Experienced Metro sweeps past Mesa
The youngsters on the Colorado Mesa University volleyball team got an up-close look Thursday night at what a veteran club looks like when it’s been together a few years.
“They’re seventh in the country for a reason and they deserve a lot of credit,” Colorado Mesa coach Dave Fleming said after Metro State methodically claimed a 25-13, 25-12, 25-22 victory over the Mavericks at Brownson Arena to open RMAC play.
“I told (former Mesa coach) Rusty Crick before the match that my team reminds me of Metro three years ago when we went to their place and beat them 3-0. (Metro’s) two outsides and Ngoc Phan were young kids then. We’ve got to grow.”
Metro’s talented group of seniors, Julie Causseaux (nine kills, a .727 hitting percentage and two block assists), Shayne Kovach (a Fruita Monument grad who had three kills), Bri Morley (four kills, 12 digs), Darcy Schwartzman (21 assists), Emily Greenhalgh (nine kills) and the Roadrunners’ terrific libero Phan (15 digs) were too much for Colorado Mesa, which has only one senior, middle blocker Antoinette McCormick.
“Causseaux was awesome and she wasn’t even on anybody’s radar three years ago,” Fleming said.
The Mavericks (3-6, 0-1 RMAC) start McCormick, three juniors, including libero Megan Rush, one sophomore and two freshmen, and their four reserves are underclassmen.
After the Roadrunners put on an impressive show in the first game with only one hitting error (they made only nine the entire match) and pulled away from a 6-6 tie in the second game, the Mavericks regrouped.
“I was encouraged,” Fleming said. “We grew in the third game.
“We basically told them we’ve got to take it to them. We knew that going in. Metro is very good in system. If we give them cupcake serves or we give them down balls, we’re gonna eat it.
“We had to put some pressure on them with tougher serves and hitting the ball hard. That’s how we’re going to beat good teams. Those are the matches you want to win, those are the fun ones.”
The Mavericks came out of the break more aggressive, with freshman outside hitter Melissa Hess and junior Kelly Regimbal attacking the blockers and the front-row players getting their hands in position to make blocks.
Hess came up with a big block to cut Metro’s lead to 10-8, but a serving error gave the Roadrunners the ball right back. Still, the Mavericks kept scrambling and McCormick and Rebecca Sellers came up with back-to-back solo blocks and a setting error on Metro tied the game at 16-16.
The Mavericks made too many mistakes, especially at the service line, where they had five errors at crucial times.
They had a chance after Megan Rush served an ace to cut it to 22-21, but Metro set up Greenhalgh, who slammed a point straight down.
Regimbal answered with her own cross-court winner, but Greenhalgh got another kill and Metro’s freshman lefty Lauren Quijano put the match away with her 12th kill of the night.
Tonight, the Mavericks play No. 25 Regis in the second of a three-match weekend.
“I told them I’m really glad we played (Metro) the first match of RMAC because I’d really love to see them at the end of the year,” Fleming said. “If we learn from tonight how far we can progress and get closer to them.”