Mountain Lions beat Highlands, complete sweep of epic road trip
LAS VEGAS, N.M. - Playing their third match in as many nights and having already traveled over 1,000 miles on a bus since Thursday, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs volleyball team called on defense for the cure to fatigued legs and fannies.
The Mountain Lions had 10 blocks and held New Mexico Highlands to a .045 hitting percentage in a 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 27-25) victory over the Cowgirls Saturday evening at the Wilson Complex.
UCCS (7-4, 3-0 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) has now won five straight matches, including all three on an epic road trip.
The Mountain Lions traveled 302 miles (5 hours, 53 minutes according to Mapquest) to Durango Thursday. They then headed 497 miles (7:58) to Silver City, N.M. for Friday's date with Western New Mexico. From there, it was off to Las Vegas, N.M. (405 miles, 6:06) for Saturday's match against New Mexico Highlands. Add the return trip to Colorado Springs late Saturday night and the UCCS volleyball team spent 23 hours and 42 minutes on a bus covering 1,461 miles.
Nikki Kinzer had two solo blocks and assisted on four others to lead the Mountain Lions net game. Sonja Johnson and Megan Koop each added a solo block and two assisted blocks. Cindy Bathelt and Alex Wood each had a pair of assisted blocks.
When Highlands did get past the UCCS block, the back row kept the ball in play. Skylar Lewandowski led the team with 13 digs, while Wood had 12 and Heather Sanders had nine.
Kinzer led the offense with 10 kills, Wood added nine and Johnson eight. The Mountain Lions offense did have to scramble at times, as witnessed by 11 assists coming from players other than Bathelt, the setter. Bathelt did have 28 assists and seven kills.
Darian Mullen led New Mexico Highlands (6-5, 1-2 RMAC) with 10 kills.
A kill by Mullen gave the Cowgirls a 20-18 lead in the first set, but UCCS answered with three straight to take its first lead since 14-13. Kills by Wood and Johnson helped the Mountain Lions score four of the final five points to close out the set.
A pair of service aces by Lindsy Heisler sparked a six-point run that gave the Mountain Lions an early 8-2 lead. That advantage grew to as many as 10 as UCCS cruised to a 25-17 win.
UCCS raced to a quick 13-6 lead in the third set, but Highlands came back with a dominating performance, scoring 18 of the next 23 points to put itself at match point at 24-18. The Mountain Lions fought off that match point six straight times with kills by Heisler, Bathelt and Johnson, solo blocks by Johnson and Kinzer and an assisted block by Johnson and Kinzer.
The Cowgirls ended the streak with a kill by Mullen to make it 25-24, but another kill by Kinzer plus a hitting and a setting error by Highlands closed it out in favor of the Mountain Lions.
UCCS will play its home opener on Wednesday against in-town rival Colorado College.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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