Mountain Lions top Regis in RMAC opener

By Doug Fitzgerald published September 4, 2007

COLORADO SPRINGS -- To open the 2007 season, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs volleyball team did something it had never done by beating a nationally-ranked opponent. Tuesday night at the Lions' Den, the Mountain Lions did something almost as rare; they beat Regis.

Brooke Akers had 14 kills and Diane Sheldon added 12 more as the Mountain Lions topped the Rangers 3-0 (30-28, 30-28, 30-24) in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

It was only UCCS' third win over Regis in 24 meetings.

The Mountain Lions overcame deficits of six points in Game 2 and four points in Game 3 to win their third match in 10 tries this season. Six of UCCS' first nine opponents were nationally ranked.

"I think we're a lot stronger team than we show at the beginning (of games)," said Sheldon about the comebacks. "I don't know if it's a lack of focus or we're just kind of nervous when we step on the court."

UCCS also benefited from a strong net game with nine blocks. Sophomore Cassey Santucci came off the bench to participate in six of them. Senior outside hitter Stephanie Laband added five assisted blocks.

"Credit our outside blockers for setting a good block for both myself and (Akers)," said Santucci. "They got the majority of the touches."

The Mountain Lions opened Game 1 with a 5-1 lead, but the young Rangers worked their way back, establishing a 22-20 lead with a 7-1 run highlighted by two Jessica Howe kills. UCCS answered with a four-point rally to regain the advantage. Andrea Weedman had two of the Mountain Lions' final three kills to grab a 30-28 win.

Regis raced to a 16-10 lead in the second game only to see UCCS rally to a 17-17 tie behind two Santucci assisted blocks -- one with Lauren Orth and the other with Laband. Jump-serving Hannah Tautolo helped the Rangers reel off five straight points, but UCCS answered with an 8-2 run that saw four different players notch kills. The score was tied again at 27 when Akers, Orth and Weedman each registered kills to put the game away.

The Mountain Lions again trailed in Game 3, this time 13-9, when Akers put down four consecutive kills to lead UCCS on a 5-1 run. With the score tied at 15, setter Jessica Stewart used a short serve to lead the Mountain Lions to a six-point advantage that they would not relinquish.

"Those spots of brilliance when we come back; that's how we should be playing all the time," said Sheldon. "That's what we're working for."

Meghan Meehan led Regis (2-7) with 11 kills, while Devin Eckhardt added 31 assists.

Cortney Weedman led the Mountain Lions with 23 assists, while Stewart added 16. Andrea Weedman had a team-high 11 digs and now has 1,467 for her career, just 11 behind Melissa Clark's UCCS record.

Sheldon believes that UCCS hasn't come near its potential this season.

"I think we can do better," said Sheldon. "I'm glad we won, but I can't wait until we start playing our game."

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Andrea WeedmanAndrea Weedman9OHFr.
Andrea WeedmanAndrea Weedman9OH/DSSr.
Andrea WeedmanAndrea Weedman9OH/DSSr.
Andrea WeedmanAndrea Weedman9OH/DSSr.
Diane SheldonDiane Sheldon11OH/RSSr.
Diane SheldonDiane Sheldon11OH/RSSr.
Diane SheldonDiane Sheldon11OH/RSSr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Stephanie LabandStephanie Laband15OH/RSSr.
Stephanie LabandStephanie Laband15OH/RSSr.
Stephanie LabandStephanie Laband15OH/RSSr.
Cortney WeedmanCortney Weedman14S
Cortney WeedmanCortney Weedman14S
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