Metro State tops Mountain Lions
DENVER - The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs had hopes of ending 10 years of Metro State domination Thursday night. After the Roadrunners' 3-0 (30-24, 30-23, 30-23) win at the Auraria Events Center, the Mountain Lions must reserve that hope until year 11.
Or perhaps until the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference playoffs.
Despite the loss, CU-Colorado Springs is 10-7, 5-4 in the RMAC. That record has gotten the Mountain Lions thinking something that seemed impossible the over past two years when the team won a combined 10 matches. It's got them thinking about qualifying for the RMAC playoffs.
Coming into Thursday night's match, Metro State (8-10, 5-4 RMAC) had beaten CU-Colorado Springs 19 times in 20 meetings. The only time the Mountain Lions won in the series, they weren't called the Mountain Lions - they were the Gold. That was on September 28, 1994, or 10 years and 10 days ago.
With the Roadrunners entering the match sporting a very un-Metro-State-like 7-10 record, Thursday looked to be a golden opportunity to avenge a decade of frustration.
"They are a good team. They've been in the top four in the country for the past four years," said fifth-year senior Kelly Olson, who has faced Metro State more times than any other Mountain Lion. "We wanted to come in and win, especially this year."
That decade of futility, though, weighed heavily on CU-Colorado Springs from the outset. Aided by a couple of Mountain Lions miscues - including a rotation error - Metro State raced to a 9-3 lead. CU-Colorado Springs closed the gap with a six-point rally that made the score 27-23, but could not maintain the momentum and lost Game 1 30-24.
"Metro came out today and played well," said Olson, who had four kills. "They scouted us and knew where we hit and they were ready for us.
"We came out a little low, which was disappointing."
The Mountain Lions were much more effective early in Game 2, a seesaw affair that CU-Colorado Springs rode to a 22-all tie. Metro State, though, put down a pair of service aces and the Mountain Lions helped with a net violation and an overpass to give the Roadrunners eight of the final nine points and a two-game advantage.
A Wrenn kill gave the Mountain Lions their biggest lead of the match at 11-8 in Game 3, giving them hope that they might do something no CU-Colorado Springs team had done since 1999 - win a game against Metro State. The Roadrunners erased that hope by going on a 12-5 run, then cruising to a 30-23 win.
"I think they were ready to go tonight and we were not," said Kelley Angel, who had nine kills and a team-high .333 hitting percentage. "It's always disappointing to lose, but it's really disappointing to lose when you know you should have won."
Jill Wrenn and Caroline Ottino led CU-Colorado Springs with 10 kills each, while Andrea Weedman paced the defense with 15 digs. Setter Lindsey Hillegass was her usual steady self with 32 assists.
Sheena McLaughlin had a match-high 16 kills for Metro State, while Julie Green added 15.
"It's one thing to lose when you know you played as good as you can, but we can't honestly say we did that tonight," said Angel.
The Mountain Lions can only hope they will if they meet Metro State again in the playoffs.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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