TEMPE, Ariz. - Despite getting out to a strong start in the first set, the University of Colorado volleyball team wasn't able to sustain its momentum and fell in four sets (20-25, 25-19, 25-7, 25-15) to Arizona State on Sunday night at Wells Fargo Arena.
With the loss, the Buffs dropped to 14-16 overall, 4-14 in the Pac-12 Conference. Arizona State improved to 18-12 overall and 7-11 in the conference.
Sophomore Neira Ortiz Ruiz led the Buffs with 10 kills and freshman Alexis Austin added eight kills. Sophomore Emily Alexis recorded seven kills in three sets for the Buffs.
CU hit .098 in the match after starting off with a .321 hitting percentage in the first set. The Sun Devils hit .111 in the first set and went on to hit .262 for the match.
ASU's Nora Tuioti-Mariner notched a match-high 18 kills and hit .464, while Macey Gardner recorded 17 kills for the Sun Devils.
Defensively the Buffs totaled 55 digs, just four less than ASU's 59. Freshman Chelsey Keoho picked up a team-best 15 digs, while Austin and freshman Nicole Edelman each added eight digs.
The CU block put up 9.0 team blocks, most of which came in the first two sets. Sophomore Kelsey English, Lindow and Edelman each recorded four blocks to lead the Buffs and sophomore Ana Pantovic added three block assists.
The first set was played very closely and had 12 ties and five lead changes before the Buffs took a 17-16 lead. After another two points for the Buffs, ASU used its first timeout of the set (19-16) and took the first two points out of the break. But CU answered back with another pair of points forcing the Devils to take their final timeout. The Buffs posted a pair of points out of the timeout, including a block solo from Austin and a pair of block assists from Pantovic and Lindow, to take a 23-18 advantage. CU was able to hold ASU off and finished the set 25-20.
The second set also started out very close. CU lead at 10-9 when the Sun Devils put together a 5-0 run to take a 15-10 lead. The Buffs tried to get back into the game and used a 5-3 run to bring the score to 18-15, but again ASU added to its lead and went up 22-16. The Buffs took three of the next four points, but ASU recorded the final two points of the set to win 25-19.
ASU took control of the third game from the start, going up 10-2. The Sun Devils continued to pull away and won 25-7. ASU held the Buffs to a -.200 hitting percentage while attacking at a .321 percentage.
The Buffs came out stronger in the fourth set and were tied five times with ASU before the Sun Devils went up 14-11. After a CU timeout, the Sun Devils added to their lead with a 5-1 run (19-12). Unfortunately the Buffs were not able to close the gap and fell 25-15.
"This wasn't the outcome we had hoped for tonight," coach Liz Kritza said. "But we can't dwell on it. We need to move forward and prepare to play some high quality opponents in just a few days."
Colorado will finish its four-match road trip next week with a pair of contests. The Buffs will face No. 1 Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., on Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 9 p.m. MT and Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. MT. Both matches will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.