and via the internet at www.kspk.com.