Freshmen lead Grizzlies to 5-set, come-from-behind win at Western
ASC on verge of RMAC Tournament berth
GUNNISON, Colo.— The Adams State College volleyball team twice came from a set down to take the second and fourth sets in “overtime” before winning five of the last six points of the match in the decisive fifth set as they claimed a clutch Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Friday night win over arch-rival Western State College in front of a hostile Paul Wright Gymnasium crowd of 422.
The Grizzlies, who stormed back from 20-15 down to take the fourth set 27-25, received a match-high 16 kills from Dominique Davis (Denver, Colo.) and a career-high 15 from fellow freshman outside hitter Callyn Weyenberg (Gilbert, Ariz.) as they helped make up for a slight off hitting night from senior middle Darcy Jennings-Calkins (Lakin, Kan.), held to a season-low .098 hitting percentage, as ASC posted its fourth win in the last five matches while moving to the precipus of a third straight RMAC Tournament berth.
The Grizzlies, who overcame a season-high 44 hitting errors and a .058 hitting percentage effort, 116 points lower than their season average, are now 12-12 overall and 9-7 in RMAC play after the 22-25, 26-24, 22-25, 27-25, 15-11 win, their fifth in the last six renewals of the rivalry.
The balanced Mountaineers, who had four players in double figures for kills, dropped to 5-19 overall and to 5-11 in the RMAC while falling out of tournament contention.
The Grizzlies, who can clinch a spot in the 8-team Nov. 12-14 RMAC Tournament with a Halloween night win at Fort Lewis, 3-set Friday night winners over reeling Colorado State-Pueblo, in Durango also knocked the Mountaineers, paced by 14 Cecelia Vollmer kills, out of playoff contention in 2008.
The Skyhawks, who have won three straight matches while improving to 8-16 overall and to 6-10 in the RMAC will be in a similar must-win situation that WSC was in Friday night.
The Grizzlies defeated the Skyhawks in four sets at home last month and can actually sew up a spot in the tournament by simply taking the Skyhawks to five sets thanks to RMAC tiebreaking procedures.
The Mountaineers were on the verge of getting their “must-win” in the fourth set but committed three straight hitting errors, two of them because of Grizzly blocks, before Davis put down two kills around one from Vollmer in a 6-2 run that brought the Grizzlies back within 22-20.
Mountaineer setter Rachel Weakland and Davis then committed hitting errors before three more Mountaineer misfires gave the Grizzlies a 24-23 lead and a set point.
Lindsay Huson, one of three Mountaineers with 10 kills, then put down a shot to tie the set at 24 before a Weyenberg kill gave the Grizzlies another set point at 25-24.
Jennings-Calkins, who did have 13 kills on the night, was then blocked by Huson and Jamie Hamsa, another one of the Mountaineers with 10 kills, before the Grizzly star put down another kill to give the Grizzlies a 26-25 lead and their third set point.
This time they converted as a Gabriella Barsante hitting error evened the match at two sets each.
With the fifth set tied at 3, the Grizzlies jumped out to a 7-4 lead on a Davis kill before the Mountaineers came back to tie it at 9 when Davis committed three hitting errors in a 4-rally span.
The teams then exchanged points before kills from Weyenberg and freshman right side hitter Vanessa Cushnie (Kamuela, Hawai’i) gave the Grizzlies a 12-10 cushion that they would not relinquish as a Mary McNeil (Phoenix, Ariz.) kill, a Mountaineer service error and a block by McNeil and Jennings-Calkins, who finished with a match-high nine, completed the win.
McNeil finished the night with three blocks and also added 45 assists. She also had eight digs, helping the Grizzlies to an 80-61 advantage in that category. Weakland had 48 assists, seven digs and four blocks for the Mountaineers, now coached by former ASC head coach Katie Moskowitz.
Sophomore libero AJ Palmer (Colorado Springs, Colo.) led the Grizzlies’ defensive charge with 20 digs and was one of four Grizzlies in double figures in that category. Freshman Valerie Garcia (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Cushnie also contributed significantly as both set new career-highs with 14 and 11 digs, respectively. Sophomore Kelsey Huckle, playing in her hometown, added 10.
Madison Dempsey had 23 to the lead the Mountaineers.
Davis, who leads all RMAC freshmen with 286 kills this season, did commit 18 hitting errors on the night but made up for it by recording a season-high six blocks. She and Weyenberg, whose best two performances of the season have come against the Mountaineers this season, took a combined 96 swings on the night.
Both teams finished the match with 14 blocks although serving was a big factor as the Grizzlies tallied six aces against just three errors while the Mountaineers were guilty of 11 errors while coming up with just three aces.