Mountain Lions Learn to Play New Positons

By Mike McNeely published September 6, 2003

For a second straight weekend, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs volleyball team won one and lost three games at tournament. At the Quality Inn Thunderwolf Classic in Pueblo, CU-Colorado Springs defeated Abilene Christian and lost to Texas A&M Commerce, Incarnate Word, and Central Oklahoma.

One win might not sound like much, but when you consider that the Mountain Lions had three players playing brand new positions, it is.

After losing starting middle blocker Desiree Myhre for the remainder of the season, coach Tara Miller was forced to reshuffle her lineup. Miller moved outside hitter Kelly Olson to the middle, Kristen Denman from the right-side to the outside, and freshman Jill Wrenn, who Miller had planned to redshirt, is now the team's starting right-side.

The team got one practice in with its new frontline before opening the tournament against Texas A&M Commerce Friday morning.

"I think we were a little freaked out in the first match because of all the changes," said Miller. "We handled the positional changes well, we were just so focused on doing that, that all the little thing we've been working on all pre-season kind of got away from us."

The Mountain Lions also let two leads in the first two games get away from them.

CU-Colorado Springs had a 16-11 lead in Game 1 before losing 30-25, and a 17-12 lead in Game 2 before losing 30-26. Commerce cruised to a 30-21 win Game 3. Commerce was led by a dominating pair of senior Division I transfers. Chante Weathers, who transferred from Long Beach State, had a match-high 21 kills and Amy Wallace, who played at Baylor, had a triple-double with 16 kills, 14 digs and 11 assists.

"We just played too inconsistent to beat a good team like that," said Miller.

The consistency Miller was looking for in the opener arrived in the second match of the day against Abliene Christian.

The Mountain Lions beat the Wildcats in three games, 30-26, 30-24, 30-25. Denman and Linnlee Hansen paced the Mountain Lions with 14 kills apiece. CU-Colorado Springs hit a season-high .301 for the match.

"The difference between this match and every other match we've played in is that we pushed from zero to 30," said Miller. "That's by far the most consistent we've played all year."

On Saturday the Mountain Lions fell behind early in their opening match against Incarnate Word. CU-Colorado Springs trailed the Crusaders 15-5 and appeared to be headed for a sure loss in Game 1. The Mountain Lions scored 19 of the next 27 points to grab a 24-23, before going on to win 30-28. The momentum turned back into Incarnate Wordâ€TMs favor, as they Crusaders won the next three games to take the match.

CU-Colorado Springs dropped the first two games of the final match of the tournament against Central Oklahoma, 22-30, 26-30. The Mountain Lions came back to win the next two games to force a fifth game. Central Oklahoma dominated the decisive game 15-8.

"Considering everything we went through this week, I'm happy we came and played as a team, and I'm happy with the way we played," said Miller.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Kelly OlsonKelly Olson2OHSr.
Kelly OlsonKelly Olson2OHJr.
Kristen DenmanKristen Denman3OH/RSSo.
Kristen DenmanKristen Denman3OH/RS
Desiree MyhreDesiree Myhre9MB
Desiree MyhreDesiree Myhre9MB
Linnlee HansenLinnlee Hansen11OHSo.
Linnlee HansenLinnlee Hansen11OH
Jill WrennJill Wrenn5OH/RSFr.
Jill WrennJill Wrenn4RSSo.
Jill WrennJill Wrenn5RS
Jill WrennJill Wrenn5RS
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