Crowder, Experience Prove Difference as Hillsdale Outlasts Mountain Lions

By Doug Fitzgerald published August 28, 2009

COLORADO SPRINGS - Ashlee Crowder had 26 kills to lead the Hillsdale Chargers to a 3-2 (25-27, 17-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-13) come-from-behind victory over the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in the first match of the 2009 Marriott Volleyball Invitational Friday at the Lions' Den.
Crowder, the 2008 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Association freshman of the year, was the focal point of the Charger offense Friday as she was set for 68 attacks, 33 more than the next highest player. Crowder had just eight hitting errors, posting a strong .265 hitting mark.

"She's a big girl, she hits the ball really heavy and they do a good job using her strengths," said UCCS coach Keith Barnett about Crowder.

The Mountain Lions got strong production from several of their newcomers. Cindy Bathelt, a transfer from Florida, efficiently ran the offense, posting 56 assists, while adding five kills and eight digs. Freshman Laura Brodie led UCCS with 17 kills and a remarkable .577 hitting mark. Kendall Utz, a transfer from Florida Atlantic, had a team-high 27 assists. Another transfer, Nicole Pederson from Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo, added 11 kills and three blocks.

The UCCS returners also chipped in. Andrea Brodie had 13 kills and Sonja Johnson added 15 assists and nine kills. Senior Lauren Orth had eight kills. In the end, though, Hillsdale's experience was trump.

"We get a couple of more matches and hopefully we'll be better," said Barnett.

UCCS led the deciding fifth set 13-12 when Clara Leutheuser had one of her 12 kills to tie the set. She made it 14-13 with her fifth block of the match and a UCCS attack error ended the match.

"I liked how we were gritty at the end," said Barnett. "We pushed back and had the lead in the fifth set. Unfortunately, they're experienced and pushed back at us."

Their combination of youth and experience had the Mountain Lions rolling early. Behind six kills by Orth and five by Laura Brodie, UCCS outlasted Hillsdale 27-25 in the first set and then rolled to a 25-17 decision in the second set. The Mountain Lions hit a combined .311 in those two sets.
A 10-1 run put UCCS in a commanding 14-7 lead in Set 3 before Hillsdale made its adjustments.

"They started to tip and shoot more," said Barnett. "They stopped taking all of their hard swings because those weren't going down and they ran their middles a little more."

The result was that the Chargers put together a 14-6 run, finally taking the lead at 21-20, and held on to take the set 25-23.

The Chargers retained that momentum in the fourth set, breaking an 8-all tie with a five-point run. They made that advantage hold up as UCCS never got closer than three afterward.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Lauren OrthLauren Orth5OHFr.
Lauren OrthLauren Orth5OHFr.
Lauren OrthLauren Orth5OHFr.
Nicole PedersonNicole Pederson15MB
Nicole PedersonNicole Pederson15MB
Andrea BrodieAndrea Brodie2OH
Andrea BrodieAndrea Brodie2OH
Kendall UtzKendall Utz8L
Kendall UtzKendall Utz8L
Laura BrodieLaura Brodie10MBFr.
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