Dias, Mavericks roll past Orediggers at home
Dave Fleming thought coaching the Colorado Mesa volleyball team was fun in the Mavericks’ three-set win over Tarleton State early this season.
He had even more fun Saturday afternoon.
The Mavericks, who Fleming has said all season don’t quite believe how good they can be, finally believed, knocking off No. 18 Colorado School of Mines in a 25-22, 25-12, 25-27, 25-22 thriller.
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell them every day at practice, that’s what I see,” Fleming said. “Our outsides struggled tonight, but they took a lot of swings (Friday) night and someone had to step up and Gabi Dias was awesome. The middles played really good in sets one and two and if we get on all six cylinders, we’re going to be really good.
“You can see them take little breaks and the really good teams don’t do that. That’s part of being young. I think we’re going to graduate our freshmen on Monday and make them sophomores, maybe elevate their pace a little bit.”
One of those freshmen, Allison Smith, was outstanding, with 12 kills and teaming up with Hattie Gianinetti for the final point.
Dias took complete control late in the fourth set with two jarring kills. The first one caromed off a Mines back-row player and into the stands, much to the delight of the men’s soccer team, which was standing and singing as the Mavericks doggedly refused to let Mines regain the lead.
Dias, who finished with 18 kills, whooping and hollering after every one, sent another crushing attack across the net to give the Mavericks a 22-21 lead and the serve.
“I get really excited for the games and we just came for the game, knowing they would be really good,” the senior right-side hitter said. “I think I had a really aggressive mindset for this game and I was talking a little bit.”
Alyssa Chutka, who came up with several big plays herself, with seven kills, served the biggest ace of her career, just inside the back line, for a 23-21 lead.
A double set against the Orediggers (15-4, 9-1 RMAC) sent Kricket Adleman to the service line for match point.
Alanna Winfield’s attack on the right side was met by Gianinetti and Smith, who stuffed the ball into an open spot on the Orediggers’ side, setting off a wild celebration.
Setter Ali Svorinic, who had 51 assists and a key kill when she set the ball over the net to tie the fourth set at 17-17, fell to the floor, clinching her fists, as Gianinetti went to her knees, slapping the floor.
Smith bounced up and down, screaming as the rest of the Mavericks rushed the floor.
Fleming and his assistant, David Skaff, shook hands, then chest-bumped before Fleming turned to the crowd, his arms raised in triumph and appreciation — it’s fall break, so the student section that brings so much energy was missing, but Brownson was plenty loud.
After winning a draining five-set match on Friday night, the Mavericks knew they had to quickly refocus for the late-afternoon match.
“We’ve got to get them to do it a little more consistently,” Fleming said of staying aggressive. “We’re a young team, but halfway through RMAC, I can’t complain.”
Mesa (15-3, 9-1) is one game behind Metro State, which the Mavericks will play twice in a five-day span next month.
The second set was nearly flawless, with the Mavericks racing to an 8-2 lead after Adleman served an ace that ticked off the net tape and Gianinetti recorded a kill off Mines’ block.
Smith made it 9-4 with a hard right-side attack and it was 11-7 when MacKenzie Edwards’ attack went off the blockers.
The Orediggers had used both timeouts after Dias scored for a 16-9 lead, and one point later, just after Fleming called out “Get up, Gabi,” she did just that, elevating high for a kill.
After Smith’s attack was dug over the net, Gianinetti scored on a stick-back for an 18-10 lead. She added back-to-back kills, one off the back row defender and another off her fingertips into an open spot on the floor to put the Mavs up 20-11.
A service ace by Taylor Woods got it to set point and Mesa took a 2-0 set lead on an attack error by the Orediggers.
In the second set, the Mavericks made only one hitting error, recording a .552 efficiency with 17 kills in 29 swings. Mines, which hit .214 in the first set, had a .129 attack average in the second, with only eight kills.
Gianinetti finished with 13 kills an three block assists, and Mesa’s defense came up with clutch saves time and time again. Woods had 18 digs, Edwards 12 and Adleman 11.
Fleming said yes, the match was “Tarleton fun,” and Dias agreed.
“He would always tell us I think it’s going to take a really good team to play us so we played like we did against Tarleton,” she said. “We knew Mines would be the team and we’d have to work as hard as we could.
“Yeah, we did it.”