Mountain Lion soccer, volleyball prepare for upcoming seasons

Women’s soccer

After coming away with the RMAC title for the first time in program history and punching their ticket to the NCAA Division II Tournament last spring, UCCS’ women’s soccer team looks to replicate the success of last season.

The team had an impressive 19-4 finish in 2021, the most wins in a single season for the Mountain Lions. Their offense helped them take two games in the NCAA tournament before a 1-0 loss in the Sweet 16, which is still a historic achievement for the team.

Despite the loss, the Mountain Lions are set up extremely well in their offensive system, with sophomore forwards Jadyn Ledoux and Sydney Lasater returning after an above-average season up front.

Redshirt sophomore defender Makenna Fowler, who ranked sixth in the RMAC in assists, heads the defensive line attempting to mediate the scoring from opposing strikers.

Manning the midfield is redshirt sophomore Makayla Merlo, who ranked fifth in scoring in the conference along with Ledoux at seven.

The Mountain Lions’ season begins on Thursday, Aug. 25, at 7 p.m. in Mountain Lion Stadium against a familiar foe: Dallas Baptist University, the squad that took them out of the tournament last season.

Men’s soccer

After an 8-8-1 season in 2021, their highest season win percentage since 2018, the Mountain Lions men’s soccer squad hopes to propel themselves into the winning column behind their explosive offense and team leadership.

UCCS ranked fourth in the RMAC in goals per game at just under two each contest, led by star junior forward and RMAC Men’s Soccer Player of the Year Alex Andersson, who scored more than twice as many goals as any other Mountain Lions with 12 through the season. Andersson’s 26 points and 35 shots also placed first in the conference.

The Mountain Lions excelled in the midfield last season as well, with senior Kolby Raineri ranking fifth in the RMAC in shots on goal with 24, and second in UCCS total goals with five.

Defensively, the Mountain Lions struggled to contain opposing teams’ offenses, allowing more than two goals per match. With five starting defensemen returning to the lineup, including seniors Nic Grotle, Bogdan Vedernikov and Garrett Daulong, they hope to improve upon the previous year’s woes and keep the ball out of their net.

The Mountain Lions kick off their season on Friday, Aug. 26, at 6 p.m against the Rockhurst University Hawks at Mountain Lion Stadium, their first of six out-of-conference games.

Women’s volleyball

After their fourth consecutive losing season in 2021, the Mountain Lions volleyball team looks to turn over a new leaf and get themselves back to winning in 2022.

Returning to UCCS is the setter-hitter duo of graduate student Lauryn Shockley and redshirt junior Emily Ettel. Shockley and Ettel placed fifth in kills and assists, respectively, in the 2021 season. Shockley’s 356.5 points also ranked sixth in the RMAC.

The majority of the team’s errors in the previous season were defensive, as they ranked last in opponent hitting percentage and blocks. Fortunately, the Mountain Lions have senior blocker Julia Geiger returning along with new transfer blocker Nicole Medlin from Arkansas-Little Rock.

If the Mountain Lions can continue to score at a high rate like the previous season while improving defensively, they can make a run towards the RMAC tournament and potentially a winning record.

UCCS will begin their volleyball campaign on Friday, Aug. 26, against the St. Mary’s University Rattlers, where they will take part in the annual WT Buff Classic in a four-game season opener.

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