Grizzlies get by Cougars in four to snap 4-match slide
Blackout Night up next for ASC
ALAMOSA, Colo.— Freshman outside hitter Dominique Davis (Denver, Colo.) and Darcy Jennings-Calkins (Lakin, Kan.) registered 15 kills apiece as the Adams State College Grizzly volleyball team snapped a 4-match slide with a 4-set (25-18, 25-23, 16-25, 25-22) Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win over the visiting Colorado Christian University Cougars, Friday night here in Plachy Hall. Jennings-Calkins also recorded nine digs and five blocks while hitting .452 for the Grizzlies, who improved to 9-11 overall while evening their conference mark at 6-6.
The Cougars, paced by 16 Kelly Clausen kills and a nice 13-dig, 8-kill and 8-block effort from Andi Weber dropped their fourth straight match while falling to 4-17 overall and to 1-11 in the RMAC.
The Grizzlies, who were playing without regular setter Mary McNeil (Phoenix, Ariz.), out with an injury, were at times sloppy but escaped with the win after a 3-0 Grizzly run broke a 18-18 deadlock in the fourth set and gave the Grizzlies enough of a cushion to clinch the win when the Cougars’ Megan McManus sailed a serve long, the 12th serving error of the night for CCU.
That large total and five Grizzly service aces helped the victors overcome a .194 to .116 hitting disadvantage as the Grizzlies posted their ninth straight win over CCU.
Led by Weber and six more blocks from Lynda Hughes, the Cougars had a 13-8 advantage at the net as the Grizzlies committed 30 hitting errors throughout the night.
However, they came up with the plays as they needed as sophomore defensive specialist Kelsey Huckle (Gunnison, Colo.) and sophomore libero AJ Palmer (Colorado Springs, Colo.) played well combining for 23 digs without committing a service reception error.
Brooke Wittmayer had a match-high 17 digs to lead the Cougars.
Grizzly sophomore setter Megan Hawkins (Elizabeth, Colo.) tallied 35 assists and also had five blocks to share team-high honors with Jennings-Calkins. McManus had 20 assists while she and Justina Rudzitis, who had 19, split time at the setter position in coach Aimee Davison’s 6-2 offensive attack.
That attack was especially strong in the latter half of the second set and throughout the third as the Cougars came back from 21-14 down in the set to tie the set at 22 when Clausen, Weber and Kim McCalmont combined for five kills in six points.
However, Davis put down a kill to give the Grizzlies the lead once again at 23-22 only to watch Hughes answer. Grizzly freshman Callyn Weyenberg (Gilbert, Ariz.), who did commit 13 of the Grizzlies’ hitting errors, then answered with one of her nine kills before Jennings-Calkins ended the rally putting the Grizzlies up two sets to none.
In the third set, the Cougars hit an impressive .393 while holding the Grizzlies to a .000 hitting efficiency, in part because of five third-set Cougar blocks.
The Cougars jumped out to an early lead in that frame and extended their advantage to 17-12 when Clausen put down three kills in four points.
The Grizzlies never recovered as CCU regularly traded two points for one down the stretch to force another set.
The fourth set was the most competitive of the night and featured 11 ties and five lead changes, including one at 14. Kills from Jennings-Calkins and Davis helped break that tie as the Grizzlies went on top 18-14 before a Grizzly service error, two Hughes-Weber blocks of Davis and a heads-up play by libero Cassidy Burke, who bumped the ball over the net and down to the floor in the corner tied the set at 18.
However, the Grizzlies got a kill from Hawkins, who before Thursday night, had not played this season, to go up 19-18 before a Clausen hitting error and two Grizzly blocks around a CCU timeout gave the Grizzlies a 22-18 lead.
Weber and Wittmayer tried to lead the Cougars back as they recorded another block before a Weber kill cut the deficit to just two points.
However, a key Cougar hitting error followed by a Valerie Garcia (Colorado Springs, Colo.) service ace upped the edge back to four points as the Grizzlies reached match point.
CCU was able to fight two of those points off but could not get back into the match as McManus misfired on her serve handing the match to the Grizzlies, who had hit an impressive .381 in the first set.
The Grizzlies will play their third match in as many nights on Saturday as they will host Regis (11-9, 10-2 RMAC) in their second annual Blackout Night promotion. The first 50 fans to arrive for the 7 p.m. match will receive free T-shirts. 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.
The Rangers will also be playing their third match in as many nights after overcoming a 12-8 fifth-set deficit to record a road win at Colorado State-Pueblo.
The doors will open at 6 p.m.
Fans that cannot attend the match in person can still follow it on KSPK-FM (104.1 in Alamosa) or via the internet at www.kspk.com. Subscription-based video coverage will also be available thanks to B2 Networks.
Live statistics will also be available on the Grizzlies’ website by clicking here.
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