Mountain Lions Top CSU-Pueblo in Five Sets, UCCS Takes Steel & Silver Lead

By Doug Fitzgerald published October 14, 2010

PUEBLO - The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs took a 10-4 lead in the 2010-11 Steel & Silver Series Thursday evening with a 3-2 (20-25, 25-23, 25-23, 20-25, 15-12) volleyball victory over the Colorado State-Pueblo Thunderwolves at Massari Arena.

The Mountain Lions have gotten four points each from volleyball and women's soccer and at least two from men's golf while CSU-Pueblo grabbed the four points for men's soccer.

Thursday's run-filled match finished, appropriately, with a run-filled fifth set. After CSU-Pueblo scored the first two points, UCCS (11-8, 5-5 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) reeled off six straight with Alex Nuttall accounting for a kill and a service ace. Pueblo scored four of the next five to cut the gap to one only to watch as the Mountain Lions put another five straight on the board to take a 12-6 lead.

The Thunderwolves (6-11, 2-8 RMAC) got four in a row, two on Alea Wildman kills, to make it 12-10 but UCCS answered with two of its own to make it match point. Wlidman and Janae Heiser got kills to cut it to 14-12. An errant Thunderwolves attack, though, gave UCCS the set and the match.

Sonja Johnson led the Mountain Lions with 12 kills, while Nikki Kinzer and Nuttall added 10 each. Kinzer participated in nine of UCCS' 17 blocks (three solo) and Kendall Utz had a team-best 16 digs. Lindsey Stich orchestrated the offense with 32 assists and added six blocks (two solo, four assisted).

Wildman had a match-high 18 kills for CSU-Pueblo, while Tamia Herholz and Bernadette Pitre added 12 and 11 respectively. Ashley Michel had a match-best 19 digs.

The Mountain Lions hit a woeful -.026 in the first set. Two Wilkinson kills sparked a four-point CSU-Pueblo run to break a 5-all tie. The lead remained three or more the rest of the way as the Thunderwolves took a 25-20 decision.

The momentum carried over as the Thunderwolves opened the second set with a 5-1 run. That lead held steady between two and four until Kinzer had a kill and two blocks to spark a 6-0 UCCS run that put the Mountain Lions up 23-21. After the Thunderwolves tied it at 23, Lindsey Stich and Sonja Johnson had kills to close out a 25-23 UCCS win.

The Mountain Lions had a comfortable 19-13 lead in the third set but surrendered a 10-4 run to face even the set at 23. A well-timed UCCS timeout stopped the bleeding and the Mountain Lions got the next two points to take the 25-23 win.

An early 5-3 UCCS lead in the fourth set evaporated behind a four-point CSU-Pueblo run. The Thunderwolves extended the advantage to 16-12 but two blocks, both involving Kinzer, and a Johnson kill sparked a five-point run to give UCCS the lead. CSU-Pueblo, though, put together the deciding run, scoring the set's final six to win it 25-20 and set the stage for the deciding fifth frame.

The Steel & Silver Series was established in 2006 to recognize the natural rivalry between UCCS and CSU-Pueblo. In each of the 10 intercollegiate athletics programs that both schools sponsor - men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, men's golf, women's cross country, softball, volleyball, and women's indoor and outdoor track and field - the school that earns the most wins in head-to-head competition is awarded four points. If the head-to-head competitions are split evenly, each school is awarded two points. The school with the best cumulative grade point average among student-athletes in the school's common sports will also be awarded five points.

Six more points could be awarded in the coming days. The UCCS men's golf team has already clinched two points but could get all four by finishing better that CSU-Pueblo at The Cactus Thaw Golf Tournament in Silver City N.M.  on Monday and Tuesday. In addition, the four points for women's cross country will be awarded to the team that finishes better at the RMAC Championships on Nov. 6.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Lindsey StichLindsey Stich1SSr
Lindsey StichLindsey Stich1SFr
Lindsey StichLindsey Stich1SSo
Lindsey StichLindsey Stich1SJr
Alex WoodAlex Wood13RSFr
Alex WoodAlex Wood13RSSo
Alex WoodAlex Wood13RSJr
Alex WoodAlex Wood13RSSr
Kendall UtzKendall Utz8L
Kendall UtzKendall Utz8L
Nikki KinzerNikki Kinzer2MB
Nikki KinzerNikki Kinzer2MBSr
Nikki KinzerNikki Kinzer2MB
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