2012 Volleyball Preview-Third of four editions: Middle Blockers

By MJ Arjomandi published August 29, 2012

There have been many changes in the Mountain Lion squad from last year to this year. The one position that has not changed much is that of middle blocker. There are only two returning starters from last year's team, and both play this position. Nikki Kinzer and Megan Koop were both very instrumental to the Mountain Lions success last year, and look to bring their skills and experience back for their senior year. "It's nice to not have to replace those two," says Barnett.

Kinzer led the team last year in kills with 283 and kill percent with .307. She currently ranks No. 17 all-time at UCCS in kills, and can easily project herself into the top ten this season. Kinzer doesn't just score points though, she is also the lead blocker on the team. Last season, she recorded 13 solo blocks and 110 block assists, each are approximately double that of anyone else on the team. She was No. 16 in the nation in blocking and first in the RMAC. Kinzer currently ranks No. 14 all-time in solo blocks and fifth all-time in block assists in school history.

When discussing Kinzer's importance to the team, Barnett states that "we need to find ways to get Nikki the ball, and Nikki needs to find ways to continue to put up those kind of numbers." The attention that Kinzer commands on the court often results in a double team on her, which leaves openings for other players to capitalize upon. One of those player that looks to take advantage of those double teams is the starting returner from last season, Megan Koop.

Koop had the second highest kill percent last season with .283 and also recorded the second most solo blocks and third most in block assists. In 2011, Koop was named to the BritKare Lady Buff Classic All-Tournament Team after averaging 2.71 kills per set over the team's first four matches while hitting .407. She also had a solo block and assisted on nine others.

Prior to attending UCCS, Koop appeared in 12 matches for the CSU-Pueblo Thunderwolves with one start in 2010. She finished that season with 14 kills, seven digs and eight blocks, with a season-high five kills vs. Johnson and Wales on Oct. 21. She made an immediate impact as a freshmen while playing in 28 matches and starting in 26 of them in 2009. That season, Koop had 177 kills with 1.86 kills per game, and was second on the team with 76 blocks. She finished the year with an attack percentage of .210 and also earned 11 assists and six aces.

According to Barnett, if Megan Koop and Nikki Kinzer can play to the best of their abilities, "it will open up our outsides. Then its a pick your poison, do you go with our outsides, or with our middles?"

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Megan KoopMegan Koop14MBSr
Nikki KinzerNikki Kinzer2MBSr
Nikki KinzerNikki Kinzer2MB
Nikki KinzerNikki Kinzer2MB
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