UCCS strikes first in Steel and Silver

By Doug Fitzgerald published September 13, 2005

PUEBLO â€" The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs took the first two points of the newly announced Steel and Silver Series Tuesday thanks to a dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Colorado State-Pueblo Thunderwolves at Massari Arena.

And they have Sam to thank for it.

Allow me a moment to explain.

The Mountain Lions were outplayed in Games 1 and 2. The CSU-Pueblo block was where it needed to be, when it needed to be there. The UCCS block, on the other hand, was always a half a step late. In addition, Amber Jessenâ€TMs sets more frequently found her CSU-Pueblo attackers with their momentum going towards the net, allowing them to generate maximum power. Too often, UCCS attackers had no momentum â€" or even had to stop and reach backwards â€" to accelerate their arm swings.

“We came out and we werenâ€TMt in our rhythm,” said UCCS coach Jessica Wood. “We looked like we didnâ€TMt know where we were. Our block was having a hard time adjusting.”

So Wood called on Sam.

“Coach gave us an analogy that we were schizophrenic out there and we needed to pull our game together and be Sam and not George,” said Diane Sheldon, who shared the team lead with 19 kills. “So we decided to come out and be Sam.”

Wood saw that her 6-2 lineup was preventing the Mountain Lions (6-5, 3-0 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) from building continuity, so she sat down Jocelyn Evans in favor of Jessica Stewart.

“Thatâ€TMs the decision we made before Game 3,” said Wood. “We let Stewart set a 5-1 and let the girls get into a rhythm and she did an excellent job.”

It worked. UCCS took Game 3 30-26, then led Game 4 by as many as nine before cruising to a 30-23 win.

An Andrea Weedman kill gave the Mountain Lions a 10-8 lead in Game 5, but the Thunderwolves answered with three straight kills by taking advantage of the 5-foot-8 Stewartâ€TMs rotation to the front line. So Wood reinserted Evans, who at 6-foot-1 gave UCCS a more formidable block.

“Our setters are both very strong at different things,” said Sheldon. “Depending on what the game needs is whoâ€TMs going to be in.”

Evans responded immediately with a perfect set to Kelly Angel that tied the game. After a CSU-Pueblo point, Evans slammed down a pass from Lindsey Myers to tie the game again. Two good sets to Sheldon and another kill later and Evans had closed the door.

“(Evans) was amazing coming off the bench,” said Sheldon.

Weedman, like Sheldon, had 19 kills and added a team-high 26 digs. Middle blockers Caroline Ottino and Angel added 11 and 10 kills respectively while libero Laura Meeter had 25 digs. Stewart finished with 40 assists while Evans added 13.

Meagan Sater had a game-high 26 kills for CSU-Pueblo (6-5, 2-1 RMAC).

The win earned UCCS the first two points towards the Steel and Silver Series and the trophy that will go to the winning school. It also marked the volleyball team's fifth consecutive win.

Hereâ€TMs hoping Sam will be on the Mountain Lionsâ€TM side the rest of the way.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Caroline OttinoCaroline Ottino14MB
Caroline OttinoCaroline Ottino8MBFr.
Caroline OttinoCaroline Ottino13MDSo.
Caroline OttinoCaroline Ottino13MB
Caroline OttinoCaroline Ottino13MB
Andrea WeedmanAndrea Weedman9OHFr.
Andrea WeedmanAndrea Weedman9OH/DSSr.
Andrea WeedmanAndrea Weedman9OH/DSSr.
Andrea WeedmanAndrea Weedman9OH/DSSr.
Laura MeeterLaura Meeter6S/LFr.
Laura MeeterLaura Meeter6S/LFr.
Laura MeeterLaura Meeter6S/LFr.
Laura MeeterLaura Meeter6S/LFr.
Diane SheldonDiane Sheldon11OH/RSSr.
Diane SheldonDiane Sheldon11OH/RSSr.
Diane SheldonDiane Sheldon11OH/RSSr.
Jocelyn EvansJocelyn Evans2S
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
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November 2, 2005Another record crowd witnesses lossBehind 17 kills each by Samantha Connelly and Holly Swanson, the Colorado State-Pueblo Thunderwolves grabbed two points in the Steel and Silver Series with a 3-2 (24-30, 30-23, 31-29, 28-30, 15-4) victory over the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Wednesday before a UCCS-record 402 fans at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
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