By: Con Marshall
CSC Sports Information
Powered by exceptional defense, the Regis Rangers ended Chadron State’s volleyball season Tuesday night by sweeping past the Eagles during the first round of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s playoffs in Denver. The scores were 25-13, 25-19, 25-18.
With 6-foot-5 Amelia Davis and 6-2 Natalie Burbrink stationed up front as middle hitters for Regis, the Eagles had trouble operating their offense. Both of the rangy Rangers were credited with seven blocks, and they also combined for 19 kills, just one shy of Chadron State’s total.
All told, Regis had 39 kills and 14 attack errors in 87 hits for a .287 percentage. The Eagles actually had 10 more attacks than the Rangers, but only 20 of them netted points while 25 of them went into the error column. That means CSC had a minus .052 attack figure.
Burbrink, a graduate student from Germany, had 11 kills and no hitting errors in 19 swats for a .579 percentage, to go with her seven assisted blocks. Davis had eight kills and a .313 hitting figure, and was credited with the match’s only solo block along with six assisted stops.
The Rangers, ranked No. 11 nationally entering the playoffs, also got lots of productivity from another grad student, 5-9 Mara LeGrand, a native of Omaha. She’s the team’s setter and handed out 30 assists and also came up with 12 digs, both match-high numbers, to go with six assisted blocks.
Junior Aiyana Fujiyama, a native of Hawaii, paced the Eagles with seven kills and five assisted blocks. Freshman Kally Kirkwood added three blocks. Libero Alondra Hernandez had the team-high eight digs.
Although the Eagles’ season has ended, it was a good one in many ways. Their 15 total victories are the most in 20 years and this was the first time the team has qualified for the RMAC playoffs since 2003. In addition, their 8-6 regular-season conference record is the first with more wins than losses since 2002.
Regis is now 21-6 overall and 12-2 in the RMAC. The Rangers will meet Colorado Mesa in the playoff semifinals on Friday after the Mavericks defeated Colorado Christian 25-21, 25-23, 25-23 Tuesday night.
On the other side of the bracket, top-seeded Metro State swept Westminster 25-17, 25-23 25-12, and South Dakota Mines in five sets downed CSU-Pueblo 25-23, 13-25, 32-30, 15-25, 15-12.
The Metro Roadrunners, who are seventh in the latest NCAA II rankings after ending the regular season with a 21-5 record, including a 13-1 RMAC log, will host the remainder of the playoffs, which will conclude Saturday with the championship match.