The Colorado Mesa University volleyball team played sloppy enough to hand Fort Lewis College its first victory in almost a month Tuesday night.
But the Skyhawks played even worse.
Falling to the Mavericks in four sets with scores of 25-17, 25-21, 20-25 and 25-17, the Skyhawks achieved only a .098 hitting percentage over the match, including a .037 in the first set and a .000 in the final set. They had 29 total errors and 40 kills.
It looked like an early season match, Fort Lewis head coach Shelly Aaland said. The amount of errors we had on our side was just ridiculous.
Aaland said its tough to beat anyone with that kind of ugly performance, and even a struggling Mesa (11-16, 6-11 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) squad was no exception.
In the first set, the two squads traded points until about midway through, when Mesa pulled away for the win.
The tit-for-tat scoring continued into the second, but the teams traded places, and the Skyhawks were able to pull away late and hold onto their lead against an attempted late-set rally by the Mavericks.
It wasnt until the fourth that Fort Lewis (5-20, 2-15 RMAC) totally fell apart, the Mavericks going up 16-7 en route to their 25-17 set victory, aided in no small part by a Skyhawk squad that scored only seven kills and had an equal number of errors on 25 attack attempts.
The style of play for both squads throughout the four sets centered on rocket-powered spikes that shot out of bounds almost as often as they found the court or the opposing teams arms.
And with only a .180 hitting percentage and 26 total errors across the four sets for the Mavericks still double the Fort Lewis hitting percentage, although the Skyhawk aim proved more accurate than Mesas in both the second and third sets the theme for the night was sloppy play. The only real difference, Mesa head coach Dave Fleming said, came at the beginning of each point.
We just served a little bit tougher, he said.
The Mavericks sent nine service aces the Skyhawks way, compared to just one for Fort Lewis; it was enough to make the difference in the error-laden match.
Aside from the serving, Aaland blamed the loss on a lapse uncharacteristic of her struggling young squad.
We just didnt have the mental capacity (Tuesday night) to get it done, Aaland said.
For a group of girls that has stayed tough and competetive in the face of better, more experienced squads all season, Aaland said the step backward was disappointing.
The only bright point Tuesday, she said, was Gladymar Echeverria, whom Aaland said played her best match of the season.
Echeverria didnt lead the Skyhawks in kills, but amid a sea of sloppiness, she said she had hoped her .833 hitting percentage on five kills and zero errors might be a buoying life raft for the other girls.
I think I felt inside that I really wanted to put the ball down and fire it up for them, Echevarria said.
Why didnt it work?
I just thought we did not play our game, and we lacked the heart we usually have and the fire we needed to win, she said.
Echeverrias five kills put her fourth in scoring for the Skyhawks behind Ashley Wells 14, Jessica Wilsons 10 and Stephani Sonkas six. Wells had the highest hitting percentage of those top three at just .118.
Haleigh Higgins and Rebecca Sellers led Mesas wild offense, putting down 15 kills apiece against the Fort Lewis defense, which totalled 43 digs, including 13 from libero Hannah Starbuck, nine from Wells and eight from Wilson.
FLC will play its final game of the season against Adams State in one last conference match at 7 p.m. Friday at Whalen Gym.