Mavs stave off swooping bat, Mustangs in volleyball win

f a bat swooping into Brownson Arena and streaking across the court during the middle of the second game Friday night didn’t fluster the Mesa State College volleyball team, facing a six-point deficit in the third game wasn’t going to rattle the Mavs in their home opener either.

Mesa State coach Dave Fleming inserted Gabrielle Lovato to serve, and that was pretty much all the Mavs needed. Lovato served 11 straight points, erasing a 19-13 deficit and giving the Mavs a match point at 24-19.

Lovato’s 12th serve sailed just long, and an attack error gave Western New Mexico a chance, but Alisan Tompkins scored the winner on an attack the Mustangs weren’t able to control.

Mesa State (3-5, 1-0 RMAC) swept the Mustangs (7-3, 1-1) 25-16, 27-25, 25-21.

The Mavs won with good performances all over the floor. Corinne Cascioppo, a 6-foot-3 freshman right-side hitter, had 11 kills, Antoinette McCormick, a 5-10 freshman middle blocker, was in on three blocks, teaming up with setter Tara King three times in the first game to help set the tone.

The Mavs had 10 blocks to Western New Mexico’s three, controlled the game with their defense, and when they needed points in that third-game run, they looked to Tompkins.

The 5-10 junior delivered. She had four of her 12 kills and one block assist down the stretch.

“She was a big-time hitter in that third game,” Fleming said.

Early on, it was Cascioppo getting the sets. She made only five errors in 25 attacks, and seemingly every time she made a mistake, she came back with an authoritative kill on the next point.

“You can see what she can bring,” Fleming said. “She’s going to be a freshman for awhile. She’s going to be up and down, but she can be very good.”

After the bat left the building, Tompkins recorded a cross-court kill to give the Mavs a
21-17 lead in the second game.

Lindsey Jefferson ended a great point with a kill in the middle, and a kill by Cascioppo got the Mavs to game point. The Mustangs fought back and tied the game twice before Cascioppo sent a hard kill down the line for a 26-25 lead.

She then stepped to the line and served an ace on the back line for a 2-0 lead.

“That was a huge confidence builder. They were 7-2, they’re always in the picture at the end of the year,”
Fleming said. “They beat us at home last year and we’ve been struggling.

“It couldn’t come at a better time.”


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