The University of Colorado volleyball team had a much better season in 2012, finishing 14-18 overall and tied for 10th in the Pac-12 Conference with a 4-16 record. The Buffs finished the non-conference portion of the schedule with a 10-2 record, one of the best starts in CU history. It was the 24th straight year that the Buffs had finished the non-conference portion of the schedule at or above .500. The 14 wins was the most by a CU team since 2006 (17).
The Buffs had a strong start out of the gate, winning the Sam Houston State Invitational. They started out with a three-set sweep of Texas Southern (25-8, 25-14, 25-8) and then blanked Louisiana-Lafayette (25-14, 25-20, 25-21). CU finished the tournament with a five-set come-from-behind victory over the host, SHSU, 19-25, 13-25, 25-21, 25-12, 15-12.
The Buffs defeated SHSU without the service of their team captain, senior Kerra Schroeder, who suffered a season-ending injury in the match against ULL. Freshman setter Nicole Edelman and redshirt sophomore outside hitter Emily Alexis were named to the all-tournament team, while freshman outside Alexis Austin took home the Most Valuable Player honors.
Colorado opened its home portion of the schedule the following week, hosting the Omni Hotels Colorado Volleyball Classic at the Coors Events Center. The Buffs started strong with a sweep of Cornell (25-19, 25-21, 25-21) before falling to Northern Arizona (26-24, 21-25. 22-25, 19-25) and Fresno State (26-28, 21-25, 20-25), the only two non-conference losses of the season. Junior middle blocker Nikki Lindow was CU's lone representative on the all-tournament team.
The Maddie Bingaman Memorial Tournament followed in Baltimore, Md. and saw the Buffs get back on the winning track, although they had to take the first match of the tournament against UMBC to five sets (25-17, 21-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-6). After that match, CU cruised to a pair of victories against Howard (25-14, 25-9, 25-8) and Robert Morris (25-22, 25-22, 25-17). Edelman became the first Buff since 2007 to serve up five or more aces in a match when she recorded six against Howard. Edelman and Lindow each earned their second all-tournament team honors of the season.
The Buffs had one last non-conference weekend back in the state of Colorado, starting with a match at the U.S. Air Force Academy against the Falcons. The Falcons put up a tough fight, pushing the Buffs to five-sets, but ultimately CU prevailed (37-35, 28-26, 24-26, 21-25, 15-12). The Buffs recorded 125 points in the win, tying the NCAA record for the most points in a five-set match since 2008.
CU returned to the CEC for its final two non-conference tilts. The Buffs defeated CSU Bakersfield in five sets (25-19, 23-25, 19-25, 25-13, 15-13) and swept Norfolk State (25-16, 25-22, 25-16).
The Pac-12 schedule got off to a great start for the Buffs as they defeated the Utah Utes in straight sets (25-21, 25-20, 25-21) at the CEC to equal the conference win total from the 2011 season. The Buffs pushed perennial powerhouse Cal to five sets at the CEC (25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 11-25, 8-15), but came out on the losing end. CU dropped the next two matches to Oregon State and No. 2 Oregon on the road, but returned home to the CEC and got back in the win column with a victory over Washington State, again in straight sets (25-17, 25-17, 29-27).
After losing the next match to No. 2 Washington (0-3), the Buffs bounced back against Arizona State, but it didn't come easy. CU was down 0-2 and after the intermission came out strong in front of a season-best crowd of 3,117 fans who were assembling for Buffs Madness with the men's and women's basketball teams after the match. The Buffs were able to feed off the crowd and defeated the Sun Devils in five sets (17-25, 17-25, 25-18, 25-21, 15-9).
CU lost the next four matches to Arizona, No. 6 UCLA, No. 7 USC and No. 3 Oregon before earning its fourth and final conference win of the season against Oregon State at the CEC. The Buffs recorded a big win against the Beavers, taking them to four sets (25-20, 15-25, 26-24, 25-22). CU would end up tied for 10th in the Pac-12 standings with OSU.
The Buffs never lost their fight despite dropping the remaining eight contests and even taking a set off of No. 2 Stanford in California.
Austin finished the season with a team-best 364 kills (3.14 kills per set) and attacked at a .172 hitting efficiency and Neira Ortiz Ruiz was second for the Buffs with 231 kills (2.24 kills per set). Kelsey English led the Buffs with a .316 hitting percentage (218 kill, 70 errors and 469 attacks). Edelman finished the season with 1,060 assists, which ranked ninth on CU's career assists chart. Her 9.22 assists per set was eighth in the Pac-12.
Freshman libero Chelsey Keoho lead the team with 299 digs and averaged 2.88 digs per set. Junior defensive specialist Elysse Richardson was second on the team with 221 digs (2.10 digs per set). The Buffs had a stronger block than in years past and were led by Lindow's 141 total blocks (10 solo and 131 assists), which tied for seventh on CU's single season chart. She averaged 1.22 blocks to lead the Buffs for the third straight year. English added 0.79 blocks per set with 92 total blocks and Edelman recorded 0.64 blocks per set (74 total blocks).
Austin was named the CU Athlete of the Week on four occasions during the season and Edelman and Lindow garnered one CU Athlete of the Week honor each. Both Edelman and Austin were named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman honorable mention team for their performances during the year.
Several Buffs were recognized for their accomplishments off the court. Richardson was named to the Academic All-Pac-12 First Team for the second straight season. Jessica Aschenbrenner, English and Ana Pantovic received honorable mention honors.