Oct 20 vs Western Colorado
The UCCS Mountain Lions’ volleyball team displayed another big performance in their return home to the Gallogly Events Center as they defeated Western Colorado University in three straight sets on Oct. 20, putting an end to their four-match losing streak in the RMAC.
The Mountain Lions took authority at the start of the match as they sprung to an early lead in the opening set. Freshman outside hitter Sydnee Walker contributed to this initial success with an ace and two kills.
Five kills by right side outside hitter redshirt junior Raegen Emery fueled the Mountain Lions’ play and they finished the set comfortably, 25-17.
Consecutive kills by graduate student outside hitter Lauryn Shockley sparked a 5-0 run by the Mountain Lions in the second set, and UCCS maintained their lead and cruised to victory in the second set, 25-13.
The Mountain Lions’ momentum allowed them to take an early 4-0 lead in the third set. A pair of kills by senior middle blocker Nicole Medlin further extended UCCS’ lead.
Nevertheless, Western Colorado persisted in chipping away at the Mountain Lions’ advantage and got it down to only a two-point lead, forcing Tara Hittle’s side to call a time-out.
Out of the timeout, UCCS snatched three consecutive points, including the first career kill by freshman middle hitter Avery Ahlers, and the Mountain Lions closed the set 25-21, sending the Mountaineers home with a loss.
After the match, Shockley commented on the quality of the team’s performance. “We have been talking about playing our game and not playing down to other team’s levels and I feel we did a great job at executing that,” she said.
The Mountain Lions accumulated 39 kills and six blocks during the match, twice as many as the Mountaineers.
Walker noted the team’s satisfaction with their performance in this game.
“While there is always room for improvement, the team performance against Western was more of what we have been after since the start of the season.” Walker said.
Walker also explained how this win against Western will fuel their success in the next match, “The team energy and morale we built against Western was really encouraging … I think we could use the confidence [from the win] to come out a lot stronger from the beginning.” Walker said.
Oct 21 vs Fort Lewis
The Mountain Lions prevailed against the Fort Lewis Skyhawks after a five-set marathon match on senior night on Oct. 21.
The Gallogly Events Center set the initial mood for the match as the Mountain Lions gathered an initial 4-1 lead against the Skyhawks. The Mountain Lions would maintain this lead for the remainder of the set as they totaled a staggering 18 kills and took the first set, 25-18.
The second set flip-flopped in favor of both sides before a 4-0 run facilitated a breakaway by the Mountain Lions. Kills from Shockley and graduate student middle blocker Julia Geiger cemented this lead further. A Shockley kill helped to end the second set in favor of UCCS, 25-20.
Despite winning the first two sets, the Skyhawks attempted to escape the loss during the third set. Fort Lewis fought back despite an early UCCS lead to tie the set at 11 a piece. Both teams went back and forth before Fort Lewis rattled off three straight points, which proved lethal for the Mountain Lion’s attempt to sweep the game in three sets, as the Skyhawks won the third set, 25-23.
After another back-and-forth set, a kill by senior middle blocker Nicole Medlin tied the set at 17-17 and forced Fort Lewis to call a timeout.
Right after the break, three consecutive kills by Skyhawk Alina Nunez allowed Fort Lewis to force a fifth-set tiebreak, 25-19.
As the final set began, the Mountain Lions gained an emphatic 8-1 lead. The Skyhawks made attempts to narrow the point gap but never managed to overtake the persistent Mountain Lions. Junior setter Maylen Mitrovich set up Geiger for a set-winning kill to seal the match for UCCS, 15-11.
Walker commented on the Mountain Lions’ efforts to secure a win despite considerable pressure from the Skyhawks.
“We knew we were capable [of winning] and we just needed to come out strong and play our game.” Walker said. “Another key motivator was our seniors; it was their night and we really wanted to come out with a win to celebrate.”
UCCS’ record in the RMAC is now 5-4, their first winning conference record of the season.
Shockley is now the all-time leader in career matches played in program history (120).
Celebrating a successful senior night, Shockley reflected on her time as a Mountain Lion, “Every single person [in the program] has impacted my life and helped me learn something along the way.”
“I am mostly grateful for the friends that this program has brought me. I know these girls will be in my life for years to come and we will always be able to look back on the memories and experiences that we have gone through together.” Shockley said.
UCCS’ next match sees them traveling to South Dakota to take on South Dakota Mines on Oct. 26 at 6 p.m.
#13 outside hitter Lauryn Shockley goes for the kill against Fort Lewis on Oct. 21. Photo by Lillian Davis.