BOULDER- Junior Nikki Lindow led the University of Colorado volleyball team with nine kills, but it wasn't enough as the Buffs fell in three sets to Fresno State (28-26, 25-21, 25-20) on Saturday night in the last match of the Omni Hotels Colorado Volleyball Classic.
Lindow, who was named to the all-tournament team, also led CU with five block assists in the match. Freshman Alexis Austin had eight kills for the Buffs and sophomore Kelsey English added seven kills with a team-best hitting percentage of .294. English also posted four block assists. Defensively CU was led by freshman Chelsey Keoho's nine digs. Freshman Nicole Edelman and sophomore Emily Alexis each added eight digs for the Buffs.
"I think tonight we can see what an impact we've had in the last week by losing Kerra Schroeder," coach Liz Kritza said. "You see multiple players out there trying to find their way through some new line-ups. We have a young group and unfortunately it takes them time to learn. You can't switch a line-up and replace your returning senior captain just like that.
"I also think a lot of our young players are just going through their learning curve. Unfortunately, they don't necessarily have that time. A lot of times when freshmen get to campus, they can have a few weeks before we get out on the court; well, our whole line-up flipped upside-down last weekend and there is no time like the present. It's going be baptism by fire. You have to go through some really difficult times and I think that's what these last two matches today were, and you can't do it against teams that are very disciplined and against teams that have all junior and senior rosters."
The Buffs got out to a strong start in the first set, taking an 8-3 lead. The Bulldogs answered with a 7-2 run to tie the score at 10-10. The two teams traded off points until FS went on a 4-0 run to go up 16-13, forcing Kritza to use a timeout. CU swung the momentum its way and was able to tie the score at 18. The Bulldogs went back up 22-20 and then had set point at 24-22. Neira Ortiz Ruiz and Keoho each recorded a kill to tie the score at 24. The score would be tied two more times before Fresno State recorded two straight points to win the set 28-26.
The second set started a little slow for CU, trailing 10-5. The Buffs answered with a 6-0 run to take an 11-10 advantage. The two teams kept the set close until FS took at two-point lead at 22-20, forcing the Buffs to use a timeout. CU tried to get back in the game but fell 25-21.
Colorado took an 8-3 lead in the third set, but after a FS timeout, the Bulldogs went on an 8-2 rally to take an 11-10 lead. The game remained close until FS went up 17-14, forcing the Buffs to take a timeout. Colorado made a push for a fourth set, getting back within a point at 20-19, but the Bulldogs closed the set and won the match at 25-20.
With the loss, CU dropped to 4-2 on the season, while the Bulldogs improved to 4-2. Marissa Brand had 14 kills for Fresno State and Korrin Wild added 12. Megan Callahan had 11 kills and hit a match-high .526 with only one error on 19 attacks.
In the morning match, CU fell to Northern Arizona in four sets (24-26, 25-21, 25-22, 25-19). Lindow recorded 15 kills for the Buffs and Austin added 13 in the effort. As a team the Buffs combined for 56 kills and hit .188. Janae Vander Ploeg had a match-high 21 kills for NAU.
The Buffs out-blocked NAU with 11.0 team blocks to NAU's 10.0. Lindow had nine blocks (three solos and six assists) and Edelman added four block assists. CU picked up 57 digs and was led by Keoho's 13 digs. Anna Gott had a match-high 25 digs for NAU.
The Lumberjacks were 3-0 at the tournament (6-0 overall) and won the Omni Hotels Colorado Volleyball Classic. After beating CU in three sets they swept Cornell 25-16, 25-20, 25-17 on Saturday. NAU's Kelli Dallmann was named the tournament's MVP.
The Buffs will head back on the road next weekend for a trio of matches at the Maddie Bingaman Memorial Tournament in Baltimore. They will face UMBC on Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. ET. CU will face off against Howard on Saturday at 8 a.m. ET and Robert Morris at 2 p.m. ET.
OMNI HOTELS COLORADO VOLLEYBALL CLASSIC
MVP - Kelli Dallmann (NAU)
Janae Vander Ploeg (NAU)
Anna Gott (NAU)
Marissa Brand (FS)
Maci Murdock (FS)
Nikki Lindow (CU)
Rachel D'Epanier (Cornell)