Volleyball continues hot streak against Denver

By David Wilson

The friendly confines of Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion were all the U. Northern Colorado volleyball team needed to get over the hump against in-state rival Denver as the Bears swept the Pioneers, 3-0, Tuesday night.

The UNC (7-2) was 0-5 in its last five meetings against the Pioneers (4-4), including matches that went all five games in the last two seasons in Denver.

“The three years I’ve been here we’ve lost heartbreakers every time, so it was really great to come out and beat them,” senior outside hitter Ashley Lichtenberg said.

Lichtenberg led all UNC players with 14 kills on the night.

The Bears came out sluggish in the first game, as they trailed most of the way before rallying to tie the score at 24. The two teams exchanged points before the Bears prevailed with a 27-25 decision. DU contained Bears sophomore outside hitter Kelly Arnold, as she only managed three kills in game one and just six kills the entire night.

UNC sophomore setter Marissa Hughes, usually a starter, was out of the starting lineup with an illness, giving an opportunity to junior setter Natalie Laband, who responded with 34 assists, three digs and a kill on the night.

“We’re not quite sure how long Marissa will be out, but Natalie did a great job stepping in there for us,” Bears head coach Lyndsey Benson said. “She has been a part of our system for two years, so she is very comfortable in it and with our hitters.”

Games two and three were dominated by UNC as the Bears jumped out early in each game and continued to wear down the Pioneers. The Bears took game two, 25-16, and game three, 25-12.

The Bears have now won six matches in a row and are 2-0 against in-state schools.

“We are a pretty confident team,” Laband said. “We back it up with our hard practices, and the win over Georgia last weekend was great for us.”

UNC will travel to Laramie, Wyo. this weekend for the Wyoming Tournament before starting Big Sky Conference play next week.

Read more here: http://www.uncmirror.com/sports/volleyball-continues-hot-streak-against-denver-1.1572319
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