Mountain Lions win battle of Colorado Springs

By Doug Fitzgerald published September 21, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS - Colorado Springs' team soundly defeated the other team from Colorado Springs Wednesday evening at the Gallogly Events Center.

Behind 11 kills by Nikki Kinzer, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs volleyball team swept in-town rival Colorado College 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-14).

The Mountain Lions feature five players from Colorado Springs and 12 of their 14 players are from the state of Colorado. That demography represents UCCS well as a true regional institution. The Tigers roster, meanwhile, has no players from Colorado Springs and only three of the 16 players on the roster are from the state. CC is a fine liberal arts college, but its demographic is largely wealthy families from around the nation.

And while Air Force ads claim they are Colorado Springs' team, cadets come from everywhere. The academy is something of which residents in the Pikes Peak region are justifiably proud, but its claim on the city is merely geographic, not demographic.

UCCS IS Colorado Springs' team and its Colorado Springs players put an emphatic stamp upon that claim on Wednesday.

"It's definitely special that we were all able to come back home and play with each other again," said Kinzer, who transferred to UCCS from Colorado-Boulder after the 2009 season.

Kinzer had just one mishit on 17 attempts, giving her a .588 hitting mark for the match. It was the highest hitting mark by a UCCS player with at least 10 kills since Kinzer hit .682 against Chadron State (which UCCS will host on Friday) on Nov. 5, 2010.

Another local, Cindy Bathelt, had 33 assists and, as setter, did a masterful job distributing the ball against the No. 14-ranked team in NCAA Division III. The Mountain Lions hit .341 as a team, its second-best mark of the season. Bathelt also had five kills, assisted on three blocks and had a .444 hitting mark.

For Kinzer, it's nice to have Bathelt on her side now.

"I had never played with Cindy before - she was on our rival team in high school," said Kinzer. "I hated playing against her. She's such a good setter she tore us apart.

"Playing with her - I love it."

Skylar Lewandowski, like Kinzer a Rampart High School graduate, led UCCS with 10 digs.

Sonja Johnson (Denver) and Megan Koop (Littleton) added seven kills each for UCCS, which improved to 8-4 and has won six straight. Laura Loosbrock (Alamosa) had six kills.

UCCS was aided by a raucous Whiteout Night crowd of 617.

"The crowd was awesome," said Kinzer. "I just hope that they keep coming back because it's definitely a boost whenever you get a kill or get a block, having everybody cheering."

Kristen Liberty led Colorado College, which is ranked No. 14 in NCAA Division III, with six kills. Libero Hannah Vardell had a match-high 14 digs.

It was a revenge match of sorts for UCCS, who were beaten by the Tigers a season ago.

"We definitely had a lot to prove," said Kinzer. "Going into the game, we were ready to come out on fire and out this team away because they beat us last year. They're a good team."

It was also a critical tune-up for UCCS' first home Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference matches of the season. The Mountain Lions play Chadron State on Friday and No. 4-ranked Nebraska-Kearney on Saturday.

"The conference games are what really matter," said UCCS coach Keith Barnett. "If we can get a good rhythm and feel in our home gym before we get to those conference games, we'll take it."

It looks like he'll gladly take Wednesday's effort, then.


UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Cindy BatheltCindy Bathelt16S
Cindy BatheltCindy Bathelt16S
Cindy BatheltCindy Bathelt16S
Nikki KinzerNikki Kinzer2MBSr
Nikki KinzerNikki Kinzer2MB
Nikki KinzerNikki Kinzer2MB
Skylar LewandowskiSkylar Lewandowski11DS/L
Skylar LewandowskiSkylar Lewandowski11DS/L
Megan KoopMegan Koop14MBSr
Megan KoopMegan Koop14MBJr
Additional News Stories
February 27, 2012Cindy Bathelt to play professional volleyball in RomeCindy Bathelt will be playing in Rome next fall! The UCCS senior setter will be playing for Aprilia Volleyball Club from August 2012 through May 2013. Aprilia is currently a ‘Serie C’ team that is looking to regain its form and move up the ladder in the Italian rankings. The club is serious about this undertaking, as they’ve hired a trio of American players. Joining Cindy are an outside hitter from Wake Forest and a middle blocker from the University of Miami. They will be 20 minutes south of Rome and living together after a month each with a host family. Italian lessons are mandatory and Cindy is excited to, “have the opportunity to pursue the next chapter in (her) career in such an incredible place as Italy. The people are very outgoing, rich in culture, and the pizza is the best in the world!”
November 16, 2011Kinzer named to Daktronics All-Central Region TeamUniversity of Colorado Colorado Springs middle blocker Nikki Kinzer was named second-team Daktronics All-Central Region, it was announced Wednesday.
November 11, 2011UCCS' Bathelt named to academic all-district teamCindy Bathelt of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs was named to the 2011 Capital One Division II Academic All-District VII Volleyball Team, it was announced Thursday.
November 8, 2011Kinzer, Bathelt named all-RMACCOLORADO SPRINGS - Nikki Kinzer and Cindy Bathelt of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs were each named to the 2011 all-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Team, the RMAC announced Tuesday.
November 5, 2011UCCS concludes season with win over Chadron StateCHADRON, Neb. – Behind solid production from the team’s seniors, each of whom was likely playing in their final collegiate match, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs swept the Chadron State Eagles 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-19).
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