Cal Baptist serves UCCS a loss
TAMPA -- University of Colorado at Colorado Springs assistant athletic director A.J. Joseph made an observation prior to Friday night's match against the NAIA No. 3-ranked California Baptist Lancers.
"This is probably the toughest serving team we'll face all season," said Joseph, who has many years of experience as a volleyball coach and official.
He was right. Behind a wicked service game, California Baptist defeated the Mountain Lions 3-0 (30-17, 30-23, 30-25) at the 2007 Tampa Invitational.
Nearly every member of the Lancers' starting lineup employed an intimidating jump serve. Aside from the nine service aces, California Baptist's serves kept UCCS constantly on the defensive and often prevented the Mountain Lions from mounting anything resembling an effective offense.
"We had to try to adjust as fast as we could," said senior Andrea Weedman, who is playing libero for the first time this season. "We expect California teams to jump serve. We don't see that much. I've seen only one player in the RMAC with a topspin jump serve."
But it's not just the service game that has California Baptist coach Ryan McGuyre looking at a legitimate shot at an NAIA national championship. The Lancers have a roster full of all-American candidates, most of whom are, ironically, not Americans. Verania and Angela Willis, who accounted for 17 and 12 kills respectively, are from Costa Rica. They also have Shi Fei (nine kills) from China and Yudelka Bonilla from the Dominican Republic.
California Baptist (2-0) does have a number of American kids on the roster, 13 to be exact, which at least guarantees the sideline cheers are in English.
"They were a very strong team," said Weedman, who registered a team-high seven digs. "They had older players -- two of them in particular (the Willis sisters) -- who have been playing for a long time. Those two were just huge."
So good are the Lancers that they scored a convincing 3-1 win over Tampa, which is ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division II, Thursday evening.
Stephanie Laband led UCCS (1-1) with eight kills, while Lauren Orth added seven and Diane Sheldon and Heidi Fehringer had five each. While those numbers aren't overwhelming, the Mountain Lions were actually remarkably effective when they were able to play in system. As a team, UCCS hit a solid .338
"They used a pinch-in block which allowed us to spread the offense," said setter Jessica Stewart, who had a team-high 16 assists. "The beat us, but we did well executing certain things."
Unfortunately, California Baptist hit a mind-boggling .469.
The Mountain Lions will play two more matches Saturday, taking on No. 1 Tampa at 1 p.m. and No. 10 Hillsdale at 7 p.m.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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