SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The University of Colorado volleyball team picked up a pair of wins on Saturday to win the Candlewood Suites Invitational.
The Buffs capped off the invite with a sweep of Syracuse (25-22, 25-19, 25-20) on Saturday night after defeating Rutgers in four sets (25-15, 23-25, 25-20, 25-14) in the morning. Junior Taylor Simpson was named the tournament’s most valuable player and sophomore Nicole Edelman was selected to the all-tournament team.
CU is now 5-1 overall this year. Syracuse fell to 1-5 in the loss to the Buffs, finishing their tournament with a 1-3 record. Oakland took second in the invite, finishing 3-1. Stony Brook and Rutgers also finished the invite 1-3.
Colorado recorded a .410 hitting percentage against Syracuse and had three Buffs finished the match with 10 or more kills. Sophomore Alexis Austin hammered 17 kills and hit .577 with just two errors on 26 swings. Simpson had 11 kills in the match and senior Kerra Schroeder had 10 kills, while hitting .562 with only one error on 16 attacks. Junior Kelsey English had a nice hitting percentage at .444 (five kills and one error on nine attacks) and senior Nikki Lindow recorded a .385 attack percentage with six kills and one error on 13 swings.
Edelman helped to direct the Buffs to their great offensive showing with 40 assists. She added four kills of her own on seven errorless swings for her own hitting percentage of .571. As a team the Buffs recorded 53 kills and only 10 errors with 105 attacks.
Defensively CU was led by freshman Cierra Simpson, who recorded 12 digs. Schroeder added nine digs and Edelman picked up six. Colorado had 40 total digs in the match.
The Orange’s top offensive weapon was Nicolette Serratore who had 13 kills in the effort. Gosia Wlaszczuk was second on the team with eight kills and Valeriya Shaipova had seven kills. SU had 42 kills in the match and hit .307 with 11 errors on 101 attempts.
The first set had 11 ties and four lead changes. The final lead change came when the Buffs broke the 18-18 tie, going ahead with a kill from Simpson. CU added two more points (21-18) for a three-point advantage, which would prove to be too much for the Orange to overcome as the Buffs finished the set 25-22. CU hit .333 in the frame and held SU to .289.
The Orange had a 15-14 lead in the second set before the Buffs used a 6-0 run to take a 20-15 advantage. SU came back with two points of its own and CU answered right back with another two (22-17). The Buffs were able to close the set with three of the next five points. CU had a match-high 19 kills in the set and hit .444. SU recorded 15 kills to hit .344.
The Buffs took the lead from the start of the third set and never let it go despite seven ties. The last tie came at 16-16 and after that CU put together four straight points to take a 20-16 lead. The Buffs continued to work and finished the set strong at 25-20. They hit .467 with 17 kills and only three errors, while the Orange was held to .290 with 12 kills and three errors.
In the morning contest against Rutgers, Schroeder led the team with 12 kills and 14 digs and junior Neira Ortiz Ruiz added 11 kills in the win. Senior Emily Alexis had nine kills and Lindow added eight kills with a team-best .412 hitting percentage. Alexis and Lindow each put up four blocks for CU.
Once again the Buffs switched up their line-up and freshman Makayla Lundin started at setter. She led the team to a .231 hitting percentage and handed out a career-high 39 assists and picked up seven digs.
The Buffs held Rutgers to a .033 hitting percentage. Alex Lassa had a team-high 10 kills for the Scarlet Knights. Ali Schroeter led RU defensively with 10 digs.
The first set was very close to start out, but after an 8-8 tie, the Buffs went on a 7-1 run to go up 15-9. They continued to add to their score with another run of 6-3 to bring the set to 21-12. CU was able to cruise to the finish in the set, taking four of the next seven points. The Buffs hit a match-best .375 in the set with 11 kills and just two errors on 24 attacks and kept the Scarlet Knights to a negative attack percentage (-.042) with seven kills and eight errors on 24 attempts.
The Buffs took the lead in the second set on the third point of the game and would hold it until the Scarlet Knights would come back to even it at 17-17. RU took the lead on the following point, but the score would be tied four more times (19-19, 20-20, 21-21 and 22-22) with the Buffs not backing down. Unfortunately the Scarlet Knights rattled off three of the next four points to win the set 25-23. CU recorded its lowest attack percentage of the match at .152 with 12 kills and seven errors on 33 swings, while RU had its best attack percentage at .147 with 10 kills and five errors on 34 attacks.
RU used the momentum it gained from the second set win to take the first four points to start the third set before the Buffs started to get on the board. The Buffs rallied to tie the score at 10-10 and after another tie at 13-13, CU would not let go of the lead. CU had a six-point lead at 21-15 and was able to hang on despite RU’s effort to get back into the set. The Buffs won 25-20 and had a match-high 14 kills in the set. They hit .235 and the Scarlet Knights recorded nine kills to hit .103.
The fourth set had the Buffs taking a dominating 11-4 lead. CU increased its advantage to 20-8 and easily finished the frame 25-14. The game was all CU as the Buffs recorded an 80% side-out percentage to control the set. For the second time in the match, the Buffs held RU to a negative hitting percentage (-.083) with seven kills and 10 errors on 36 swings. CU hit .200 with 11 kills in the set.
The Buffs will return to action Sept. 13-14 at the Baylor Invitational in Waco, Texas. They will face Appalachian State and Northwestern State on Sept. 13 and Baylor on Sept. 14.