TUCSON, Ariz. — The University of Colorado volleyball team fought hard but the tables were turned on Sunday afternoon, as Arizona won 3-0 (25-10, 25-20, 25-16) at the McKale Center. In the earlier meeting this season, it was the Buffs that came away with the sweep.
CU’s had difficulties offensively, hitting just .018 in the match with 26 kills and 24 errors on 110 swings. Taylor Simpson led the team with 10 kills and Kerra Schroeder and Katelyn Cuff each had four kills in the effort. Cuff had the best hitting percentage on the team at .250 with two errors on eight attacks.
“Today’s match was riddled with unforced errors that simply cannot exist in order to be successful against a team playing as well as Arizona is right now,” coach Liz Kritza said.
With the loss, the Buffs are now 15-11 overall, 7-9 in the Pac-12, while UA improved to 19-9 overall (9-7 in the Pac-12).
“We are at that point right now, where we need to create some momentum at the tail of the season and put ourselves in a position to be successful down the home stretch,” Kritza said. “Keeping perspective of our program’s whole body of work is key while we operate with great diligence and a sense of urgency in preparing for the remaining two weeks of regular season play.”
The Buffs used two setters in the match with Nicole Edelman and Makayla Lundin. Edelman had 14 assists and Lundin recorded seven.
“Both setters were working hard to get something going on the offensive end, but it wasn’t happening today,” Kritza explained. “We will get back in the gym and work harder to ensure that we put forth a strong offensive performance in our next outing.”
Defensively the Buffs recorded 41 digs and 3.0 team blocks. Cierra Simpson had a match-best 14 digs and Edelman had eight digs. Nikki Lindow led CU with one block solo and one block assist.
Madi Kingdon led UA with 13 kills and Jane Croson had 10 kills. The Wildcats hit .305 with 44 kills and 12 errors on 105 attacks. Candace Nicholson picked up 12 digs and Kingdon posted eight blocks (three solo and five assists).
The Wildcats took control of the first set by taking a 5-1 lead, forcing Kritza to call a quick timeout. The Buffs closed the gap to three at 10-7, but that was as close as CU would get. The Buffs would take another timeout at 15-8, but couldn’t slow down the Wildcats’ attack as they went on to finish the set 25-10. UA hit .382 and held the Buffs to a -.054 hitting percentage.
The Buffs started set two with an 8-4 lead before the Wildcats called their first timeout of the match. CU maintained the lead until UA tied the set up at 12-12 and took the advantage on the following point. The Wildcats went on to take a 19-16 lead before CU used a timeout. The Buffs tried to regain the lead but fell short as UA took the frame 25-20.
UA started the third set with an 8-2 lead, forcing CU to take a timeout. The Buffs tried to work on the Wildcats’ advantage, but once again had to call a timeout at 14-6. CU kept forging ahead and got within five points at 18-13, at which point UA decided to call a timeout. The Wildcats took the first three points out of that break and went on to take the set 25-16.
“We threw everything we had at them today and it simply was not enough,” Kritza said. “When you have talented players who also have great character and work ethic, then difficulties like today’s matches can be the impetus to great success as a team. The heightened awareness, increased focus, and will to prepare make a team a little hungrier for that next win.”
CU will return home to the friendly confines of the Coors Events Center to start a three-match home stand with a pair of contests next weekend. The Buffs will face Oregon State on Friday, Nov. 22 at 5 p.m. and Oregon on Sunday, Nov. 24 at 11 a.m. Both matches will be televised regionally on the Pac-12 Network.
“In a league of this caliber, the focus must be on each individual match, who the next opponent is and how to be successful against that team on that particular night,” Kritza stated. “We will be ready for next weekend’s home stand and look forward to a strong performance for our great fans in Coors Events Center.”