Higgins gives Mavs big lift against Highlands
Dave Fleming sees it every day in practice. And when Megan Rush lunged for a dig and Haleigh Higgins slammed it home in the fifth set Saturday night against New Mexico Highlands, the Colorado Mesa University coach left his feet, clenching his fist.
The play gave the Mavericks a 9-6 lead, one they refused to give up in their 21-25, 25-20, 25-18, 17-25, 15-11 victory at Brownson Arena.
“That play toward the end when Rush dove in for the setter dump and Haleigh terminated at the end ... we see that every day in practice,” Fleming said.
“We just don’t see it when there’s another team on the other side of the net and there are refs and fans. There’s our team! That’s what we see; I’m glad they got to show everybody else.”
Higgins, a sophomore outside hitter, had the match Fleming has been looking for someone — anyone — to have all season.
And even after 56 swings and a career-high 21 kills, Higgins was ready for more.
“It feels great, I still want to be swinging,” she said, grinning.
The win moved the Mavericks (10-16, 5-11 RMAC) back into a tie with Highlands (11-16, 5-11) for fourth place in the RMAC West Division.
Fleming said he knew if one of the Mavericks had a breakout night, the rest would follow, and they did.
“That’s all I wanted to see, even if we lost that game five, the fight’s back,” Fleming said. “Haleigh had a great match and that’s the point we’ve been trying to make, if someone has that fight, someone else will follow.”
Rebecca Sellers had 14 kills, Kelly Regimbal nine and Antoinette McCormick had 11 in the middle, including a couple of no-doubters as she went high above the net and slammed the ball straight down on the other side of the net.
Mesa’s hitting percentages steadily improved from having only two more kills than errors through the first two sets to only two errors in the final set.
“Sometimes (it’s) pretty ball, sometimes we have great digs and a great set and then a bad swing,” Higgins said. “Sometimes the best volleyball is dirty volleyball, where it’s scrappy on both sides and people are diving everywhere, long rallies because nobody’s letting the ball out or hit the floor. That’s the best volleyball to play.”
Colorado Mesa won 12 individual events in the Colorado School of Mines Duals.
Kent Stavrakas won the 100-yard freestyle in 46.90 seconds and the 50 freestyle in 21.63 to lead the men’s team.
Brock Martin won the 1-meter (286.65) and 3-meter (313.28) diving events and Austin Detra won the 1,650 freestyle (17 minutes, 32.55 seconds).
Briana Purkapile led the Mesa women with wins in the 100 freestyle (55.46) and the 50 freestyle (25.73).
Kelly Hogan won the 200 freestyle (1:59.14), Jaclyn McMillen won the 200 backstroke (2:14.90) and Ashley Ochsner took first in the 200 breaststroke (2:40.54).