No. 10 Hillsdale tops UCCS

By Doug Fitzgerald published August 25, 2007

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Brooke Akers had nine kills but the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs lost its third straight match -- all to nationally ranked opponents -- falling 3-0 (30-16, 30-20, 30-20) to the No. 10 Hillsdale Chargers Saturday evening at Florida Southern College.

The Mountain Lions are now 1-3 on the season having beaten No. 23 Western Washington before falling to NAIA No. 3 California Baptist, No. 1 Tampa and Hillsdale.

Hillsdale was every bit what you would expect from a nationally ranked team, albeit a different style of team from UCCS' previous three opponents.

"They weren't as powerful as the others," said UCCS sophomore Cassey Santucci, who had seven kills, "but they made up for it by being very fundamentally sound. They were in good places; they were picking up our shots."

Indeed, the Mountain Lions have seen a variety of styles over the past two days. Western Washington was a big-blocking team in the mold of Nebraska-Kearney. California Baptist was very, very powerful on both the serve and the attack, but was vulnerable defensively. Tampa was a bit of all three with strong service, offense and defense.

"This will help us when we get into conference matches," said setter Jessica Stewart on Friday. Every player asked after Saturday's matches echoed that sentiment.

Colorado Springs native Kitt Smith led Hillsdale (3-1) with 14 kills.

Diane Sheldon added eight kills for UCCS.

After having endured two weeks of two- and three-a-day practices and two matches on each of their two days in Tampa so far, the Mountain Lions will take a much-deserved day off Sunday before facing Eckerd on Monday.

"We're tired. It's going to be good to take some time off," said Santucci. "We definitely need some time to regroup and get refocused.

"We're heading to the beach. We are spending a lot of time together as a team doing anything but volleyball; being a team outside of the court."

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Diane SheldonDiane Sheldon11OH/RSSr.
Diane SheldonDiane Sheldon11OH/RSSr.
Diane SheldonDiane Sheldon11OH/RSSr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Cassey SantucciCassey Santucci12MB/OHSo.
Cassey SantucciCassey Santucci12MB/OHSo.
Cassey SantucciCassey Santucci12MB/OHSo.
Cassey SantucciCassey Santucci12MB/OHSo.
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