Every time the Fort Lewis College volleyball team mounted a strong attack offensively, Colorado School of Mines had an answer.
As FLC head coach Shelly Aaland put it: They dug, and then they blocked, and then they dug again.
For a Skyhawk attack that lacked injured senior setter Adriana Saiz, the Orediggers defensive effort was just too much to overcome. Colorado Mines swept Fort Lewis 25-15, 25-14, 25-16 on Friday night at Whalen Gymnasium.
It was an uphill battle all night for FLC (12-7, 6-5 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference), which mustered just a .110 attack percentage. The offense remains a work in progress as freshman setter Hali Groninger tries to establish herself in the lineup.
Aaland was quick to credit Mines for being disruptive defensively.
Were still working to get everything going, but we have to give a ton of credit to Mines, Aaland said. Thats a very good team.
It was a rough night for the Skyhawks, who were tied numerous times but never led in any of the three sets. Mines head coach Jamie Skadeland was quick to credit her blocking for taking away a good chunk of the floor from the FLC outside hitters.
The Orediggers finished with 54 digs and 14 blocks in the sweep.
Our blocking always makes our back row a little bit easier for us, Skadeland said. If we can take away some of the court, its that much less of a court for our back row to have.
The Skyhawks looked poised to rebound during the third set, but a 13-2 run turned a 6-5 FLC lead into an 18-7 deficit before Colorado Mines put the game away.
Offensively, the Orediggers (15-5, 8-3 RMAC) managed a sterling .415 attack percentage. They were led by Elizabeth Serra-Hsu with 14 kills and Melanie Wannamaker with 10.
Skadeland said Serra-Hsu has been the offensive focal point for most of her four years with the squad, then added the senior outside hitter has bought in to the more balanced attack the team has shifted toward in recent years.
Liz has been our go-to for the last four years, Skadeland said.
With No. 9 Nebraska-Kearney stepping into Whalen Gym at 6 p.m. today during homecoming weekend, Fort Lewis doesnt have much time to turn things around.
Aaland chose to focus on the Skyhawks serving, which arguably was their expertise Friday.
We did a better job of getting them out of their offense (serving) than they did us, she said.
Aaland implored her team to look beyond the score in order to keep a positive mindset heading into tonights match with the leagues best team.
We can compete better against teams like that, that run such a different offense and different defense than we typically see, then were getting better, she said.