Mountain Lions Finish Run of Gauntlet Unbeaten with Sweep of Western State Mountaineers

By Doug Fitzgerald published October 10, 2009

COLORADO SPRINGS - The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs volleyball team finished the most physically grueling stretch of their schedule unbeaten as the Mountain Lions defeated the Western State Mountaineers 3-0 (30-28, 25-22, 25-20) Saturday evening at the Lions' Den.

UCCS played three matches in three nights, beating Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference rivals Colorado State-Pueblo, Adams State and Western State. A stretch like that affects players in numerous ways. The fatigue hits hardest in the legs, which impacts hitting, blocking and defensive positioning.

"It's a lot of volleyball in three days. It's a lot of movement and you don't have any time to recover," said UCCS assistant coach Vernon Podlewski. "Their legs start to feel heavier. You hope they can keep enough in the tank to win in three, which we did."

There's also a significant mental aspect to the heavy schedule. The players have little time to digest the gameplan for each opponent.

"Our team came back, understood what they needed to do with the scouting report and did a good job switching from one opponent to another," said Podlewski.

That was apparent Saturday as the Mountain Lions (12-7, 7-4 RMAC) hit 25.9 percent and put down nine blocks. UCCS was remarkably precise, making only seven non-block hitting errors and two service errors.

"It was a pretty controlled match. Everything seemed to fall our way from our passing to our hitting," said Podlewski. "Staying disciplined is staying controlled. You'll notice that we hardly missed any serves."

Laura Brodie led the Mountain Lions with 10 kills and joined her sister Andrea with a solo block and four assisted blocks. Andrea Brodie added nine kills, while Sonja Johnson had eight and Jenica Shippy and Nicole Pederson each had seven. Lauren Orth played only in the third set and had five kills.

Cindy Bathelt had 39 assists, nine digs, three kills and an assisted block for the Mountain Lions. She also, on occasion, showed acrobatics that would make a circus performer proud in keeping some balls alive.

Lindsay Huson had a match-high 14 kills for Western State (3-15, 3-7 RMAC).

The first set was a close as a volleyball match can produce. Western State had 22 kills and hit 26.3 percent compared to 21 and 25.9 for UCCS. The digs were nearly identical at 26-25 in favor of Western State and each team had three blocks. in the end, it was the set's length that gave UCCS the ultimate advantage as the Mountaineers ran out of subs with the score tied at 21. That put Western State in the unenviable position of having 5-foot-5 defensive specialist Sabret Cafasso stuck on the front row with her team leading 24-22.

Seeing the advantage, Bathelt set Pederson and Andrea Brodie against Cafasso for kills. The scrappy Mountaineers fought off four set points before kills by Laura Brodie and Bathelt gave UCCS the win.

The Mountain Lions were leading 5-3 in the second set when Huson served up a brilliant 9-0 run that included two aces. The deficit was 15-7 when Johnson had three kills and Bathelt an ace to spark a seven-point UCCS run. The score was tied at 17, 19 and 20, but two more kills by Johnson and another ace by Bathelt closed the door.

During the set, UCCS' prolific middle blockers (Laura Brodie and Pederson) were neutralized, getting just one kill between them.

"Our serve receive wasn't off but they serving well," said Brodie. "It's hard to run the middles out of transition and they did a good job following us with the block."

That didn't continue in the third set as the UCCS middles accounted for three of the team's first four kills. With the score tied at nine, Kendall Utz served a four-point run. Later, with the Mountain Lions leading 20-15, Utz served another four-pointer as UCCS held on for a 25-20 decision.

"We took the energy back and closed them out in three," said Brodie.

The win was the sixth in the past seven matches for the Mountain Lions and their eighth straight at home. UCCS will hit the road for its next four.

 

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Nicole PedersonNicole Pederson15MB
Nicole PedersonNicole Pederson15MB
Andrea BrodieAndrea Brodie2OH
Andrea BrodieAndrea Brodie2OH
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.
Additional News Stories
December 5, 2009UCCS volleyball signs threeUniversity of Colorado at Colorado Springs volleyball coach Keith Barnett announced Saturday that he had signed three recruits to national letters of intent. Joining the Mountain Lions for the 2010 season will be Skylar Lewandowski from Rampart High School, Danica Lawrence from Columbine High School and Erika Cushnie from the Waiakea High School in Hilo, Hawaii.
November 12, 2009Mountain Lions Eliminated in First Round of RMAC PlayoffsKEARNEY, Neb. - University of Colorado at Colorado Springs coach Keith Barnett's first trip to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference playoffs ended prematurely as the No. 4-seed Mountain Lions were beaten 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-19) by the fifth-seeded Colorado School of Mines Orediggers Thursday evening at the Health and Sports Center.
November 11, 2009Laura Brodie Named RMAC Freshman of the Year, Bathelt also HonoredLaura Brodie of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs was named the 2009 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year, the RMAC announced Wednesday.
November 7, 2009Mountain Lions Win in Five Sets, Head to RMAC Playoffs on Positive NoteCOLORADO SPRINGS - It was a bad night for monkeys at the Lions' Den on Saturday.The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions got their personal monkey off their backs, taking a five-set 3-2 (25-23, 15-25, 25-20, 22-25, 15-12) victory over the Regis Rangers.
November 6, 2009Loss to Metro State Puts Mountain Lions' Regional Aspirations in JeopardyCOLORADO SPRINGS - With the sets even at one each and Mountain Lions leading by five in the third, everything changed in a moment for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs volleyball team. Laura Brodie, who represents one-half of one of the most formidable pair of middle blockers in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, went high to hammer a set from Cindy Bathelt. A Metro State player had crossed far enough under the net that her foot was at Brodie's landing point, her out of the game with an ankle injury and, with just a couple of weeks remaining, likely out for the season.
Visit our Facebook pageVisit the UCCS Mount Lion's Twitter pageVisit the UCCS Mountain Lions Youtube pageVisit UCCS Rss feeds