Metro State overcomes two-set deficit to drop UCCS

By Doug Fitzgerald published October 22, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS - Skylar Lewandowski's five service aces, one away from tying the University of Colorado Colorado Spring record, weren't enough to keep the Metro State Roadrunners from pulling off their second stunning comeback victory in as many nights as the Mountain Lions fell 3-2 (16-25, 21-25, 25-21, 25-18, 16-14) Saturday evening at the Gallogly Events Center.

Friday, Metro State overcame a two-set deficit to stun No. 22-ranked Colorado School of Mines. Saturday, Metro State made it two in a row on the road, also sweeping aside a two-set deficit to beat UCCS.

The Roadrunners' resident stars were everything expected Saturday. Emily Greenhalgh and Bri Morley had 22 and 19 kills respectively. Ngoc Phan, the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference's top libero, had a match-high 28 digs.

"They have some good players," said UCCS coach Keith Barnett. "They put the ball away when they had to."

Metro State improved to 19-4 overall and 11-3 in RMAC play. UCCS slipped to 13-11, 7-7 RMAC.

The Mountain Lions had their chances in the fifth set. UCCS went up 5-2 before Phan served Metro State into a 5-5 tie. An Alex Wood kills gave the Mountain Lions a 10-8 lead, but a UCCS hitting error and consecutive kills by Shayne Kovach, Alysa Heath and Morley reversed the gap, giving the Roadrunners as 12-10 lead.

Down 13-11, UCCS scored three straight with a Jenica Shippy kill, a Metro State ball handling error and an assisted block by Nikki Kinzer and Cindy Bathelt.

Facing match point, the Roadrunners responded with a kill by Greenhalgh and tow by Julie Casseaux to take the match.

"We played well enough to win," said Barnett. "(We were) inches away; 14-13 we're up and then 16-14 we're down."

Shippy and Wood had 12 kills each to lead UCCS, while Megan Koop added 10 and Kinzer had nine. Sonja Johnson and Lewandowski had 18 and 17 kills respectively and setter Cindy Bathelt had 40 assists and six kills.

Lewandowski leads the Mountain Lions with 30 aces this season, 13 better than the next closest Mountain Lion.

"We have (assistant coach J.J. Glavan) to thank for calling all of the zones. I just go back there, take a deep breath and focus on where to serve," said Lewandowski. "He calls short or deep and I try to pick out the seams and place it between people."

As simple as it sounds, it worked immediately Saturday as Lewandowski had three aces to stake UCCS to a 5-0 lead in the first set. The Mountain Lions' .344 hitting mark made sure her effort wasn't wasted. A 6-0 run sparked by a pair of Kinzer kills turned a two-point deficit into a four-point lead at 16-12 in the second set and the Mountain Lions made it stand.

Metro State controlled the UCCS service game in the third and fourth sets, posting sideout percentages of 86.4 and 72.2.

"They came out really well," said Lewandowski about Metro State in the third set. "We needed to focus and calm ourselves down a little bit. I think we got a little bit too excited."

The fifth set, though, was epic.

"It's a game of the small things," said Barnett. "They get one or two calls here or there or they get one or two real good swings here or there and a couple of touches - that's what it comes down to."

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Jenica ShippyJenica Shippy9OH
Jenica ShippyJenica Shippy9OH
Jenica ShippyJenica Shippy9OH
Alex WoodAlex Wood13RSSo
Alex WoodAlex Wood13RSFr
Alex WoodAlex Wood13RSJr
Alex WoodAlex Wood13RSSr
Nikki KinzerNikki Kinzer2MB
Nikki KinzerNikki Kinzer2MBSr
Nikki KinzerNikki Kinzer2MB
Skylar LewandowskiSkylar Lewandowski11DS/L
Skylar LewandowskiSkylar Lewandowski11DS/L
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