Kasie Gilfert is usually on the receiving end of assists.
Saturday night, she wasn't exactly serving up dimes, but she added to her season total when she set a perfect, high ball to Ashton Reese in the third set of the Colorado Mesa volleyball team's 26-24, 25-14, 25-23 sweep of CU-Colorado Springs at Brownson Arena.
The set to Reese gave the Mavericks a 19-17 lead and the All-American middle blocker five assists this season. It came after a rare appearance by Gilfert at the service line.
"Crazy," Gilfert said with a smile after the match. "It was mostly for the subs and just trying something different after that first game was a little closer than we wanted. We kind of mixed things up a little bit."
The Mavs (16-9, 12-5 RMAC) switched a few things up to spark the offense and manage their substitutions. With a 6-2 offense, most of the Mavs' subs are taken up by setters Ara Norwood and Sam Ritter rotating in and out, along with another front-row player, which keeps three blockers on the front row.
Plus, the Mavericks came out a little sluggish early and had to rally past the Mountain Lions (10-15, 8-9), who were eliminated from RMAC tournament contention with the loss.
"Kasie has a good serve, she had to serve in Missouri when Camille (Smith) was hurt, so it's nice that they both can do it," CMU coach Dave Fleming said.
"She had that nice assist and a dig. Like we say, she's on the depth chart (as a backup setter). We were happy with Maranda's (Theleus) serve last night and Kasie's tonight. That's the nice thing about our team, we're pretty deep."
On the final point of the first set, Fleming had both setters on the floor, sending Norwood in for her turn to serve and keeping Ritter on the floor in the front row.
And in the second set, on Mesa's third service rotation, Gilfert stepped to the line, winning one point before her second serve went into the net.
"I served one game at the beginning of this season, literally just one time," she said. "Normally I don't because of my shoulder injury. It was a little weird, I was kind of scared, but yeah (just get it over the net)."
She also recorded one dig.
"I think playing beach (two years ago) really helped me with my back-row skills," she said. "Being solid and making sure I'm ready for any ball that comes my way. That was my biggest thing, making sure I was relaxed."
Neither team served particularly well, but with Reese once again helping to control the right side of the floor on both offense and defense — she led the Mavs with 12 kills, one more than Gilfert — it opened up both the middle and the left side.
Holly Schmidt had eight kills and one of three solo blocks, with Smith getting two stuff blocks to go with her seven kills.
After Friday's physically and emotionally draining five-set loss to Colorado Mines, it was vital for the Mavericks to rebound. Although it took while, they caught their second wind in the second set.
The Mountain Lions hit .500 in the first set, but had no success in the second, with seven kills and seven hitting errors, finishing with match with a .212 percentage.
Conversely, the Mavericks' attack was outstanding in the first two sets, hitting well over .400. It slipped to .160 in the third, but they still hit .309 for the match.
"Last night was a really tough game for us emotionally," Gilfert said of the five-set loss to Mines. "Physically it was really long, so coming back and doing it in three and sweeping was really good on our half. It showed we have that commitment and drive to keep pushing when it gets hard."
With one match left in the regular season, the Mavericks have to beat Western Colorado at Brownson on Friday and hope UCCS can upset Colorado Mines in the Mountain Lions' home finale to host a first-round match in the RMAC tournament. If not, they'll likely head to Golden for the first round on Nov. 19.
"Being an athlete at Colorado Mesa means you have to be a road warrior," Fleming said. "We won the RMAC (tournament) last year on the road and this team still believes it can compete with anybody in the RMAC. That's all right, if we have to go back to Mines and play them on their home court, so be it."