Koop helps lead her new team over her old team as UCCS sweeps CSU-Pueblo

By Doug Fitzgerald published October 13, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS - Megan Koop had 11 kills to lead her current team, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, to a decisive 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-9) victory over her former team, the Colorado State-Pueblo Thunderwolves, Thursday evening at the Gallogly Events Center.

Koop was a starter for the Thunderwolves as a freshman but played sparingly as a sophomore. She opted to transfer to UCCS this season and is again a starter, but now with the Mountain Lions. UCCS coach Keith Barnett just smiled when asked if Koop's performance was a part of his gameplan.

"That's in her gameplan," said Barnett. "If she wants to play like that every night ... or wants to work that hard every night, then wonderful.

"Good job, Koop."

Alex Wood added 10 kills for UCCS which ended its five-match losing streak. The Mountain Lions are now 10-9 overall and 5-5 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play.

"Having a five-game losing streak, we really had something to prove," said UCCS senior setter Cindy Bathelt. "And it's Pueblo, they're our biggest rival, so we came out really strong."

Bathelt was again outstanding, leading UCCS in assists (38), digs (12) and service aces (three). Nikki Kinzer added five blocks (two solo and three assisted) and Skylar Lewandowski had eight digs.

Bernadette Pitre led CSU-Pueblo (10-8, 6-4 RMAC) with eight kills. The senior from Clifton, Colo., was dominant in the first two sets with eight kills and no errors on 13 attacks in the first two sets. In the final set, which UCCS won 25-9, the Mountain Lions held her without a kill and forced four errors.

While UCCS outhit the Thunderwolves .299 to .000, it was the Mountain Lions' ability to prevent long runs that made the biggest difference, UCCS' side-out percentage was 78.6 for the match and 88.9 percent in the third set. CSU-Pueblo gained points on just 43.2 percent of UCCS serves.

"We had some good passing," said Barnett. "Our side-out percentage was really, really high."

UCCS opened with a four-point run and built the lead to 8-3 in the first set. The Thunderwolves got no closer than four the rest of the way as Koop's five kills led the 25-17 UCCS win.

The Mountain Lions came out similarly hot in the second set, racing to a 18-6 lead capped by back-to-back aces by Bathelt. The set ended with a kill by Koop, her fourth of the set.

While third set was never close. UCCS had three runs of three points and another of four while not allowing CSU-Pueblo to score back-to-back points until the Mountain Lions owned a luxurious 18-6 advantage. UCCS held CSU-Pueblo to a -.258 hitting mark in the set.

With the win, UCCS opened a 10-2 lead in this season's Steel & Silver Series against the Thunderwolves. teams are awarded four points for winning the season series in each of the 10 sports that the schools have in common. Also five points are awarded for the athletic department with the highest grade point average.

As the only match between the teams this season, UCCS earned all four points for volleyball. The Mountain Lions also earned four points for men's soccer and the school's split the points for women's soccer.

The match was the first of seven straight at the Gallogly Events Center for the Mountain Lions who, before Thursday, had played just four of their 18 contests on their home floor.

"It's really good to be home," said Barnett. "It's good the we went out here and got it done."
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UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Cindy BatheltCindy Bathelt16S
Cindy BatheltCindy Bathelt16S
Cindy BatheltCindy Bathelt16S
Skylar LewandowskiSkylar Lewandowski11DS/L
Skylar LewandowskiSkylar Lewandowski11DS/L
Megan KoopMegan Koop14MBJr
Megan KoopMegan Koop14MBSr
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