BOULDER— The University of Colorado volleyball team is looking for redemption this weekend against No. 6 Stanford and No. 22 California since falling to both in three sets on the road earlier this season. The Buffs will host No. 6 Stanford on Nov. 8 and No. 22 California on Nov. 9 at the Coors Events Center. Both matches start at 7 p.m. and will be streamed live on the Pac-12 Digital Network.
The Buffs are looking to stay undefeated at Coors in Pac-12 play this weekend. They are currently 5-0 at home with three wins against ranked opponents, including No. 1 Washington. Overall the Buffs are 6-1 at home this year with the only loss coming in the first match of the season against St. Mary’s on August 30.
CU is currently 15-7 overall (7-4 Pac-12) this season and is receiving votes in the AVCA Coach Poll. The Buffs are tied with California for fourth in the league standings behind Washington (11-1), USC (10-2) and Stanford (9-3).
Last weekend, the Buffs split a pair of matches on the road. CU defeated Washington State 3-2 in Pullman, Wash. after a thrilling come-from-behind victory on Nov. 1. The Buffs dropped a 3-0 match to No. 3 Washington in Seattle on Nov. 3.
Junior Taylor Simpson leads CU with 3.38 kills per set and ranks eighth in the Pac-12. Sophomore Alexis Austin is second on the team with 2.69 kills per set. The best hitting percentage on the squad belongs to junior Kelsey English at .367, which is sixth in the Pac-12. She has recorded 150 kills and 34 errors on 316 attacks this season. She is also second in the league in service aces, averaging 0.40 per set.
The offense is directed by sophomore Nicole Edelman. She is averaging 10.30 assists per set this season, the fifth best in the league, while helping the Buffs to a .235 attack percentage. Edelman has also added 61 kills of her own and is hitting .387.
Defensively, true freshman Cierra Simpson has recorded 3.25 digs per set. Taylor Simpson is second on the team with 2.59 digs per set and senior Kerra Schroeder is third with 2.56 digs per set. At the net, senior Nikki Lindow ranks sixth in the Pac-12 with 1.23 blocks per set. English adds 0.72 blocks per set and Taylor Simpson posts 0.68 blocks per set.
Stanford is ranked sixth in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll and has a 16-5 record (9-3 Pac-12). Last weekend, Stanford dropped a five-set match against No. 4 USC and defeated UCLA 3-1. SU is 3-2 on the road against league opponents this season.
Carly Wopat leads the Cardinal and ranks second in the Pac-12 with a .457 hitting efficiency. She has recorded 202 kills this season with 27 errors on 383 attacks to average 2.93 kills per set, which leads SU. Brittany Howard adds 2.92 kills per set and Rachel Williams contributes 2.71 kills per set. Madi Bugg leads the league with 11.61 assists per set and has helped SU to a Pac-12 best .317 hitting percentage.
Defensively, the Cardinal has the third best digs per set in the Pac-12, averaging 16.42. Kyle Gilbert has a team-best mark at 4.97 digs per set, which is second in the league. Jordan Burgess adds 2.67 digs per set as well. SU is the top blocking team in the conference, averaging 2.99 blocks per set. Wopat is posting the second best mark in the Pac-12 with 1.39 blocks per set and Inky Ajanaku adds 1.34 blocks per set, the third highest in the conference.
Stanford has an 11-0 lead in the all-time series against CU. The Cardinal defeated the Buffs 3-0 in the first meeting this season on Oct. 12 in Maples Pavilion.
Cal is ranked 22nd overall in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll. The Bears are 15-7 this season and are tied for fourth with the Buffs in the Pac-12 with a 7-5 record. They are fresh off a 3-2 win against UCLA after dropping a four-set match to No. 4 USC last week. Cal is 2-2 this year on the road in Pac-12 play.
Adrienne Gehan is averaging the fifth best kills per set total in the Pac-12 with 4.27. Christina Higgins ranks second on the squad with 3.15 kills per set and Lara Vukasovic chips in 2.42 kills per set. Vukasovic has the best hitting percentage on the team, .352. The team is attacking at a .249 clip thanks to Joan Caloiaro who has been handing out 11.55 assists per set this season (second in the conference).
Mandy Kerr is leading the way in the back row for Cal with the league’s 10th best mark of 3.65 digs per set. Gehan adds an additional 3.12 and Caloiaro is third on the team with 3.00 digs per set. At the net, Cal is led by Vukasovic, who is recording 1.16 blocks per set. Lillian Schonewise is second with 0.97 blocks per set.
Cal owns a 4-2 record in the all-time series against the Buffs. Earlier this season, CU fell 3-0 to Cal in Berkeley, Calif. on Oct. 9.
And don’t forget to check out ‘This Week In Colorado Volleyball,’ online now at CUBuffs.com.