Season ends with loss in NCAA Tournament
KEARNEY, Neb. -- The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs' first trip to the NCAA tournament ended all too quickly, as the Mountain Lions were beaten 3-0 (30-25, 32-30, 30-22) by the Metro State Roadrunners Friday in the first match of the Southwest regional at the University of Nebraska-Kearney's Health and Sports Center.
Metro State will play the winner of the West Texas A&M-Midwestern State match in the regional semifinals Saturday at 5 p.m.
UCCS (20-12) looked to be the looser of the teams coming into the match, but that impression proved to be deceptive as the errors mounted. The Mountain Lions 28 hitting errors, their highest total of the season for a three-game match. They added seven service errors and three setting errors to that total.
Primarily as a result of the errors, the Mountain Lions hit a season-low .039.
"We needed to lighten up a little bit," said libero Laura Meeter. "We were loose, but we didn't have that edge."
Julie Green-McFarland led No. 6 seed Metro State (16-14) with 17 kills, while Kelsey Ellis added 12 and Lisa Jones had 11.
UCCS, the No. 3 seed, was led by Brooke Akers' 11 kills. Heidi Fehringer added eight kills, while Fehringer and Stephanie Laband each contributed on four blocks.
"It's disappointing, but the reality is that only one team can advance," said UCCS coach Jessica Wood. "Today, that team was Metro State."
The Mountain Lions defense was led by Andrea Weedman's 16 digs and Meeter's 12. Weedman and Meeter, who are two of the six UCCS seniors who played their final match, finished their careers as the Nos. 1 and 2 all-time on the school's digs list with 1,791 and 1,679 respectively.
Also completing their collegiate careers were Akers, Laband, Diane Sheldon and Lindsey Myers.
"We all kind of put it in perspective in the locker room," said Meeter of the team's post-match time. "We had a team family moment and reflected on how far we've come this season and how awesome it's been.
"It's been a fun ride and I'm really glad to have been a part of this team."
With the score 12-11 in Game 1, Jones had two kills and Ellis had a kill and a block to lead the Roadrunners on a 9-2 run. The Mountain Lions climbed back to within three at 22-19, but two service errors and two hitting errors boosted the deficit back to 28-22. Metro won the game 30-25.
UCCS' generosity continued into the second game as six of Metro State's first nine points came by way of Mountain Lion errors, including a miserable stretch of five straight points that gave the Roadrunners a 9-4 lead. Three Akers kills plus a kill and a block by Fehringer allowed UCCS to claw back, finally tying the game at 14. Neither team led by more than two after that point.
After fighting off 13 tie scores and two Mountain Lion game points, Metro State finally closed out a 32-30 win on Green-McFarland's seventh kill of the game.
The third game was tied at 11 when two kills by Jones and more UCCS gaffes sparked a 9-2 run from which the Mountain Lions couldn't recover.
Wood intentionally put together a brutally tough schedule for the 2007 season. It was so challenging that 15 of the Mountain Lions' 32 matches were played against teams that qualified for the 64-team NCAA tournament.
"To be the best you have to play the best," Wood has often said this season.
The tactic paid off big, as UCCS went all the way to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship match and qualified for the regional tournament, both for the first time in the 19-year history of the program.
"I'm so proud of this team," said Wood. "They brought us to a place we've never been and they set a standard for years to come.
"I thank them for that."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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