WACO, Texas —The University of Colorado volleyball team (8-1) dominated the Baylor Bears (4-7), sweeping them 25-21, 25-23, 25-11 to win the Baylor Invitational on Saturday night at the Ferrell Center.
Nicole Edelman was named the tournament’s MVP, while Kerra Schroeder was named the defensive MVP. Alexis Austin and Cierra Simpson were also honored as members of the all-tournament team. The Buffs went 3-0 at the BU Invite with wins against Northwestern State and Appalachian State on Friday.
Saturday’s win is the eighth consecutive for the Buffs and ties the fifth longest streak in CU volleyball history. It is the longest streak since 1997 when the Buffs had a 10-match win streak, which tied the longest streak.
The win was also head coach Liz Kritza’s first win against Baylor. The victory snapped an eight-match losing streak for CU against the Bears which started in 2007 while CU was still a member of the Big-12 Conference.
“Tonight’s performance caps off a very tough weekend for this team, and I am pleased not only with the three wins and the improvement we made as a program, but most importantly the character and resiliency this group showed,” Kritza said. “With all the possible distractions while our home state is experiencing a catastrophic event, this group of players, coaches, and staff pulled together and put forth a strong performance and really showed great character.”
Austin proved to be a key player in the match as she provided key points at the end of the first and second sets. In total, Austin hammered a team high 12 kills and hit .400 with only two errors on 25 attacks. She also added three digs and three blocks.
“Alexis did a fantastic job tonight in finishing at the end of sets tonight,” Kritza said. “The offense was firing properly and she was able to make a significant impact on the overall outcome of the match.”
Taylor Simpson also had a nice night for the Buffs with 11 kills. She picked up her third double-double of the season with 13 digs. Schroeder had six kills, two assists, nine digs and three block assists for CU.
“Schroeder was a steady presence and came up with key plays when we needed her to,” said Kritza. “Her experience on the court is crucial as this young group keeps progressing towards Pac-12 play.”
Edelman led the team with 14 digs and handed out 32 assists. She also directed the team to a .236 hitting efficiency with 42 kills. The Buffs held BU to just 25 kills, while hitting .035. The Bears had 21 attack errors on 113 attacks.
“Edelman did a very good job this weekend of keeping our offense balanced and tonight’s performance showed her experience and ability to run an offense at a high level,” Kritza said.
Kritza was also very impressed with Elysse Richardson’s performance. She picked up five digs and added two assists and an ace in the sweep.
“A key performance that doesn’t always appear on the stat sheet is the performance of Elysse Richardson,” Kritza said. “She has the ability to go into a match and change the energy of the team and she did that again for us at the pivotal point. That role is essential to a team’s success and it takes a very special person to be able to go in under the most pressured situations and perform, and she answered that call.”
The first set of the match was very close with eight ties and three lead changes. CU led 20-18 when the Bears tied it up one last time at 20-20. After a CU timeout, the Buffs came out with three straight points to go ahead 23-20. BU answered back with a kill to get within two points, but Austin finished the set for the Buffs with two straight kills (25-21).
BU had a 15-10 lead in the second set when CU used its first timeout. Out of the break, the Buffs recorded three straight points before BU sided-out with a kill (16-14). After the kill, CU put together a 5-0 run to take an 18-16 advantage. The two teams continued to battle and the match was tied yet again at 20-20. The Bears took three straight points to force CU to use a timeout, which worked well since the Buffs finished the set with five straight points out of the break, including two kills and a block from Austin (25-20).
The Buffs dominated the third set and used a 9-0 run to go up 12-5. BU was able to take three of the next four points to bring the score to 13-8, but once again the Buffs put together a run, this time it was six straight points to go up 19-8. The Bears were out of timeouts and had no way of slowing the Buffs down as CU finished easily 25-11.
The Buffs will be off until September 24 when they will travel to Salt Lake City to open the Pac-12 Conference schedule against Utah. That match is scheduled 7 p.m. and will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network.