Mountain Lions equal last year's win mark
GUNNISON, Colo. - The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs volleyball team equaled its win total for all of 2003 when the Mountain Lions defeated St. Joseph's 3-2 (29-31, 30-23, 31-29, 30-32, 15-9) at the Comfort Inn Invitational Friday night.
CU-Colorado Springs is now 5-1 this season, a remarkable record considering the team's 5-25 record a year ago. New coach Jessica Wood has now led the team to its best start since 2000, when the Mountain Lions began the season 8-0. Ironically, assistant coach Stephanie Shalosky was the setter on the 2000 Mountain Lions and set the school mark for assists with 1,486. A.J. Joseph is Woodâ€TMs other assistant coach.
CU-Colorado Springs started Friday night's match slower than this season's fans have become accustomed to seeing. After the score reached 1-5 in St. Joseph's favor, the Mountain Lions finally woke up and started playing.
The Mountain Lions got a major spark from freshman Andrea Weedman and sophomore Caroline Ottino when they combined for four consecutive kills to bring the score to 5-5.
Then junior Lindsey Hillegass started dumping the ball, taking the St. Joseph's defense by surprise.
With the Pumas leading 29-28, CU-Colorado Springs pulled a save out of what seemed like a broken play. That was quickly followed a net violation by St. Joseph's on their return. St. Joseph's, however, rebounded from the violation and got two lightning fast points to give CU-Colorado Springs its first game lost in the tournament.
Hillegass dumped the ball to begin the second game. Soon after, Weedman planted a kill right off the face a St. Joseph's defender. From there, the Mountain Lions cruised to a 30-23 win to even the match.
St. Joseph's took an early 4-0 lead in Game 3. Sophomore Kelly Angel outwitted the St. Joseph's defense when she fake a power spike then quickly tipped the ball over the block to get CU-Colorado Springs its first point in game three.
After the Mountain Lions slipped to a 21-14 deficit, they turned on the pressure and reeled off five straight points. That rally proved temporarily fruitless as the Pumas had five-point rally to tale a 25-19 lead.
The Mountain Lions kept their composure and started a second comeback with an ace from freshman Laura Meeter. That started a chain of events that fell in CU-Colorado Springs' favor. The first was a ferocious block from Ottino, followed by a thunderous kill, courtesy of sophomore Jill Wrenn.
With the Mountain Lions' offense coming at them so fast and furious, St. Joseph's seemed to get flustered and were called for a rotation penalty which gave CU-Colorado Springs a 29-28 lead.
Weedman put the finishing touches on the Game 3 comeback with a stylish kill, which went sailing through the block.
As they had in each of the first three games, the Mountain Lions started slowly in Game 4, falling quickly behind 4-1. Wrenn, though, answered with three straight kills.
Wrenn wasn't done. She scored four of the next nine points for CU-Colorado Springs.
Even with Wrenn blasting kills from virtually everywhere on the court, CU-Colorado Springs still found itself trailing 25-22. That seemed to be the cue for Ottino, who wailed a kill directly off the face of a St. Joseph defender.
Coming back once more, CU-Colorado Springs fought off a 30-29 deficit when Wrenn glided a kill to the floor to tie the score.
Her effort was wasted when the Mountain Lions hit a ball out and mishandled a serve to give St. Joseph's the fourth game and tie the match at two games apiece.
Since the match was tied, a tiebreaker game would be played, but the only two differences between a tiebreaker game and a regular game, is that the teams only play to 15 and they switch sides after the first team reaches eight points.
CU-Colorado Springs started the way they had all match, by letting St. Joseph's take a 2-4 lead.
Facing an 8-5 deficit, CU-Colorado Springs displayed poise rather than panic and rallied, outscoring the Pumas 7-1 the rest of the way to win the match.
Wrenn led CU-Colorado Springs with 21 kills, while Weedman had 17, Angel had 14 and Ottino added 12. Freshman Laura Meeter led the defense with a match-high 26 digs, while senior Kelly Olson and Weedman each had 16.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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