The recent tear experienced by both the volleyball and soccer teams at the University of Central Oklahoma is enough to rival any in the history of those programs.

Which is why — if all goes as planned this weekend — it only seems fitting that they’ll be making room for them in the Broncho trophy case.

Both UCO teams are just a few victories away from sealing conference championships, one season after UCO captured either a division or conference crown in women’s golf, softball, baseball, men’s basketball and soccer, and saw the football squad tie for one.

The volleyball team enters the weekend on a 14-match winning streak, needing to defeat Southwestern at home tonight at 7 p.m. to seal up at least a tie for the LSC North title. Matched with a loss by Southeastern tonight, or a victory in one of two matches next weekend, the Bronchos would win that crown outright.

“We’re making small steps. We’re not looking forward at all,” head coach Jeff Boyland said. “We’re treating every match like it’s the last of the season, and that’s the kind of mindset we’ve had the last month or so.”

That mindset has evidently served the Bronchos well, since they haven’t lost a match since Sept. 16. The squad is 9-0 in league play and 23-6 overall.

Katie Schult leads the team with 407 kills, while Kim Morgal has 359 and Lacie Allen 240. Morgal has 48 service aces, Jenny Anderson 525 digs and Kim Iten 65 blocks. The team’s setter, Stephanie Ball, is averaging 12.12 assists a contest.

“They’ve been playing really well. The team all got together and had a long talk at the hotel after our last loss,” Boyland said. “We played real well from there. We’ve limited the amount of errors we’ve made and focused on mental toughness on our side.”

UCO won the LSC North two seasons ago and was runner-up last year. But the Bronchos are even more interested in their regional position, which will ultimately determine whether or not they qualify for nationals.

UCO is currently sixth in the region, up three spots from two weeks ago. The Bronchos have qualified for nationals just twice in school history.

“Any loss on our side would hurt us dramantically, as far as going to nationals. It’s such a hard thing to do,” Boyland said. “The girls want to make it to nationals, that’s one of their biggest goals. So, they can’t allow anybody to beat us.”

In order for someone to beat the UCO soccer team, the Bronchos have to give up a goal. And, lately, that hasn’t been happening.

UCO has posted shutouts in eight of its last nine matches, helping boost the team to a 6-0-1 mark in the LSC.

“We started off a little shaky, but we’re on a roll right now. We’re confident,” said head coach Mike Cook, who’s squad also has an 11-match unbeaten streak. “Our goal has been this the whole time. That’s why we played a tough first four games, so that we could win our conference.”

Victories Friday against Midwestern State and Sunday against Angelo State would give the Bronchos their second straight LSC title. Each contest is at Tom Thompson Field.

UCO also will play host to the LSC Tournament next Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The tourney begins with matches at 12:30 and 2 p.m. on Thursday, and will conclude at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Doing well both weekends would likely assure UCO a trip back into the Division II national tournament. But any less, and it’s anybody’s guess how it’ll figure in the all-important regional standings. UCO is 12-3-1 overall.

“We thought we’d get in with what we had last season, but it didn’t work out that way,” Cook said. “I told the girls we’re not taking anything for granted. Our whole philosophy the last four games is that it’s a four-game season. To get to where we want to go, we want to win all four.”

Goalkeeper Carly Fischer has 114 career saves, which ranks third in school history. Junior Lindsey Hull is the team’s leading scorer with six goals and four assists, while Joy Hagemann has five goals and one assist, and junior Melissa Terry four goals and three assists.


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