WACO, Texas —The University of Colorado volleyball team swept Northwestern State (25-20, 25-21, 25-16) to record its seventh straight win of the 2013 season on Friday night at the Baylor Invitational.
The seven wins, which started on August 31 against St. Mary’s, ties the seventh longest win streak in CU history and also ties the longest win streak during head coach Liz Kritza’s era. The last time CU had a streak of seven or more wins was Sept. 9 through Sept. 19, 2012. The Buffs are also 2-0 at the Baylor Invitational after defeating Appalachian State earlier on Friday.
Senior Kerra Schroeder led the Buffs against NWSU with 11 kills and 11 digs for her third double-double of the season.
“Kerra was stoic with her second strong performance today,” Kritza said. “She showed her experience and her character by improving from the first match to the second and leading this young group through some growing pains out on the court this afternoon.”
Kritza played with her line-up during the NWSU match. Freshmen Makayla Lundin and Joslyn Hayes got valuable experience and performed well for the Buffs. Lundin had 18 assists and four digs, while Hayes recorded six kills and three block assists. Hayes also hit .312 with just one error on 16 swings. Another freshman, Katelyn Cuff, also had a great showing with six kills and no errors on seven attacks to hit .857, while posting three block assists. Junior Neira Ortiz Ruiz saw action in two sets and recorded five kills while hitting .444.
“The ability to work players into the lineup is a sign of progress, and today’s total team effort was a good step forward for our program,” Kritza said. “Makayla Lundin got some very valuable time at the helm of the team and her improvement is noticeable. I was pleased to see strong offensive performances from Joslyn Hayes and Neira Ortiz Ruiz tonight and look for them to continue developing. An errorless performance from Katelyn Cuff shows how hard she has been working to improve and get ready for the upcoming Pac-12 season.”
The Buffs recorded 44 kills and hit .321 in the match and limited the Lady Demons to 31 kills and a .092 hitting efficiency.
Defensively freshman Cierra Simpson led the Buffs with 14 digs and senior Jessica Aschenbrenner picked up 13 digs in the win. CU outdug NWSU 64-46.
The performance from the team was great with 13 different athletes contributing despite the concern with the massive flooding back home in Boulder.
“I have to credit my staff for their excellent efforts in continuing to prepare and help keep our team focused while we have a lot going on at home in Boulder,” Kritza said. “We have a strong group of young women who are proud to be representing our University and hometown well and our hearts are with all those back home in Colorado dealing with struggles of the recent disaster.”
The Lady Demons got out to a 9-6 start in the first set, but the Buffs answered with a 6-3 run to even the score at 12-12. CU kept fighting and went ahead 19-16, causing NWSU to use a timeout. After the break, CU kept the pressure on and fought its way to 24-19. The Lady Demons fought off the first set point, but Taylor Simpson finished the game with a kill (25-20).
NWSU took an 8-3 lead in set two before the Buffs used a timeout. CU kept battling and got within two points at 19-17 and this time it was NWSU that called a timeout. The Lady Demons took the first point out of the break, but the Buffs answered back with five straight points to bring the score to 22-20, forcing NWSU to use its last timeout of the set. CU took three of the next four points to finish the set 25-21.
The Buffs took the first four points to start the third set and increased their lead to 9-4. CU continued adding to its lead and had a seven-point advantage at 14-7, and would never look back. NWSU didn’t seem to have an answer for the Buffs and called a timeout at 17-10. The Lady Demons took the first point off the break, but the Buffs got the ball right back (18-11). The Buffs didn’t let up and finished the set and match 25-16.
Colorado is now 7-1 this season, while NWSU dropped to 1-8 overall. The Buffs will wrap up action at the Baylor Invitational on Saturday at 5 p.m. MT against Baylor.
“We have lofty goals this season and the continual progress throughout nonconference matches is essential in reaching those goals,” Kritza said. “We expect to raise our level when we take the court for our next match.”