Despite losses, Mesa volleyball coach encouraged by team’s play at Oredigger Classic

The word is already out on the Mesa State College volleyball team.

Abilene Christian double-blocked middle hitter Antoinette McCormick in the Mavericks’ final match of the Oredigger Classic in Golden on Saturday and claimed a 3-2 victory, 22-25, 25-20, 25-19, 23-25, 15-12. The Mavericks were swept by No. 15 Southwest Minnesota 25-19, 25-20, 25-18 earlier in the day to finish the tournament 2-2.

“They were double committing on Antoinette and we were helping them in other spots, hitting into a block instead of around it,” Mesa State coach Dave Fleming said of the Abilene Christian match. “They did a nice job on Antoinette. Everybody’s going to do that now.”

McCormick, who had 14 kills against Southwest Minnesota, still had 17 kills in the final match. Meagan Bosch had 19, with 11 against Southwest Minnesota.

“We played pretty well (against Southwest Minnesota). I felt OK about that. Some losses feel terrible, like (Abilene Christian). We didn’t beat ourselves, they beat us. Abilene, we kind of beat ourselves. Southwest is very good and were fired up to play us since we were 2-0. We couldn’t answer what they were doing.”

The Mavericks led 7-3 in the fifth game against Abilene Christian on a kill by Kelly Regimbal, but the Wildcats tied the game at 7-7.

McCormick’s kill gave the Mavs an 8-7 lead and Celest Alofipo connected for a 9-8 lead, but every time Mesa State took the lead, Abilene came back to get the next point.

At 12-12, an attack error gave Abilene Christian the lead for good, and the Wildcats scored the next two points to win the match.

Mesa State setter Tara King, who had 91 assists, eight kills and 18 digs Saturday, made the all-tournament team.

With four matches to build from before playing in the Nebraska-Kearney tournament this weekend, Fleming said it’s a good start.

“You learn more when you lose,” he said. “We learned some things (Friday), but you learn a lot more when you’re in tough spots. (After the first loss) we focused on good teams do bounce back from tough losses. We were almost there.”


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