BOULDER - Kerra Schroeder recorded 20 kills and 11 digs to lead the University of Colorado volleyball team past Albany 3-1 (30-28, 19-25, 25-22, 25-22) on Sunday afternoon in the final match of the Omni Hotels Colorado Volleyball Classic.
The Buffs are now 3-1 overall while the Great Danes are 0-6 on the year. The two teams will face off again on Sept. 10 at the Rose Hill Classic at Fordham University in Bronx, N.Y.
"Anytime you're playing teams early in the season, the second time is going to be much harder," coach Liz Kritza explained. "We'll be expecting a much tougher opponent next time not only because they know us and played against us, but also because they're going to be out for a little bit of revenge.
"We are prepared to pick up our level of playing practice this week. We have a four-match swing next weekend and it's going to be really important for this program because not only is it affording us a lot of playing opportunities before we get into our conference, but we're going to be playing the same opponent for a second time, and it's so much harder to beat a team after you've played them once."
Schroeder recorded her third double-double of the year, but received a lot of help from her team in the win. Kelsey English recorded 12 kills and hit a match-high .435, while Anicia Santos and Emily Alexis each hammered 10 kills. Nikki Lindow didn't quite get to double digits, but she had nine kills for the Buffs. As a team CU recorded 64 kills and hit .278. The Buffs hit 18 kills in the first and fourth sets and attacked at a match-high .333 in the fourth set with just three errors on 45 attacks.
"Kerra was not standing out numbers-wise but she played a pretty complete game and showed leadership and was pretty steady with our first contact," Kritza said. "It's good seeing that side of her leadership and her game develop tonight. Normally we're recognizing her for her offensive performance, but it's good that on the other side of the ball that she's able to progress as well."
English and Santos each put up six blocks, tying a career-high for English, and Lindow added four blocks. Megan Beckwith led CU with 23 digs and Alexis had 11 digs, a career-best.
"Kelsey's a very athletic, aggressive player," Kritza said. "She's not only inspired and learning, but she's also one of our highest points producers."
The Great Danes were led by Sara Pope's 21 kills. Casey Wright also recorded 16 kills and Samantha Brostrom had an 11 kill performance. As a team Albany hit .247 in the match with 66 kills and 24 errors on 170 swings.
The Buffs used a six-point run in the first set to take a 22-18 lead. The Great Danes would come back to tie to the score at 23. CU fought off four set points and Albany fought off three before the Buffs were able to take two points in a row and win the frame 30-28.
Albany won the second set 25-17, thanks in part to a six-point run in the beginning of the frame to take a 10-6 lead. The Buffs would get within two-points at 14-16, but Albany took five of the next six points to take a 21-15 lead. The Great Danes would finish the set with four of the next eight points.
The third set was close, but the Buffs were able to win it 25-22. With the set tied at 15-15, CU used a 7-1 run to take a 21-16 lead. Despite Albany's attempt at a comeback with a 6-3 run, CU was able to finish off the set with a kill from Alexis.
The fourth set was also very close. The Buffs had a 20-16 lead, but the Great Danes came back to even it at 21-21. A pair of kills from Alexis gave CU a two-point advantage (23-21) before Albany answered with a pair of kills. Alexis answered back for the Buffs with another kill, and an attack error by Albany finished the set in Colorado's favor (25-22).
Colorado will hit the road for the Rose Hill Classic at Fordham Sept. 9-11. CU will play Siena on Friday at 3 p.m., Albany (10 a.m.) and Fordham (5 p.m.) on Saturday, and St. John's (10 a.m.) on Sunday.
And don't forget to check out the latest news and highlights with coach Kritza on This Week in Colorado Volleyball, exclusively on BuffsTV at CUBuffs.com/volleyball. New shows air every Tuesday.