Grizzlies picked for third in RMAC West, ninth overall
ASC enters 2011 with firepower, experience
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Lacking neither experience or offensive firepower, the Adams State volleyball team enters the 2011 season picked to finish third in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) West Division and ninth overall in the league, it was announced on Tuesday morning.
The Grizzlies received 112 pionts in the Preseason Coaches Poll, in which each head coach ranked teams form 1-13 in the order of predicted finish without voting for their own team. Nebraska-Kearney was tabbed as the top team in the RMAC with 19 points, followed closely by Metro State with 20. The Lopers and Roadrunners, both in the RMAC East Division, combined to take all 14 first place votes, amassing eight and six, respectively. Fellow East squad Colorado Mines rounded out the league’s top three, accumulating 45 points in the poll.
Colorado Mesa, after posting a 13-5 RMAC record in 2010, was the top pick in the West and was tabbed for fourth overall with 58 points. Western New Mexico accumulated 97 points for eighth overall and second in the West. ASC followed the Mustangs in both the overall and the West.
ASC was picked third in the RMAC West to begin the 2010 season, but went 9-17 overall and 6-12 in league play to end the season sixth in the division and 12th overall.
Adams State returns four starters from a season ago, as well as senior libero AJ Palmer (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who ranked 12th in the RMAC with 3.52 digs per set in 2010. Also back in the lineup are four hot hitters in junior Dominique Davis (Denver, Colo.), and sophomores Letisha Spencer (Rio Rancho, N.M.), Megan Tapia (Pueblo, Colo.) and Deprece Washington (Johnstown, Colo.).
Davis, a 5-11 outside hitter, hit at a .132 clip last season while ranking third in the RMAC with 355 kills. A right side hitter, Spencer racked up 147 kills in her freshman campaign to go along with 67 blocks, equal to the second highest total for the Grizzlies. Tapia, a middle hitter who hit at a .245 clip to lead ASC a year ago, also had 67 blocks and was good for 210 kills. Washington had 207 kills from her middle hitter position last season, while hitting .238 and blocking a team-high 87 attacks.
While the Grizzlies will be without ASC Division II-era assists leader Mary McNeil who ended her career with 3,699 assists, two newcomers will be looking to step into the role. Sophomore Gabriella Rifilato (Bayfield, Colo.) comes to ASC after spending a year at North Idaho College, where she helped lead the team to a 29-7 record and a 5th-place national finish in 2010.
While at Bayfield High School, Rifilato was a 3-time first team all-conference performer, and was honored as a conference MVP twice.
Also in the hunt for setting duties will be freshman Alyssa Martell (Tooele, Utah). Martell was a 3-year letterwinner at Stansbury High School, where she was a first team all-region and honorable mention all-state setter while leading the Stallions to a top ranking in-region.
The Grizzlies will face a pair of RMAC foes who ended the season ranked in the AVCA top 25 in 2010, as Nebraska-Kearney finished the season ranked fifth, and Metro State ranked 11th. Adams State faced seven opponents ranked in the top 25 last season, going 2-5 in those games with wins against then 16th-ranked West Texas A&M and then 6th-ranked St. Leo (Fla.). Both of those games took place on Sept. 11 at the Colorado Premier Challenge hosted by Metro State.
Six of the top seven spot in the RMAC Preseason Coaches Poll are occupied by teams in the East Division. The Grizzlies put up a 2-4 record against the RMAC East in 2010, while going 4-8 against West Division foes.
Adams Staet will host its 4th Annual Alumni Scrimmage on August 27 at 6:00 p.m. in Plachy Hall before opening the season on September 2 in Canyon, Texas, at the West Texas A&M Tournament. The Grizzlies will also take part in the Holiday Inn Crossroads Classic hosted by Colorado Mesa in Grand Junction before opening up their conference schedule at home against Colorado Christian at 7 p.m. in Plachy Hall on September 15.
Related Item: 2011 RMAC Preseason Coaches Poll