Tough to take: Mavs fall in five to Mines
Kaity Edmiston remembers entering Saunders Fieldhouse as a freshman on the Colorado School of Mines volleyball team.
“I remember coming here my freshman year and I had hometown jitters,” the Palisade High School graduate said Thursday night after helping the Orediggers rally for a 3-2 victory over Mesa State. “I came to so many Mesa games growing up and I was nervous as heck.”
Four years later, Edmiston returned home for the final time as senior middle blocker for the Orediggers — emphasis on the blocker.
“This game I was confident and every time I got a little nervous I just thought, ‘There are people up in the stands that want to see me do well. There are people in the stands that believe in me,’ ‘’ she said. “That’s all you can ask for when you’re playing at home ... playing at home, but you’re away.”
Edmiston and the Orediggers had 191⁄2 total blocks to rally from a 2-0 deficit for an 18-25, 18-25, 25-16, 26-24, 16-14 victory, ending the Mavericks’ seven-match winning streak.
The Mavericks (8-8, 6-1 RMAC) went from dominating at the net to being dominated after the eight-minute break between the second and third games.
“We were playing great defense, blocking, but we weren’t executing (offensively),” Edmiston said. “We went in the locker room and made it clear, we’re doing the hard stuff, let’s do the fun stuff, start pounding the ball.”
Mines leads the RMAC in blocking, averaging 2.4 per game, with Tara Schwein and Edmiston ranked 2-3 in the conference, but Mesa State coach Dave Fleming wanted the Mavs to stay aggressive.
“If someone blocks you, we want to be more aggressive,” he said. “If someone blocks you and you’re aggressive, you have more options as a hitter. When you’re tentative, you have less options.”
The Mavs’ options were limited because they rushed their approach and tried to hit around the block, but their mechanics wouldn’t allow that.
“The shoulder comes forward, you get underneath the ball and it gives you only one option, drive the ball down the seam,” Fleming said.
At 10-10 in the fifth game, after the Mavs’ Tessa Andrews drilled a kill through the block, Mines rattled off four straight points.
Mesa State, though, scrambled defensively for three straight points.
Elizabeth Serra-Hsu went for the back corner of the Mavs’ defense on another match point and it was called just long, tying the game at 14-14.
Schwein gave the Orediggers a fourth match point with a kill and they sealed it when Ali Tompkins’ attack hit the antenna.
The Mavericks, who play CU-Colorado Springs at 7 tonight, had 99 digs, with freshman Megan Rush keeping 24 balls alive, and 64 kills — four players had 11 or more, led by Tompkins’ 17.
Mines had 65 digs, led by another Palisade graduate, libero Kirstie Bunting’s 18, and 42 kills, with only Schwein reaching double figures with 11.
Those 35 double-blocks made the difference.
“They have a good block. Mines played great and they deserved that one,” Fleming said. “That’s the third time in a row we’ve played them five games and the losing team won the first two games.”