Oct. 13 vs Colorado Mesa
The UCCS Mountain Lions’ volleyball team was defeated 3-1 by Colorado Mesa University on Friday in their first road game in RMAC play as they traveled north to Grand Junction.
Colorado Mesa, the tenth-ranked team in the nation, outperformed UCCS throughout the game despite a hard-fought display by the Mountain Lions. The first set reflected the Mavericks’ dominance, who started the set leading 7-0 during the opening stages of play.
The Mavericks maintained the lead, and two consecutive kills followed by two straight aces allowed them to grab a 14-6 advantage in the middle of the first set.
Attempts to regroup and refocus during their second timeout of the set proved unsuccessful for the Mountain Lions as the Mavericks stayed ahead of them and took the opening set, 25-17.
The second set nearly replicated the first, as Colorado Mesa advanced to a 6-1 lead during its early stages. However, UCCS fiercely battled back and closed the gap to within three points, 7-4. A block and two kills from graduate student outside hitter Lauryn Shockley followed by an ace from junior setter Maylen Mitrovich epitomized this early comeback.
Throughout this attempt to overtake the Mavericks, the Mountain Lions kept the match to within three points, as the set settled at 20-17 during its later stages. Both squads were knotted at 24 points apiece before the Mavericks clinched the last two points to seal the second set.
The close nature of the second set only allowed UCCS’ confidence to grow as they led the third set 9-6. This three-point advantage was extinguished by a 5-0 run by the Mavericks, but the Mountain Lions retaliated with a five-point run of their own.
Both teams found themselves tied at 21 before two aces by redshirt junior outside hitter Raegen Emery helped to facilitate a break away by the Mountain Lions. A solo block by freshman outside hitter Sydnee Walker sealed the set for UCCS, 25-21.
This glimpse of hope in the third set quickly dissipated in the fourth set as the Mavericks responded to this setback with a dominant win, 25-11. During the final set, Colorado Mesa totaled 14 kills while UCCS only managed eight.
Colorado Mesa has now emerged victorious 46 out of the 54 times they have battled against UCCS.
Regardless of the defeat, individual performances by the Mountain Lions deserve to be highlighted. Mitrovich contributed an outstanding 33 of the Mountain Lions’ 38 kills during the match.
Shockley led both team with a match-high of 16 kills. Shockley is now also tied at third place with all-time appearances for the black-and-gold (117).
Oct. 14 vs Westminster
UCCS volleyball suffered their sixth straight loss this weekend as they battled against Westminster University in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The match was a close battle as the Mountain Lions came back from a 2-0 set deficit. However, the Griffins were unyielding and managed to run away with the victory late in the match.
UCCS entered the match with energy, as they lead Westminster by a pair of games during the opening set, 4-2. This lead was doubled to an 8-4 advantage before the Griffins caught up with Mountain Lions to knot the first set 8-8. Kills by Shockley and Emery tied the set at 22 for each team.
However, consecutive kills by Westminster allowed them to escape the clutches of the Mountain Lions and steal the opening set 26-24.
The second set reflected the close nature of the game as both teams were knotted 7-7 before a kill by senior middle blocker Nicole Medlin gave UCCS momentum for a 5-1 run, which was exceeded by Westminster later in the set as they ran away on a 6-1 run of their own.
Both teams kept answering each other’s offensive plays, but it was the Griffins that received a second set victory, 25-18.
Despite these early setbacks in the match, the Mountain Lions demonstrated their resilience as they salvaged some hope and won the third set. A 9-6 lead followed by a 7-0 run gave UCCS a confident 15-6 separation from Westminster that they maintained. Two kills by Shockley allowed the Mountain Lions to cruise to a 25-15 victory and survive the third set.
The Mountain Lions continued their momentum during the fourth set with an early 5-2 lead. However, both teams continued to swap leads throughout the remainder of the set. Nevertheless, a 7-1 run and two Westminster errors allowed UCCS to run away with the set, 25-20.
Despite both teams being tied at two sets each, it was Westminster that decided to take the tiebreaker as they maintained a lead throughout the fifth set. The Griffins totalled 10 kills while the Mountain Lions only managed four, as Westminster won the final set, 15-9.
This defeat suffered by Hittle’s side now puts their overall record this season at 5-12 and their RMAC conference record at 3-4.
Shockley set a new season-high for team kills in a match (19) and is now tied at second place for all-time appearances (118).
The Mountain Lions will return home to the Gallogly Events Center as they face Western Colorado on Friday, Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. Their last clash together resulted in the Mountain Lions winning the match in straight sets.
Photo from gomountainlions.com