Mountaineers take three close sets to spoil ASC's home-opener
McNeil leads Grizzly effort
ALAMOSA, Colo.— The Western State College Mountaineers recorded 12 blocks and took advantage of 15 additional unforced Adams State College hitting errors as they recorded their first road win over the Grizzlies in four years while spoiling the Grizzlies’ home opener in three close sets, Friday night here in Plachy Hall.
The Mountaineers, received six blocks assists each from Gabriela Barsante, Lindsay Huson and Courtnee Pedone and 28 of their 38 total kills from that 3-person attack as they improved to 7-7 overall and to 2-5 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play with the 25-23, 25-22, 25-23 win, their second triumph of the week.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies fell to 4-10 overall and to 1-5 in the loop despite double-double efforts from sophomore outside hitter Dominique Davis (Denver, Colo.) and senior Mary McNeil (Phoenix, Ariz.) and another 21 combined kills from true freshman Megan Tapia (Pueblo, Colo.) and Letisha Spencer (Rio Rancho, N.M.).
Davis tallied a match-high 13 kills and added 12 digs but also was guilty of 15 of the Grizzlies 27 hitting errors. Meanwhile, McNeil tallied 33 assists and a match-high 15 digs. She also had five kills and a match-best .364 hitting percentage.
Tapia, playing as an outside hitter in place of injured Tamara Fowler (Rio Rancho, N.M.), tallied 11 kills while Spence put down 10 from her right side hitter position. She also had three block assists to lead the Grizzlies, who finished with just five as a team.
Defensively, the Grizzlies also received 14 digs from junior libero AJ Palmer (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who is now the same number away from becoming just the seventh Adams State player to record 1,000 career digs in the program’s NCAA Division II history (1992-Present).
Pedone had 11 kills to lead the Mountaineers while Barsante chipped in another 10 while hitting .320.
The Mountaineers came out firing and led by as many as five points in the early going. Recording five blocks in the first set alone, Western State then watched the Grizzlies start to come back as the Grizzlies tied the set at 12 on a Davis kill only to fall behind again.
However, the Grizzlies then used a 6-1 run to take a 19-17 lead on a Tapia kill.
Falling behind 21-18 moments later, the Mountaineers then used a 5-2 run of their own to tie the set at 23 before a Barsante and Huson tandem block of Davis gave them a 24-23 lead and a set point.
Luck then fell upon the Mountaineers as Hamsa recorded the most of her 14 digs while the ball bounced off her body, over the net and onto the floor on the Grizzly side of the net handing the Mountaineers the first set.
Set 2 saw the Grizzlies get out to the quick start as the hosts jumped ahead 7-2. Still leading 14-9 and 20-14 later in the frame, the Mountaineers then went on an 11-2 run behind the serving of setter Rachel Weakland and libero Madison Dempsey to win the frame. The Grizzlies also contributed to their own demise in that stretch as Davis was guilty of four hitting errors.
After the intermission, the Mountaineers were able to build a 15-10 lead with an 8-3 run and cruised to a 24-21 lead.
The Grizzlies did fight off two of the three necessary match points thanks to Tapia kills but were unable to stop Hamsa from tallying her eighth kill through the Grizzly block as the Mountaineers picked up their first win in four overall tries against the Grizzlies.
The victory was also the first over Adams State in three tries for Mountaineer head coach Katie Moskowitz, who guided the Grizzlies for three seasons (2002-04) and their only RMAC West Division Crown in 2003.
The Grizzlies will try to bounce back Saturday night when they host Colorado State-Pueblo (5-8, 1-5 RMAC), which posted a 3-set non-conference home win over Division III powerhouse Colorado College on Friday. First serve is 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 first 50 fans to arrive in Plachy Hall after the doors open at 6 p.m. will receive a free black T-shirt to help celebrate Blackout Night. Additional fans can purchase the commerative shirt for $6.
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