CORVALLIS, Ore. — The University of Colorado volleyball team put together an all-around team effort to earn its first Pac-12 Conference road win by sweeping Oregon State (30-28, 25-21, 25-23) on Sunday afternoon at Gill Coliseum.
This is the first conference road victory for the Buffs since joining the Pac-12 in 2011. The last time CU picked up a conference road win was in 2010 against Texas Tech (3-2) in Lubbock, Texas. With the win, the Buffs improved to 12-6 overall, 4-4 in the Pac-12, while OSU dropped to 10-10 overall, 0-8 in the conference.
“It is an important step for this program to sweep on the road, since it has been something that has been necessary to do to keep moving this program in the right direction,” coach Liz Kritza said.
Kerra Schroeder and Alexis Austin each had 12 kills to lead the Buffs in the win. Schroeder recorded her fifth double-double of the season by adding 13 digs.
Kelsey English had a nice match for the Buffs with 11 kills. She hit a team-best .476 with just one error on 21 attacks and also added three service aces, four digs and five block assists. English shined in the first set and led the team with six kills, two aces and two blocks.
Nikki Lindow also contributed in the win with nine kills, hitting .350. She had a dig and one block assist as well. Joslyn Hayes earned her first conference start in the match and had three kills and three block assists. Nicole Edelman handed out 37 assists for the Buffs and added two kills of her own.
“Our players responded well to adjustments to the lineup today and it is a sign of a true team,” Kritza said, “We have to make sure to continue developing our team identity as well, and being completely team oriented is a key element to that. I am proud of the showing we made today.”
On defense, Cierra Simpson recorded 15 digs for the Buffs and Elysse Richardson added seven digs. Edelman also had 12 digs. In total, the Buffs recorded 58 digs in the match compared to 49 by OSU.
“Our defensive performance today was improved from our last outing and it was a big piece of our success tonight,” Kritza explained.
The Buffs hit .240 in the match with 49 kills and held OSU to a .142 hitting efficiency with 36 kills. Lila Toner and Amanda Brown each had eight kills to lead OSU. Toner hit .154 and Brown hit .174. Becky Defoe led OSU with 17 digs while Arica Nassar was the top blocker for OSU with six block assists.
CU had an early 6-4 lead in the first set before OSU went ahead 11-7. The Buffs rallied back within one point at 11-10 and then used a 6-4 run to go up 16-15. CU continued to lead at 20-18 before OSU put together four straight points (22-20), which forced the Buffs to spend their final timeout of the set. The two teams battled to the finish and OSU had five set points before the Buffs took a 29-28 lead and won the set on the following point with a kill from Schroeder (30-28).
The Buffs went ahead early in the second set with a 6-1 lead. OSU rallied back within two points at 10-8, but after that the Buffs recorded a 5-0 run to take a 15-8 lead. OSU used its second timeout at that point and rallied back to get within two points of CU at 19-17. After a CU timeout, Schroeder hammered a kill to side-out and CU took three of the next four to go back up by four points (23-19). The Buffs were able to close the set 25-21 with Austin scoring the final two points for the Buffs.
The third set saw OSU tak3 a 12-8 lead. The Buffs rallied back to get within a point at 15-14 but then OSU added three points to its lead with a 3-1 run (18-15). The Buffs again got within a point at 19-18 before OSU extended its lead back to three at 22-19. CU took its final timeout of the set at that point and came out of the break taking four of the next five points to even the score at 23-23. This time OSU needed a timeout, but it didn’t help as Brown recorded an attack error to give CU match point. OSU called another timeout following that error but English finished the set with a kill on the ensuing point (25-23).
“The team, led by our captains, Schroeder and Edelman, did a great job of coming together and staying focused on the business at hand,” Kritza said. “Coming off back-to-back road weekends during midterms has presented a tough challenge for this young group, but it is adversity that breeds improvements and development of character.”
The Buffs return home to the Coors Events Center next weekend. They will host Arizona on Friday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. and No. 22 Arizona State on Sunday, Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. The match against ASU will be televised live regionally on the Pac-12 Network.
“We are looking forward to heading home, returning to the friendly confines of Coors Event Center, and continuing to take another step in our season’s quest for success,” Kritza said. “Recovery time and proper preparation for our next weekend of Pac-12 play is going to be important in our development.”