Oct. 6 vs Chadron State
The UCCS Mountain Lions’ volleyball team was defeated by the Chadron State Eagles, 3-0, in their return to RMAC play.
The Eagles took all three sets despite a good attacking display by the Mountain Lions. During the first set, junior setter Maylen Mitrovich assisted a powerful kill by outside hitter graduate student Lauryn Shockley. The first set remained close with both teams shouldering for the lead during the opening rallies. However, Chadron State managed to hold onto the lead with an 8-1 run, forcing Tara Hittle’s Mountain Lions to take an early timeout.
The revitalized Mountain Lions offense fought for the lead for the remainder of the set, but the Eagles maintained their advantage and took the set, 25-19.
The second set mirrored the first for the Mountain Lions, as the attacking chemistry between Shockley and Mitrovich continued in conjunction with kills by freshman outside hitter Sydnee Walker and senior middle blocker Nicole Medlin. This contributed to the Mountain Lions taking an initial 5-1 lead.
Once again, though, that lead was stomped out by the resurgent Eagles as they grabbed a 13-10 lead in the middle of the second set and never surrendered that lead, despite the Mountain Lions accumulating 17 kills. The set ended 25-21 in favor of Chadron State.
The third and final set started positively with the Mountain Lions holding onto an early lead, due to an emphatic kill by redshirt junior outside hitter Raegen Emery and an ace each from Shockley and Walker. This prompted the Eagles to take an early timeout.
Chadron State responded with a run of their own, scoring six straight points to retake the lead. Late efforts by the Mountain Lions to overtake the Eagles proved unsuccessful as they dropped the last set and the match, 25-21.
“The consistency was just not there,” Shockley said in a post-match interview. “Once we find that, we will be unstoppable.”
Despite the Eagles’ clean sweep of the Mountain Lions, the attacking prowess demonstrated by UCCS still deserves some recognition. Led by Emery with a total of 13 kills, UCCS totalled 44 kills whilst Chadron collected 41. The Mountain Lions also totalled four more assists than the eagles (40-36), as well as three more aces (7-4).
However, UCCS made significantly more errors than Chadron State (18-8), possibly illustrating a contributing factor to their defeat. Shockley confirmed this by stating that the Mountain Lions, “made too many errors, which made it easier for Chadron to gain momentum.”
Oct. 7 vs Colorado Christian
UCCS’ women’s volleyball team conceded another loss in the RMAC on Saturday afternoon, as they dropped another home match against the Colorado Christian University Cougars.
The Cougars won the first two sets of the match before the Mountain Lions came back to make it tie it at two sets apiece. However, it was CCU that snatched the last set to win the match, 3-2.
The Mountain Lions started the first set strong, with junior setter Maylen Mitrovich and graduate student middle blocker Julia Geiger combining for a kill to open the match. However, a CCU block and kill helped to give the Cougars the lead, which was never relinquished as the Mountain Lions dropped the first set, 25-18.
The Cougars took the early lead in the following set with a 6-2 run. The Mountain Lions’ efforts to come back brought them within one point of CCU in the middle. Nevertheless, 17 kills and two aces by the Cougars allowed them to take the second set in a similar manner to the first, 25-20.
Despite the Mountain Lions dropping the first two sets, they showed their resilience within the next two. From the start of the third set, UCCS maintained a considerable lead, epitomized by an 11-point lead due to an ace by Shockley and a pair of kills by Geiger. This dominance was maintained through the third set, and the Mountain Lions took the third set, 25-16.
This momentum continued throughout the fourth set as UCCS grasped another early lead. Three straight aces by Mitrovich helped to cement this further and force the Cougars to take a timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, the rejuvenated Cougars closed the gap and narrowed UCCS’ lead to three points. However, a multitude of errors capitulated attempts at a comeback and the Mountain Lions forced a fifth set, 25-17.
Post-match, Shockley commented that the team came back because they “made a decision to fight.”
“We worked to stay connected the whole time,” Shockley said. “We had confidence in ourselves and all of those things combined kept our momentum rolling in the second and third sets.”
In the 15-point tiebreak, the Cougars stormed into the last set and made an early advancement over the Mountain Lions, with CCU’s Izzy Jones and Renee Phillips providing back-to-back blocks, as the visiting Cougars snatched the victory, 15-7.
After appearing in this match, Shockley jumps to sixth place in all-time career kills with 1,030 in her career. She also sits at sixth place for match appearances in program history (116).
The Mountain Lions will leave home for the first time in conference play to face Colorado Mesa on Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. in what looks to be another challenging match-up for Hittle’s side.
Setter #2 Joei Barela sets the ball against Colorado Christian on Oct. 7. Photo by Lillian Davis.