Regular season champs stumble in RMAC tourney play

The Colorado School of Mines volleyball team entered the week ranked sixteenth in the nation and were prepared to make a run at the RMAC tournament championship. After a win in Tuesday’s opening round over Fort Lewis, Mines’s hopes of capturing both regular season and postseason titles came to an end against Adams State, but the lady Orediggers are still in good shape to make the NCAA Championships as the top eight in each region make the tourney. Mines was ranked No.2 in this week’s regional ranking.

In Tuesday’s quarterfinal matchup against Fort Lewis, the Orediggers controlled the match and wound up with the 3-0 victory. In the first set, Mines took the early lead 7-1 and led comfortably for the remainder of the match, grabbing the 25-12 first set victory. The second set was much the same, as Mines captured four straight points with the match tied at eight apiece, and rolled to the 25-16 set victory. The third and final set was the closest as the three, as Fort Lewis tried to hang on in the match. Fort Lewis led late 20-18 after the two teams traded points for the early portion of the set, but Mines took the next four points and seven of the final eight to grab the 25-21 final set victory.

Leading the way for the Orediggers were senior Melanie Wannamaker and freshman Alanna Winfield who both recorded 12 kills. Wannamaker recorded her 12 on a .571 hitting percentage and added four blocks, and Winfield on a .346 hitting percentage to go with three blocks. Sophomore Danielle Johnson-Hazlewood tallied 41 assists and 14 digs, freshman Abby Reuland chipped in five kills, two blocks, and seven digs, and junior Sarah Pekarek added 10 kills, one ace, one block, and six digs. Junior Cassie Vick added 13 digs, senior Hannah Margheim added five digs, freshman Taryn Huber had seven digs, and freshman Samantha Fischer recorded eight blocks.
Friday night’s semifinal matchup between Mines and Adams State did not go as planned as the visiting team knocked out the host 3-1. The loss dropped Mines to 24-6 on the year.

The Lady Orediggers captured the first set 22-25 in a hotly contested affair, coming back from down three at 20-17. The second set was another close affair, but Adams State pulled out the 25-21 victory after leading for most of the match. The third set was back and forth as both teams struggled to take a lead. With the set tied 16-16, Adams State won the next three points and gained enough of a cushion to grab the 25-20 win and two sets to one advantage. The Orediggers won the first three points of the fourth set, but soon fell behind 15-10. Mines fought back from their deficit to take the 17-16 lead, but their lead ended up short lived as Adams state captured the final set of the night 25-20. The loss was tough for the Orediggers who had beaten Adams State earlier in the regular season. As a team, Mines recorded 10 service errors and had an overall hitting percentage of .212. Wannamaker led the team with 17 kills and added three digs, while Winfield and Pekarek both contributed 16 kills. Winfield added four digs and two blocks, and Pekarek recorded eight digs and three aces. Johnson-Hazlewood recorded 52 assists and 10 digs, Corrine Din contributed 11 digs and Margheim tallied 15 digs.

With their win, Adams State moved to the finals to take on Metro State on Saturday night at Mines, and Metro walked away with the victory winning three sets to none.

The Orediggers will learn their NCAA postseason fate on Monday during the Division II Volleyball tournament selection show, starting at 5:30 pm.

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