BOULDER- Freshman Alexis Austin recorded 11 kills as the University of Colorado volleyball team fell in four sets (25-22, 25-16, 25-27, 25-16) to Arizona on Sunday afternoon at the Coors Events Center.
'We are incredibly disappointed because we wanted to take both matches at home this weekend, and there is no good explanation for it," coach Liz Kritza said. "We are at the point now as a program that we should be able to step up when it's time. We've had enough matches under our belt that I feel that even young players should be able to step up and do what they're supposed to do and do their job."
The Buffs out hit the Wildcats with 48 kills (UA had 47), but unfortunately had 23 attack errors. Neira Ortiz Ruiz and Kelsey English each notched 10 kills in the effort and English recorded a team-high hitting percentage at .421. She had just two errors on 19 attacks. Nikki Lindow added eight kills for the Buffs.
Defensively CU recorded just 36 digs and 2.0 team blocks compared to UA's 51 digs and 9.5 team blocks. Chelsey Keoho had 11 of CU's digs and Austin added seven. Four players each recorded one block assist for the Buffs.
"We have to re-group and come back," Kritza said. "We can't get out-blocked nine and a half to two and outdug by 20 digs and expect to throw teams down. There's work that needs to be done."
The Buffs are now 13-7 overall, 3-5 in the Pac-12 while Arizona improved to 11-8 (3-5 Pac-12).
CU took a 9-3 lead to start the first set, which included a 5-0 run and forced UA to use both of its timeouts. The Wildcats came back within a point at 12-11 after putting together an 8-3 run. The Buffs pulled ahead again with a 4-2 run (16-13), but again UA rallied and this time used a 5-0 run to take the lead at 18-16. Despite a good effort by the Buffs, UA closed the set 25-22.
Arizona took a 12-8 lead to start the second set, forcing the Buffs to call a timeout. The Wildcats would remain in control of the set and increased their lead to 23-14. CU didn't stop fighting, taking the next two points, but UA would finish the set on the next two points (25-16).
The third set was tied 9-9 before UA went ahead 15-12. The Buffs took the following three points to even the score at 15-15. The teams traded off points before CU took a 19-17 lead and increased it to 21-18, causing the Wildcats to take a timeout. UA took the first two points out of the timeout, forcing the Buffs to use a timeout (21-20). The Wildcats tied the set up three points later at 22-22 and went ahead on the following point. They had set point at 24-22, but the Buffs weren't done and fought off the first two set points to tie the set at 24-24. UA took the next point, and once again CU denied the Wildcats. The Buffs recorded the next two points to win the set 27-25.
The fourth set started out very close, before UA recorded a 6-0 run to go up 16-10. The Buffs tried to get back into the set, but couldn't overcome the deficit as they fell 25-16.
"I think it's most important to just get back in the gym and start practicing," Nicole Edelman said. "We know what we're capable of, and it's coming up short like this when it's actually game-time and you have to produce...that's the difference: we have to convert what we do in practice to matches. We need to push super hard in practice this week to get ready for what's coming this weekend. It can be a really, really fun weekend if we play well."
The Buffs will hit the road next weekend for a pair of road matches against No. 6 UCLA and No. 5 USC in Los Angeles. They will face UCLA on Friday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. and USC on Sunday, Oct. 21 at 11 a.m.