Season-Best Hitting Percentage Allows UCCS to Extend Winning Streak to Six
SILVER CITY, N.M. - The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs hit a season-high 35.6 percent to extend its winning streak to six with a 3-0 (25-15 25-14 25-19) win over the Western New Mexico Mustangs Saturday evening at Drag's Court.
The Mountain Lions have hit 21.3 percent or higher in eight of its past nine matches after hitting over 20 percent only once in its first 12. UCCS had 39 kills Saturday against just seven errors on 90 attempts.
UCCS finished its expedition through the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference's West Division with a 6-1 record, losing only to division-leading Mesa State in Grand Junction. The Mountain Lions now go into the final six matches of the season, all against East Division teams, sporting a 14-7 record, 9-4 in the RMAC.
UCCS setter Cindy Bathelt continued her skillful generalship of the Mountain Lion offense, keeping the Mustangs off balance throughout the match. Five Mountain Lions had between six and nine kills as the deft use of all the team's weapons kept Western New Mexico to just two blocks. Bathelt finished with 36 assists.
Laura Brodie led UCCS with nine kills. Sonja Johnson and Jenica Shippy each had seven, while Nicole Pederson and Andrea Brodie each added six. Pederson assisted on five of the Mountain Lions' nine blocks, while fellow middle blocker Laura Brodie assisted on the other four.
The Brodie sisters led the efficiency parade with Laura hitting 61.5 percent and Andrea 50 percent. Laura also had a team-best three service aces.
Natali Murdock led Western New Mexico (9-12, 7-6 RMAC) with 11 kills.
The first set was tied at 12 when the Mountain Lions turned a Kelsey Pobar service ace and a pair of blocks (Laura Brodie and Bathelt on one and Johnson and Brodie on the other) into a 6-0 run to take the lead. The UCCS advantage was 20-15 when Andrea Brodie had a kill and joined with Pederson on a block to spark a 5-0 run to close the set.
The Mountain Lions opened the second set with kills by Pederson and Laura Brodie to go with a service ace by Kendall Utz (who had a team-best 12 digs) to take a 4-1 advantage. A few points later, the lead grew to 9-3 thanks to an ace by Brodie, kills by Bathelt and Johnson and a Pederson/Bathelt block.
The gap had shrunk to its smallest at 16-13 when UCCS closed with a 9-1 surge behind kills by four different players, two blocks and a Laura Brodie ace. Through the first two sets, the Mountain Lions were hitting a robust 33.9 percent and had committed just three non-block hitting errors.
Neither team led by more than one in the third set before UCCS scored four straight to take a 10-7 lead from which Western New Mexico would never recover. The Mountain Lions score consecutive points five times over the balance of the set to gradually increase the lead, finally winning the set 25-19.
By winning eight of their past nine matches, the Mountain Lions have made themselves a significant figure in not only the RMAC playoffs, but also the regional picture. UCCS came into the weekend ranked eighth in the Central Region (eight teams qualify for the NCAA Tournament).
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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