Mountain Lions Sweep CSU-Pueblo to Grab Steel & Silver Series Points

By Doug Fitzgerald published October 8, 2009

COLORADO SPRINGS - Middle blockers Nicole Pederson and Laura Brodie combined for 22 kills as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs posted a season-best 33.6 percent hitting in a 3-0 (25-14, 25-14, 29-27) victory over the Colorado State-Pueblo Thunderwolves Thursday evening at the Lions' Den.

Pederson had a match-high 12 kills and hit 57.9 percent and Brodie added 10 kills at a 42.1 percent clip for the Mountain Lions. Outside hitter Jenica Shippy added 10 kills and hit 35 percent.

UCCs, which has won four of its past five matches and six straight at home, improved to 10-7, 5-4 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

The Mountain Lions have set new season highs for hitting in each of its past two matches. Pederson credited the team's back-row play for its improvement up front.

"Our serve receive has been getting so much better and our passers have improved so much that we're able to run the middles more," said Pederson. "We usually shoot for (25 percent). To get (33.6) as a team is awesome."

That back row was led by libero Kendall Utz, who had 15 digs. Setter Cindy Bathelt took full advantage of the accurate passes, logging 38 assists and five kills on just seven attempts. Bathelt also participated in three blocks, tying Pederson and Brodie for the team lead.

With the win, UCCS increased its lead in the 2009-10 Steel & Silver Series against CSU-Pueblo to 8-0. The Mountain Lions own all four points for volleyball and two each for men's soccer and men's golf. The schools will face each other Sunday in men's soccer and Wednesday in women's soccer.

"We always know that Pueblo is going to come out and fight their hearts out because of the rivalry," said Lindsey Myers, who is very familiar with the rivalry since she played four seasons for the UCCS volleyball team before serving as an assistant coach the past two. "That was definitely on our minds when we came in tonight.

"They took us to five sets in the preseason and we had to redeem ourselves. Our girls played great tonight. They brought their best game to take those extra two points."

Megan Koop and Melissa Jones each brought their best games Thursday for CSU-Pueblo (5-13, 2-7 RMAC). Each had nine kills and hit 35 percent.

The first set was tied at eight when the Mountain Lions went on a 10-1 run. UCCS closed out the win with two blocks and a Pederson kill.

The game of crazy eights continued in the second set as the Mountain Lions surged forward from a 8-all tie for a 9-1 run. Kills by Brodie and Pederson finished off the set.

The Thunderwolves recovered to make the third set a grind with the score tied 20 times. Each team fought off two set points before a ball-handling error sandwiched by two kills by Shippy allowed UCCS to rally from a 27-26 deficit for a 29-27 win.

The win started a tough stretch for the Mountain Lions, who play three matches in three nights, all against RMAC competition and at home. UCCS faces Adams State on Friday and Western State on Saturday.

Pederson said the team prepares for tough stretches like this by "stretching, carbo loading. We try to get a lot of sleep and not lift or run.

"We definitely have to be mentally prepared before each match, not just for the weekend as a whole."

It was a formula that certainly worked on Thursday

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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