Ottino leads UCCS volleyball to second straight win

By Doug Fitzgerald published September 22, 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS â€" Caroline Ottino had 12 kills and hit .579 as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs volleyball team defeated the Colorado Christian Cougars 3-0 (30-17, 30-19, 30-21) Friday evening at the Lionsâ€TM Den.

The Mountain Lions (6-9, 3-4 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) trailed 2-0 and 3-1 to start Game 3 but otherwise led throughout.

Diane Sheldon and Brooke Akers each added eight kills for UCCS, which has won two straight since a potentially devastating loss to Regis on Sept. 12. The Regis loss was the type of match that could prove to be a watershed event where a team either collapses or finds itself.

For the Mountain Lions itâ€TMs so far, so good.

“We had been struggling with a focus factor,” said Ottino. “Weâ€TMd been starting off kind of slow and then slowing again at the end.”

So coach Jessica Wood and her team actually put a real emphasis on an old sports cliché â€" they took it a point at a time

“What weâ€TMve really been working on is playing from point zero to 30 without having any lapses,” said Ottino. “We had a good week of practice and that carried over.”

One of the primary results of that renewed focus came in the teamâ€TMs passing, which had been a sore point so far this season. UCCS passed a 2.5 by the count of assistant coaches Stephanie Shalosky and Jeremy Sands. What that meant was that setter Jessica Stewart had and average of 2.5 setting options per pass. A perfect score would have been 3.0

“We passed really well,” said Ottino. “We had options the whole night which made it easy for (Stewart) to mix it around and leave us with one-on-one blocks.”

Stewart took advantage, registering 33 assists.

Meredith Hawryluk led Colorado Christian (4-11, 1-5 RMAC) with six kills.

The Cougars erased an early Game 1 lead to creep to within two at 15-13 when Brooke Akers served a 9-0 UCCS run. Colorado Christian committed six of their 15 Game 1 hitting errors during the stretch and hit a miserable -.314 for the game. UCCS, meanwhile, got a rare game win while also hitting in the red (-.057).

The Mountain Lionsâ€TM erratic hitting didnâ€TMt carry over into Game 2, though, as UCCS hit .282. Ottino and Sheldon each had four kills as the Mountain Lions raced to a 9-3 lead and were never seriously threatened.

Ottino had five kills and Akers four in Game 3 as UCCS put together a 7-1 run to break open what had been a tight 19-15 affair.

The Mountain Lions will face Metro State Saturday at the Lionsâ€TM Den. While the Roadrunners have won 20 of the 22 all-time meetings between the schools, donâ€TMt expect the Mountain Lions to be wide-eyed.

“Weâ€TMre trying not to focus too much on the other team,” said Ottino. “In most of our losses, weâ€TMve felt like weâ€TMve been beating ourselves. Weâ€TMre just trying to stay focused on whatâ€TMs going on on our side.â€

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Caroline OttinoCaroline Ottino14MB
Caroline OttinoCaroline Ottino8MBFr.
Caroline OttinoCaroline Ottino13MDSo.
Caroline OttinoCaroline Ottino13MB
Caroline OttinoCaroline Ottino13MB
Diane SheldonDiane Sheldon11OH/RSSr.
Diane SheldonDiane Sheldon11OH/RSSr.
Diane SheldonDiane Sheldon11OH/RSSr.
Marie OttinoMarie Ottino3OH
Marie OttinoMarie Ottino3OH
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
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