Grizzlies picked to win West
Rifiilato, Davis tabbed with Preseason Awards
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— After sharing the title last season, the Adams State University volleyball team has been picked to win the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s West Division in 2012, according to the RMAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, released Tuesday by conference officials.
Additionally, Grizzly junior setter Gabriella Rifilato (Bayfield, Colo.) was named as the RMAC Preseason Setter of the Year while senior outside hitter Dominique Davis (Denver, Colo.) was one of seven players selected to the preseason all-conference team. Those awards were announced in conjunction with the poll.
The Grizzlies, who finished 19-9 overall and 12-6 in RMAC play in 2011, return six starters to this year’s squad, the eighth under coach Lindy Mortensen.
The Grizzlies received 61 total points in the polling of the conference’s 14 head coaches, who each ranked the opposition 1-13 without voting for their own squad. That total, was good for fourth place overall and tops in the West Division.
Metro State claimed the top spot in the poll and in the East Division by a narrow margin as the Roadrunners received seven first place votes and 20 total points. Colorado Mines was picked second overall and in the East Division with 21 points. The Orediggers also received seven first place votes and lay claim to RMAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Jackie Stabell, a 6-foot senior outside hitter, and Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Hannah Margheim, a 5-foot-9 junior defensive specialist and libero.
Regis was tabbed third overall and in the East Division with 42 points while Western New Mexico, which shared the RMAC West crown in 2011, was edged out by the Grizzlies with 66 points.
East Division squads Colorado Christian and UC-Colorado Springs were tabbed sixth and seventh overall with 77 and 78 points, respectively. Meanwhile, Colorado Mesa and Colorado State-Pueblo finished eighth and ninth overall and third and fourth amongst the West Division squads with 95 and 98 points, respectively.
Fort Lewis (125 points), Western State (128) and New Mexico Highlands (140) round out the West Division contingent and hold the tenth, 11th and 12th spots overall while Chadron State finished 13th in the poll and sixth amongst East Division squads with 158 points. RMAC newcomer Black Hills State was tabbed 14th in the poll with 160 points.
Rifilato, averaged 10.13 assists per set in 2011, the third best mark in the RMAC, and led the conference in service aces with her 0.42 per set average in her first season as a Grizzly after transferring from North Idaho College, where she played as a freshman in 2010. The Bayfield High School product was named as the RMAC Setter of the Week on Oct. 3, 2011 and will be joined on this year’s squad by her sister Katherine, one of six new freshmen on the 2012 squad.
She had 1033 total assists in 2011, the most since Grizzly record-setting setter Mary McNeil doled out 1,273 as a freshman in 2007. Her 43 total service aces were the third most for any Grizzly in a single season during the NCAA Division II era (1992-Present).
Davis, a 5-foot-11 Denver East High School product, tallied 366 kills to go along with 182 digs and 36 blocks en-route to Second Team All-RMAC honors in 2011. Her 3.59 kill and 3.90 point per set averages were the fourth best in the RMAC last season, which was capped by a RMAC All-Tournament team selection as the Grizzlies advanced to the RMAC Tournament semifinals for the third time in the last five seasons in 2011.
In other news, the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II Coaches Top 25 Poll was also released on Tuesday and includes three teams on the Grizzlies’ 2012 schedule.
After playing against some of the best former Grizzlies in the fifth annual Alumni Match at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25, the Grizzlies will begin the regular season on Aug. 31 at No. 9 West Texas A&M, the Grizzlies first of four matches at the Lady Buff Classic in Canyon, Texas.
The Grizzlies also will play No. 13 Metro State on Oct. 13 in Plachy Hall and at Colorado Mines, tied for the 25th in the AVCA Poll on Oct. 6 in Golden.