No. 11 Nebraska-Kearney becomes fourth ranked team to beat UCCS

By Doug Fitzgerald published September 12, 2008

COLORADO SPRINGS- University of Colorado at Colorado Springs volleyball coach is fond of saying,"œto be the best, you have to play the best.” Judging by the Mountain Lions'schedule so far this season, she's very serious about that.

UCCS fell to 6-5 on the season with Friday's 3-0 (25-14, 25-13, 25-16) loss to the No. 11-ranked Nebraska-Kearney Lopers at the Lions'Den.

Four of the Mountain Lions'five losses so far this season have come at the hands of nationally-ranked opponents. Besides Nebraska-Kearney, UCCS has also been beaten by No. 2 Washburn, No. 12 Minnesota-Duluth and No. 13 Southwest Minnesota State.

The loss also evened UCCS'Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference record at 1-1.

“It makes you tougher,” said Wood about the difficult schedule."œThat's the style of play you want to be playing by the end of the season.”

UCCS (6-5, 1-1 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) was led by Karina Miastkowska, Andrea Brodie and Kim Boogaard, each of whom had four kills. Boogaard added five assisted blocks while Jessica Stewart helped on three blocks and had 18 assists.

Jerry Walkowiak had 11 kills on just 14 attempts for the Lopers. When Walkowiak's single hitting error is subtracted, the sophomore from Grand Island, Neb., finished with a remarkable .714 hitting mark. As a team, the Lopers (9-1, 1-0 RMAC) had an impressive .346 mark.

Nikki Scott, who is remembered by UCCS fans for her 13 assisted blocks against the Mountain Lions in a 2006 playoff match, had seven kills, a solo block and four assisted blocks. Chelsie Carlson added nine kills.

“Kearney's good; they're solid and they don't make mistakes,” said Wood."œA team like that will expose areas you need to work on before you knew you needed to work on them.”

UNK held a 13-10 lead in the first set before closing with a 12-4 run, including seven straight points with Kelsey Werner serving.

The score was also close in the second set, with UCCS trailing 11-10, when the Lopers closed with a 14-3 run thanks in part to four Walkowiak kills.

The Lopers kept the momentum, opening the third set with a seven-point run and building the advantage to 18-3. Two service aces by Brodie and two kills by Sonja Johnson helped the Mountain Lions run off seven straight but they would get no closer.

UCCS will play RMAC rivals Regis on Friday and Metro State the next night. Both games will be 7 p.m. at the Lions'Den. Those two teams have a combined all-time record of 44-8 against UCCS.

That's OK with Wood. After all, that's who you play if you want to be the best.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Jessica StewartJessica Stewart8SJr.
Andrea BrodieAndrea Brodie2OH
Karina MiastkowskaKarina Miastkowska1MB
Andrea BrodieAndrea Brodie2OH
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