Tournament preview: Aircraft hopefully provides good omen

By Doug Fitzgerald published August 23, 2007

While loading onto the plane that would take the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs volleyball team to Tampa on Thursday, senior Stacy Laband made an observation.

"Hey, we're on the Mountain Lion plane," she shouted. "That's a good omen."

She then nodded at me confidently and took her seat.

The team was flying on Frontier Airlines, which has the slogan "we're a whole different animal." As a part of that campaign, the airline paints different animals on the tails of each of its aircraft. Sure enough, the Mountain Lions volleyball team was being taken to its season-opening tournament on the plane adorned with Lola and Max, the airline's Mountain Lion and cub.

For certain it was a nice bit of serendipity. Whether Laband is correct about the omen will be determined.

UCCS, though, will be happy to take any additional help it can get. The Mountain Lions open the season against Western Washington, which is ranked No. 23 in the NCAA Division II preseason poll, at noon on Friday. That evening, UCCS will face on California Baptist, which is not only ranked No. 3 in the NAIA preseason poll, but also beat defending Division II national champion Tampa Thursday evening.

Saturday, the Mountain Lions face the aforementioned Tampa Spartans, who along with their national title a year ago, are currently ranked No. 1 in the Division II poll. That evening, UCCS takes on No. 10 Hillsdale.

That, to say the least, is a tough way to open the season.

"We did that on purpose," said UCCS coach Jessica Wood in an interview last week. "To be the best you have to see the best. We're perfectly capable of playing at that level."

If there is extra pressure, the team certainly didn't show it. Senior Diane Sheldon made a game of taking pictures of members of the traveling party during the flight. She would tell them an animal to impersonate and then snap the photo. I was told to be a cat. I hope that picture never gets into circulation.

After dinner Thursday night, the Mountain Lions were able to catch most of California Baptist's win over host Tampa. Afterwards, they got in a short practice in preparation of Friday's matches. After weeks of two-a-days, UCCS is just glad to be on the eve of real competition.

And the omen doesn't hurt, either.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Diane SheldonDiane Sheldon11OH/RSSr.
Diane SheldonDiane Sheldon11OH/RSSr.
Diane SheldonDiane Sheldon11OH/RSSr.
Stephanie LabandStephanie Laband15OH/RSSr.
Stephanie LabandStephanie Laband15OH/RSSr.
Stephanie LabandStephanie Laband15OH/RSSr.
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