It's been a great year to be a Lady Cougar. Last March, Colorado Christian Women's Basketball won the NCCAA DI National Title. In May, CCU Softball qualified for the NCAA DII National Tournament in the program's inaugural year. On Saturday, Cross Country freshman Regan Mullen finished 22nd and earned All-America honors at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. And Sunday night, November 18, CCU Volleyball was selected to participate in the 2012 NCAA Volleyball National Tournament.
Senior libero Cassidy Burke gushed at the close of the selection show. "We did it! We did it! We did it! This is huge! It is such a blessing that we get to wear Christian on our jerseys and spread the love of Christ through our play at Nationals."
It's been a long time coming. Just three short years ago, the Cougars were among the bottom dwellers of the RMAC, not winning more than ten games in a single season in a nine-year span. Enter Head Coach Verlyn Rosenthal. Almost immediately, Rosenthal had things turned around. Since August of 2010, the Cougars boast 63 wins under his direction – that's an average of 21 a season.
None of those years, however, provided the memorable moments Cougar fans have witnessed in 2012. Following in the footsteps of this year's Lady Cougars, CCU Volleyball crushed records and made history. Most wins in a season. First RMAC Tournament appearance in 12 years. First appearance in the RMAC Tournament Final Four. First appearance in the NCAA National Tournament. They've solidified themselves as the best of the best, but know the glory doesn't belong to them.
“I am so incredibly blessed to be a part of this program and to represent the CCU community,” commented RMAC Freshman of the Year Taylor Sturms. “I have loved every minute of playing this sport with such special teammates and playing for God. We win and lose together and cannot wait to take the next step in this journey as one team.”
Just as those before them have, CCU Volleyball enters the tournament with big hopes. They hope to compete well. They hope to win. And they hope, most of all, to glorify God on the court.
They don't have to wait long, and they don't have to go far. On November 29, the sixth-seeded Cougars will face a familiar opponent in a familiar place. Number one seeded Regis University will host the South Central Regional, where the Cougars will play #3 Colorado School of Mines. The meeting will be the fourth this year for the two RMAC teams, who last played one another in the semi-finals of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament. Mines swept CCU this season, winning the last match-up in four sets. (Bracket)
“A big thank you to the coaches and all the fans who have supported us from the start,” continued Sturms. “We could not have done this without you.”
And a thank you, perhaps, to those who've gone before. Team by team and athlete by athlete, the Cougars are setting a standard of excellence. And over and over, they're thanking God and pointing back to Him. Oswald Chambers put it best. Our best for His glory. Our utmost for His highest.