Briefs: Mesa State Sports Roundup October 05, 2008

Struggling Mavs fall to Regis on volleyball court

Megan Bosch blocks a shot against Regis



Volleyball

• Were it not for rally scoring, Mesa State College and Regis University might have stretched Saturday’s matinee RMAC volleyball match at Brownson Arena well into the night.

In the Rangers’ three-game sweep of the Mavericks, there were 83 sideouts, meaning the team serving did not win the point. Under the old rules, no point would have been awarded, just a change of possession.

And had that been the case, the second game might have never ended — each team scored only eight points on its own serve. The Rangers (8-8, 4-4 RMAC) won the match 25-22, 25-23, 25-21.

“Teams can do whatever they want right now,” Mesa State coach Dave Fleming said after a lengthy team meeting. “I think we’re pressing a little bit and trying too hard. We keep harping on it, you’ve got to simplify.

“You’ve got to get stops on defense, you can’t do too much on blocks. You’ve got to let the ball come back to you as a blocker instead of reaching for the ball. It’s hard when you’re pressing and you want to make things happen, but that’s what we have do to.”

It wasn’t that neither team could serve, although Mesa State (8-8, 6-3 RMAC) made 10 service errors and Regis seven, it was that neither team could put the ball away with any consistency.

Regis, though, had the hotter hitter, 6-foot sophomore Jessica Howe, who recorded 19 kills, many of them straight into the teeth of the Mavs’ defense.

The Mavs’ continued funk — they’ve lost three of their past four matches and struggled in the other one — has Fleming wondering what to do next.

“I wish I had the answer,” he said. “Right now we’re playing as individuals and we need to find a way to play as a team.”

Fleming has changed the lineup in virtually every game the past three matches, trying to create some competition among the players to earn playing time. Only a couple of weeks ago, any move Fleming made was paying off. This past weekend, very little worked.

“I believe a competitive gym makes you better and I don’t believe anyone is entitled to a starting spot,” he said. “I think in the short run you might not like it, but in the long run it’ll make you a better volleyball player and a better person.”

In the second game, the Mavs looked as if they were about to make a scoring run when a call was reversed in their favor. Cassie Skipitis’ attack down the line was first awarded on a blocking error by the Mavs, when Meagan Bosch was called for touching the net.

Instead, Fleming argued that Skipitis’ attack crossed on the outside of the antenna. The officials conferred with the line judge and reversed the call, giving the point to Mesa State and tying the game 8-8.

The Mavs scored on a long point for a 9-8 lead but after a Regis timeout, Liz Franz recorded a kill to give the ball to the Rangers and tie it at 9-9.

Over the next 16 points, the serve changed hands on every point. Gabrielle Lovato, who had 10 aces Friday night, was the first player to get back-to-back serves over that stretch. Alisan Tompkins scored on a kill for an 18-16 lead, but Lovato’s second serve sailed far out of bounds.

Because the possession had changed so many times, Regis actually ran out of substitutions — each team is allowed 15 per game — trailing 18-17.

Mesa State built a 22-20 lead, but two kills by Kerry Grady and two more by Maggie Workman helped the Rangers win the game.

The second game was tied 14 times, the last at 23-23 when Bosch tipped the ball over the block.

Things get even tougher now for the Mavericks, who are back on the road the next two weeks, starting Friday at 10th-ranked Nebraska-Kearney.

“At this point there’s not much I can do, or the coaching staff,” Fleming said. “Each individual has to say, ‘hey, I have to make everybody else on the team better,’ and not worry about themselves, and we’ll be fine. We’re a talented team. We’re not an 0-3 team to Regis.

“Regis played well, you have to give them credit, but I think we at least get a game.”


Tennis

• The Mesa State doubles team of Jordan Chomko and Nick Provenza made history Saturday in Kearney, Neb.

The juniors became the first Mesa State men’s tennis players to win an ITA regional tournament and qualify for the ITA nationals, Mesa State coach Dan MacDonald said. The eight regional champions participate in nationals Oct. 16-19 in Mobile, Ala.


Chomko and Provenza defeated CSU-Pueblo’s Beau Fresquez and Ricardo Oaxaca 8-6 in the ITA Central Regionals final.

“We’re really excited about winning regionals,” Provenza said. “We had to fight for it. It was back and forth until the end when we locked it up.”

Chomko and Provenza defeated Metro State’s Sasha Ruckelshausen and Scott Bradley 8-6 in the semifinals.

Chomko and Provenza were each eliminated in the quarterfinal round in singles.


Cross Country

• The Mesa State College women’s cross country team finished third in the Rocky Mountain Shootout non-Division I race led by freshman Alexis Skarda’s third-place finish in 21:49.

Adams State took first with 53 points, Western State finished second with 56 and the Mavericks were third with 66. The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs placed fourth with 92.

Mesa State’s Esmeralda Martinez-Ramos was fifth in 22:28 and Paula Bruzewski was 15th in 23:28.

Brooke Bosman placed 19th in 23:44 and Sam Hentosh was 24th in 24:13.


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