Tourney logjam hurts CMU

A shiny, brand-new floor at Brownson Arena is just waiting for someone to play a game.

Problem is, Colorado Mesa University volleyball coach Dave Fleming couldn’t get enough teams to commit to playing in a tournament this weekend.

The Mavericks hosted the Holiday Inn Crossroads Classic the past two years on the second week of the season, after opening at the Oredigger Classic at Colorado School of Mines.

This year, though, Mines moved its tournament to the second weekend. Metro State and Regis have co-hosted the Colorado Classic for years on the second weekend of the season, plus CSU-Pueblo is hosting a tournament this weekend. That left the Mavs out in the cold.

“It makes sense for those Texas schools, if they’re going to come up here, they’re going to go to Denver instead of Grand Junction,” Fleming said.

So the Mavs will get back on the bus and drive to Las Vegas, N.M., to play in the I.C. Bhakta Invitational at New Mexico Highlands on Friday and Saturday. The following week, they open RMAC play at Highlands.

It’s not ideal, but Fleming hoping to lure enough teams for a tournament next fall. He said Western State Colorado University and Dixie State (Utah) College have committed to coming to Grand Junction for a tournament, so he’s halfway to filling a field.

With the new floor at Brownson, the Mavericks don’t have to set up a second court in the Hamilton Recreation Center for tournament play.

“I really like the environment here, and with the new gym, we re-drilled the holes so we can have two courts going simultaneously at Brownson and pull out one side of the bleachers,” Fleming said. “I’d like to do it. ... If the Oredigger stays on the second weekend, maybe we do it on the first weekend.”

The Mavericks will play South Central regional matches against St. Edward’s (Texas) University, Eastern New Mexico, McMurry (Texas) University this weekend.

They also play Dixie State, which is in the West Region, but competition against teams in contiguous regions goes toward a team’s in-region record.

Colorado Mesa (3-1) is the only team with a winning record among those five teams, but the Mavs’ showing last week should give them a boost in the regional picture, and he likes where his team is headed.

“I don’t think we’ve peaked anywhere,” Fleming said. “The connections are going to get better between (setter Jordyn) Moody and the middles, and the setting is going to get more comfortable with the libero position, so yeah, I think we’re all pretty excited about what we could do.”

Ney makes all-tourney

Middle blocker Abby Ney was selected to the all-tournament team at Angelo State after four impressive matches.

Ney, a 5-foot-10 sophomore from Fort Collins, recorded 32 kills and hit .321. Defensively she had nine blocks and 17 digs, and added four service aces.

In the Mavs’ 3-1 win over Dallas Baptist, the left-hander had 10 kills and nine digs.

A Sunni start

Sunni Rae Baird moved into the starting libero position that had been owned by Megan Rush the past four years and didn’t miss a beat.

The 5-6 senior from Bloomfield, N.M., had 81 digs and 16 assists for the Mavericks last weekend and was selected the RMAC defensive player of the week. Baird is averaging 6.23 digs per game.

Injury Report

CMU quarterback Aric Kaiser, who injured his left knee during Saturday’s season opener, was scheduled to see team doctors Monday to determine the extent of the injury. Football coach Russ Martin said late Monday morning he hadn’t heard a diagnosis, but was hoping for the best.

Kyle Duran, a redshirt freshman from Chandler, Ariz., is listed as the starter on this week’s depth chart for Saturday’s game at Montana State, with senior Jason Haferman his backup.

Montana State quarterback DeNarius McGhee separated a shoulder in the Bobcats’ 31-30 loss to Southern Methodist University on Saturday and is out until sometime next month.

On the air

The Mavericks’ football game at Montana State, ranked third in the Football Championship Subdivision, will be shown live on Altitude Sports. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Bozeman.

The drain works!

CMU Athletic Director Tom Spicer said Monday morning that the new drainage system installed at Walker Field when the turf was replaced passed its first test Sunday without a hitch. The women’s soccer game was halted at halftime because of rain and lightning, but once the storm passed, the field was ready to resume play.


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