Chutka’s big day helps Mesa roll to win vs. Eagles
Hattie Gianinetti wasn’t 100 percent Saturday after hitting the floor hard Friday night in the Colorado Mesa volleyball team’s match against Regis.
Enter Alyssa Chutka, who gave the Mavericks the spark they needed in a sweep of Chadron State, 25-13, 25-15, 25-13.
“We’ve seen that out of her last year; we know it’s there,” CMU coach Dave Fleming said. “It was the spark. We run that zero tempo (attack) and it really frustrates teams, like Regis did to us last night. How do you stop that? It affects their whole game. Chutka got a lot of touches, didn’t get a lot of stuffs, but she slowed down a lot of balls.”
Chutka, a 6-foot junior middle blocker from Palisade, started in the middle, recorded nine kills and was in on three blocks, helping the Mavericks control the net and the match.
“It was definitely a fun game. Coming back from last night, that was a hard loss, so we just had to take it out on Chadron a little bit,” Chutka said.
After a sluggish start, the Mavericks turned it on after back-to-back kills by MacKenzie Edwards, who led all hitters with 13, to take a 14-11 lead in the first set. After losing the serve but getting it right back, Edwards made an off-balance kill, then Chutka scored on a stick-back. Later in the run, she put down a hard kill in the middle for a 19-13 lead after Chadron forced a sideout.
That allowed Edwards to get to the service line, and the Mavericks won the next six points — they closed the set on an 11-1 run.
Mesa’s ability to get sideouts kept the Mavericks on the attack. Chadron State (4-8, 1-3 RMAC) never served more than three points in a row in any set, but Mesa went on long scoring runs in each.
“(Coach Fleming) really wants to limit the runs of the other team, but we did much better job of that tonight,” Chutka said. “The whole team across the board, more blocking, better defense.”
Getting right back on the floor was key in helping the Mavs forget about the loss to Regis.
“It was definitely nice having the rebound today instead of thinking about it for the whole weekend,” Chutka said. “Like coach said last night, the best medicine is to get back in the gym the next day.”
Fleming liked how Mesa responded after being swept by Regis on Friday night, especially with a crowd less than half of what filled Brownson Arena the night before. Mesa hit .374, with Chutka and right-side hitter Megan Gianinetti matching stats with nine kills in 15 swings, with one error each, for a .533 attack percentage.
Edwards had only two errors in 24 attacks for a .458 percentage. Chadron had 19 errors and recorded 22 kills in 87 attacks, a .034 percentage.
Sam Ritter had 26 assists and 12 digs, matching libero Taylor Woods, and the Mavericks had six total blocks to Chadron’s one. Mesa never trailed by more than one point, keeping the momentum and generating their own energy with their quick-tempo attack.
“It was a good bounce-back win,” Fleming said. “If you would have told me we’d come back and win 13, 15, 13, I’d say we’re doing something right.”
Blake Graf finished 30th and Mako Watanabe 31st in the Roy Griak Invitational at the University of Minnesota, with the Mavericks’ men’s team placing 13th with 365 points.
Graf covered the 8-kilometer course in 26 minutes, 53 seconds, with Watanabe two seconds behind him. Luke Spitz placed 79th in 27:46. Mason Phillips of Sioux Falls won in 25:31.
The CMU women placed 24th with 680 points. Ashlyn Brent was 91st in the 5K in 24:35.1, with Abigail Oglesby 112th in 24:57.4. Alexis Zeis of the University of Mary was first in 21:41.3.
The threat of rain prompted Metro State to not travel to Colorado Springs for the second day of the Air Force Invitational, so instead of playing championship matches, the coaches improvised, matching players who hadn’t met earlier in the tournament.
The Mesa women ended up playing CSU-Pueblo, with Kristen Kirby winning her match 6-3, 6-1. Taylor Hershey, Emily Beckley, Rebecca Ostererg and Carolena Campos also won their matches. Alain De La Bastide won a three-setter and Nicholas Farmen also won his match for the men’s team, both against CSU-Pueblo.