Grizzlies dominate, then hang on for first RMAC win
ALAMOSA, Colo.— The Adams State College volleyball team dominated the first two games and then hung on for their first Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win of the season in four sets over the visiting Colorado State University-Pueblo Thunderwolves on Saturday night in Plachy Hall. Senior Emily Bussey (Alamosa, Colo.) recorded a team-high 19 kills while junior Tiffany Stockebrand (Alamosa, Colo.) and senior Kallee Bingham (Mesa, Ariz.) each recorded 15 in the 30-20, 30-23, 20-30, 32-30 win.
In the process, ASC snapped a 5-match slide and improved to 4-9 overall and 1-5 in RMAC action. The Thunderwolves dropped their fourth straight match and fell to 6-8 overall and 2-4 in the loop.
The Grizzlies also received fine efforts from seniors Carly Simpson (Kent, Wash.) and Jocelyn Garcia (Albuquerque, N.M.), who recorded 22 and 21 digs, respectively, and from freshman setter Tagen Bierley (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who had a career-high 57 assists. She was also just one dig shy of her fourth straight double-double.
The Thunderwolves were paced by a 19-kill, 11-dig double-double from Samantha Connelly. Holly Swanson also put down 13 kills and four blocks while Amy Lacey had 10 kills and a match-high seven blocks.
The Grizzlies hit an impressive .306 in the first two games and were simply overpowering the Thunderwolves. Taking big 20-10 and 20-9 leads in the first two sets, respectively, the Grizzlies simply cruised to wins by trading points in the late-going of each set.
However, CSU-Pueblo took advantage of a sluggish third game performance by the Grizzlies and built a 12-6 lead before a Lindy Mortensen timeout. ASC battled back to with 19-15 on a Stockebrand kill and a Connelly attack error before another 4-0 Thunderwolf run made the score 23-15. Another 4-0 run moments later gave CSU-Pueblo a 27-17 lead before kills by Swanson and Lacey followed by a Thunderwolf block put the set away.
Not wanting to go to a fifth set, ASC built a 15-9 lead after a 4-0 run behind Bussey’s serving before CSU-Pueblo kept chipping away at the lea. The Thunderwolves finally tied it at 24 after back-to-back Lacey blocks, one of which was with Jamie Thompson.
The teams then went back-and-forth for the next six points before a Connelly kill gave the Thunderwolves a 28-27 edge. ASC sophomore Leah Hill (Fort Collins, Colo.), who had seven kills, then answered back before another Swanson kill gave CSU-Pueblo a game point.
However, Bussey followed a Grizzly timeout with a smash before a Swanson kill gave CSU-Pueblo another game point at 30-29. This time, CSU-Pueblo was called for a ball handling error before Lacey fell into the net on an attack attempt, giving the Grizzlies a match-point at 31-30.
CSU-Pueblo coach Emily Asanovich then called a timeout and was given a yellow card before Stockebrand, who also had a double-double with 14 digs, put the match away with a smash down the line.
Stockebrand also had six blocks while Bingham had three to go along with her impressive .357 hitting percentage. Senior middle blocker Megan Jennings (Lakin, Kan.) also put down five kills and as many blocks.
The Grizzlies hit .222 on the night and held CSU-Pueblo, guided by junior setter Amber Jessen, to a .134 attack percentage. Jessen had 47 assists.
ASC now heads out for a 3-match swing in metropolitan Denver, starting Thursday night at Metro State, before coming home for four of the final five weekends of the year.