UCCS sets home win mark
COLORADO SPRINGS -- Dorothy clicked her heels three times and said, "there's no place like home."
The Mountain Lions couldn't agree more. And after Saturday's win over Western State, nobody could blame them for doing a little heel-clicking themselves.
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs won its seventh home match in as many tries, the volleyball program's best-ever home record to start a season, with a 3-0 (30-26, 30-23, 30-17) victory over the Mountaineers at the Lions' Den.
The previous best home start came in 2001 when UCCS opened with a 6-0 mark.
The Mountain Lions improved to 10-8. Their 8-1 record in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play is also a new school standard. The previous best RMAC record after nine matches was 7-2, which was set in 2005.
"The team is very excited," said Stephanie Laband, who had eight kills on just 13 attempts for a ridiculous .615 hitting mark. "We work together and we earn it together and I think that's just how it's going to be the rest of the season."
Brooke Akers had 15 kills to pace the UCCS offense, which also saw Andrea Weedman and Diane Sheldon add seven each. Cortney Weedman had 20 assists.
Western State focused defensively on stopping UCCS middle hitters Akers and Heidi Fehringer. It didn't work as the Mountain Lions went to outside hitters Laband, Sheldon, Andrea Weedman and Lauren Orth.
"They were on our middles like crazy so we were trying to spread it out as much as possible," said Laband. "It was working; we were pushing our outsides and right sides and we were putting it away like we're supposed to.
"Thanks to our middles for pulling the blocks and leaving us with one-on-ones."
Amy Thompson led Western State (5-11, 2-6 RMAC) with seven kills and 21 assists. The sophomore from Cheyenne, Wyo., also had seven digs.
A back-and-forth Game 1 had UCCS nursing a slim 16-14 advantage when Laband drilled two kills to spark a 6-2 run. The Mountaineers twice managed to get the lead back down to three but the Mountain Lions' defense, behind a pair of acrobatic digs by Laband, was able to close out the win.
"I don't want that ball ever to hit the ground; I'm going for it," said Laband. "I will sacrifice any part of my body to get it."
Laband had four kills in a lackluster Game 2, but Western State mistakes were the biggest factor. The Mountaineers committed nine hitting errors and six service errors as UCCS took a 30-23 win.
Game 3 was tied at 7-7 when Jessica Stewart served a 5-0 run. The momentum continued as the Mountain Lions coasted to the three-game sweep.
Having played seven of their first nine RMAC matches at home, the Mountain Lions will now face the rigors of the road. Eight of UCCS' final 10 matches will be in hostile gyms.
The preparation is key; we're going to be tested on the road like no other," said Laband. "It's a matter of focus; getting ready mentally and getting ready physically by getting our rest."
And maybe they'll find a yellow brick road.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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