CSU-Pueblo snaps ASC's 4-match winning streak
PUEBLO, Colo.— The Adams State College volleyball team had some mammoth-sized efforts but watched the Colorado State University-Pueblo ThunderWolves record 19 blocks as they snapped the Grizzlies’ 4-match winning streak on Saturday night in Massari Arena. The 30-27, 30-22, 26-30, 31-29 setback dropped ASC to 10-12 overall and to 7-8 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action. The ThunderWolves snapped a 4-match slide of their own while improving to 10-13 overall and to 6-9 in RMAC action.
ASC, which had taken a 4-game home win over the Pack on Sept. 24, is now tied with Fort Hays State, 4-game winners at Chadron State, for the eighth and final RMAC Tournament spot. The Grizzlies are at home for their final four matches of the regular season starting on Tuesday against New Mexico Highlands, now 10-5 in RMAC action after being swept in three games by West Division co-leading UC-Colorado Springs, which ASC out-blocked en-route to a 5-game win on Friday night.
CSU-Pueblo is just a match back but will be on the road for their final four of the regular season.
ASC was led by a career-high 23 kills from junior outside hitter Tiffany Stockebrand (Alamosa, Colo.), who also recorded 15 digs for her third straight and ninth double-double of the season. The Grizzlies also received a career-high 30 digs from senior libero Jocelyn Garcia (Albuquerque, N.M.) and an 18-kill, 18-dig effort from senior outside hitter Emily Bussey (Alamosa, Colo.), who now has 11 double-doubles in 2005. Freshman setter Tagen Bierley (Colorado Springs, Colo.) added 55 assists, just two shy of a career high, and nine digs in the 1-hour and 59-minute battle that featured 27 overall ties and 14 lead changes.
The lead changed hands six times in the fourth set alone as the ThunderWolves overcame 25-22 and 28-26 deficits to close out the match with kills by Amy Lacey and Meagan Sater, who had a team-high 18.
It was the blocking that really caused ASC problems. Freshman middle blocker Caitlyn Jewell had a match-high nine as CSU-Pueblo punished the Grizzlies 19-7 at the net. Junior Holly Swanson contributed to the cause as well with 11 kills, seven blocks and a .320 hitting percentage.
ASC was down 17-8 in the early going of Game 1 but came back to within 24-23 thanks to a 15-7 spurt capped by a Carly Simpson (Kent, Wash.) service ace.
CSU-Pueblo junior outside hitter Samantha Connelly then put down one of her 15 kills to start a 3-0 ThunderWolf run that eventually led to her team’s first game victory, ended with Sater’s seventh kill of the first set.
The ThunderWolves continued to block and hit well while ASC committed 12 total attacking errors in the second game as CSU-Pueblo used a 10-5 run to blow an 18-16 game wide open. Sater, who was hitting .533 after two games, had two kills in the final three points of that game as the ThunderWolves went into the intermission up 2-0.
Stockebrand and Garcia then exploded in the third game as the Grizzlies overcame a 25-23 deficit to stay in the match. Stockebrand had eight kills on 20 attempts in the third game while Garcia dug up 15 ThunderWolf attacks in the set, which was tied on 11 different occasions.
Down by two after a Grizzly miscue, Bussey put down a kill and then served six straight points as ASC went up 29-25, just moments before a Stockebrand kill gave ASC hope.
Game 4 was a battle throughout and was tied at every number from 17 to 22 before a Bussey kill started a 3-0 Grizzly run that forced ThunderWolf rookie head coach Emily Asanovich to take a timeout down 25-22.
The timeout must have motivated Swanson and Connelly, who combined for three kills in four points forcing ASC’s Lindy Mortensen to call a timeout of her own with a slight 26-25 lead.
Bussey then put down a kill before committing a service error as ASC’s lead shrunk to 27-26.
The Pack then tied the game at 28 with Connelly and Sater kills before a Connelly service ace, one of a match-high four, gave CSU-Pueblo a match point at 29-28.
Stockebrand erased that after a timeout before Amber Jessen set Lacey and Sater on the match-ending points.
Jessen, part of a 2-setter rotation, finished the night with 31 assists and 12 digs while her counterpart Lori Walkup had 19 assists. Sater added a team-high 17 digs.
ASC had a slight 64-60 edge in total kills but could not overcome a .107 team hitting percentage. The Grizzlies also had a huge 92-71 advantage in total digs.
Garcia’s defensive effort was two digs better than her previous career-high of 28 set on Sept. 2 against St. Mary’s (Texas) and was the best of any Grizzly this year. Stockebrand surpassed her previous-career high of 22 kills set on Sept. 17 at Western State. She has had four 20-plus kill nights this season and leads the team with a 4.25-kill per game average, the third best in the RMAC.
Tuesday’s match with New Mexico Highlands can be heard on KSPK-FM (103.5 in Alamosa) and via the internet at www.kspk.com.