Nationally-ranked Roadrunners sweep Grizzlies
ALAMOSA, Colo.— All six Metro State College starters hit at a .350 or better clip while sophomore outside hitter Bri Morley put down a match-high 14 kills as the nation’s 21st-ranked Roadrunners posted a 25-19, 30-28, 25-15 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win over the Adams State College Grizzlies, Thursday night here in Plachy Hall.
The Roadrunners hit an impressive .410 as a team while senior setter Gabrielle Curtis doled out 39 assists in the victory that moved the Roadrunners to 14-6 overall and to 7-4 in RMAC play. They have now defeated the Grizzlies 14 straight times dating back to 1997.
The Grizzlies, who fell to 8-11 overall and to 5-6 in conference play with their sixth loss in their last seven matches, were led by 12 kills from senior middle hitter Darcy Jennings-Calkins (Lakin, Kan.) and a match-high 14 digs from sophomore libero AJ Palmer (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who now has 68 in her last three matches alone.
The Roadrunners, who are ranked amongst the nation’s top 25 for the seventh straight week, according to the NCAA Division II American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, came out firing on all cylinders as they hit an impressive .467 in the first set.
Morley, who was tied for the RMAC lead in kills per set coming into the night at 3.69, was the catalyst of that as she put down seven kills on eight swings while hitting .875 in the opening frame.
She hit .500 on the night and also finished with eight digs, just one fewer than Curtis who led the Roadrunners.
The first set was close in the early going before two Morley kills and a Roadrunner block highlighted a 4-1 Roadrunner spurt that allowed the visitors to build a 18-14 lead.
After Jennings-Calkins and sophomore right side hitter Megan Hiss (Hoehne, Colo.) blocked Emily Greenhalgh, the Roadrunner sophomore put down a kill before an Anna Mapes tally and a Julie Causseaux service ace put the Roadrunners up 21-15 as they finished off the set with relative ease.
The Grizzlies did not give up and rallied to take an 7-3 lead in the second set behind Jennings-Calkins who put down two kills before serving five straight points in the run.
Mapes, who finished with nine kills while hitting .600 then stopped that run as the Roadrunners clawed back to tie the set at 10.
The set was then nip-and-tuck before Grizzly junior middle hitter Kelsey Miller (Las Animas, Colo.) and freshman outside hitter Dominique Davis (Denver, Colo.) put down three straight kills giving the Grizzlies a 17-14 edge.
After a Roadrunner service error, one of 11 on the night, Grizzly freshman Callyn Weyenberg (Gilbert, Ariz.) put down a smash giving the Grizzlies a 4-point lead.
That edge would not be large enough as Curtis served five straight points as the Roadrunners raced back in front 20-19.
However, the Grizzlies would respond and would go back up 24-22. The Roadrunners then erased back-to-back set points later as the Grizzlies could not convert as they eventually ran out of substitutions.
Taking advantage of that situation, the Roadrunners went to the 5-foot-11 Causseaux on the right side going against a block from 5-foot-6 defensive specialist Kelsey Huckle (Gunnison, Colo.), forced to play in the front row, to go ahead 29-28 before a Morley kill from the outside wrapped up the set.
The Roadrunners then dominated the early going of the third set as they jumped out to an 11-4 lead over the Grizzlies, who did partially recover to pull within 16-13 before two Amanda Cook kills and a 6-0 run with Ngoc Phan at the service line helped the visitors pull out the win.
Grizzly starting setter Mary McNeil (Phoenix, Ariz.) did not play in the third set as an undisclosed injury kept her out. Sophomore Megan Hawkins (Elizabeth, Colo.) replaced her for that set seeing her first action of the season.
McNeil finished the first two sets with 21 assists while Hawkins had four in the third set, that saw the Roadrunners hit .577 while holding the off-balance Grizzlies to a negative .038 effort in that frame.
The Grizzlies hit .157 throughout the night and were held without a service ace. They were also out-blocked 8-3.
The Grizzlies will have little time to dwell on the match as they will host Colorado Christian University on Friday night and Regis University on Saturday night. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. and can be heard live on KSPK-FM (104.1 in Alamosa) and via the internet at www.kspk.com.
The CCU Cougars (4-16, 1-10 RMAC) will enter Plachy Hall have also struggled as of late and have dropped seven of their last eight, including a 3-set loss at Colorado State-Pueblo on Thursday night.
Regis posted a 4-set win at Western State on Thursday night and enters a Friday night match in Pueblo with 11-8 overall and 9-2 RMAC records.
The first 50 fans that arrive at Saturday's match will receive a free Blackout Night t-shirt. Other fans can purchase the shirts for $5 as the Grizzlies hope to break their NCAA Division II era (1992-Present) attendance record of 774, set in last year's "Blackout Night" win over CSU-Pueblo.
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