Mountain Lions Find the Middle Path is the Way to Victory Over Fort Lewis

By Doug Fitzgerald published October 3, 2009

Brodie and Pederson had just a single hitting error between them, leading to a Nintendo-like .600 hitting percentage.

Setter Cindy Bathelt recovered nicely from a difficult game Friday to post 45 assists, five kills, an ace, a solo block and an assisted block on Saturday. She turned 40.2 percent of her sets into kills, her second-best mark of the season. Much of that had to do with the effectiveness of the middle blockers.

"Cindy saw the stats from last night's game; we only ran them like 23 times in three games," said UCCS coach Keith Barnett. "They got 30 balls tonight, which is really nice. We could probably feed them even a little more.

"We passed much better and Cindy was much more settled down. We were ready to go from the beginning."

The key, according to Pederson, was better communication - on and off the court.

"We were trying to connect with our setters so bad yesterday and it just wasn't working," said Pederson. "Today, we just talked it out and figured things out and just came with passion this time."

Another key was motivation. After Friday's miserable performance in a 3-0 loss to Mesa State, the Mountain Lions were on the receiving end of an "¦ unpleasant "¦ post-game talk.

"They responded well to getting chewed out," said Barnett. "They responded in a positive manner; I'm very happy with that. Hopefully, we don't have to do that again."

To a player, the Mountain Lions don't want to do it again either. While not Barnett's preferred method of communication, it served its purpose.

"Yesterday was not a good match for us," said Pederson. "We came today with fire. We wanted to win this match so bad; I don't think we've had this much fire this whole season.

"This is definitely a new beginning for us."

Outside hitter Sonja Johnson led UCCS (9-7, 4-4 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) with 15 kills while Jenica Shippy added 13.

Chelsea Flaming led Fort Lewis (3-13, 1-7 RMAC) with 17 kills. Teammate Jordan Squiers added 10.

Early in the first set, the malaise that dogged UCCS in Friday's loss looked to be carrying over to Saturday. A kill and an ace by Jessica Williams helped the Skyhawks to a 4-0 start, a lead they stretched to 11-5. Trailing 13-8, the Mountain Lions used two kills each by Bathelt and Shippy plus back-to-back service aces by Kendall Utz in a 10-2 run to take the lead.

Fort Lewis came back to tie the set at 21, but kills by Lauren Orth, Pederson and Johnson closed out the 25-22 win. Pederson finished with five kills in the set and five other Mountain Lions had two or more.

The second set was tied at eight when UCCS opened it up with a 6-2 run. Fort Lewis closed to within two but couldn't string together enough points to get any closer. Bathelt continued her lesson in distributive education, getting six Mountain Lions kills in the set.

The third set was back-and-forth, almost exaggeratedly so, as the largest run was three points and that happened only once. With the score 23-23, the 13th tie of the set, Fort Lewis got kills by Flaming and Wilson sealed the 25-23 decision. Johnson led UCCS with five kills in the set, a number that was matched by Fort Lewis' Flaming.

The runs that were lacking in the second set showed up in the third. UCCS scored four straight, followed by three by Fort Lewis as the teams drew even at seven. The Mountain Lions answered with five in a row, and then scored five of the next seven to open up a 17-9 advantage. A kill and an ace by Natalie Reed helped Fort Lewis narrow the gap to five, but the Mountain Lions again answered - this time with four straight. The set, and with it the match, ended with yet another three-point run.

While the crowd was recorded as 200, there were 22 decked out in black jackets that were making most of the noise. The UCCS men's soccer team, which plays at Fort Lewis on Sunday, showed up to lend their support Saturday.

"We were blessed to have our soccer team here. It was absolutely wonderful," said Pederson. "They cheered their hearts out for us and we'll do the same for them tomorrow."



UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Nicole PedersonNicole Pederson15MB
Nicole PedersonNicole Pederson15MB
Jenica ShippyJenica Shippy9OH
Jenica ShippyJenica Shippy9OH
Jenica ShippyJenica Shippy9OH
Cindy BatheltCindy Bathelt16S
Cindy BatheltCindy Bathelt16S
Cindy BatheltCindy Bathelt16S
Kendall UtzKendall Utz8L
Kendall UtzKendall Utz8L
Laura BrodieLaura Brodie10MBFr.
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