BALTIMORE, Md. - Freshman Alexis Austin hammered 13 kills as the Buffs swept Robert Morris 25-22, 25-22, 25-17 on Saturday afternoon at the Maddie Bingaman Memorial Tournament.
The Buffs finished the weekend with a perfect 3-0 record and improved to 7-2 on the season.
"A successful weekend was important for this team at this point in the season for multiple reasons," coach Liz Kritza said. "With a relatively young season and an ever younger team, finding ways to succeed is paramount to the overall quality of our season."
Nikki Lindow was second offensively for the team against RMU with 12 kills and Kelsey English was third with seven kills. CU recorded 48 kills in the win and hit .268. Nicole Edelman handed out 39 assists and directed the Buffs to a .268 hitting percentage.
Defensively the Buffs recorded 47 digs and posted 9.0 blocks. Elysse Richardson had 11 digs and Lindow led the Buffs at the net with six blocks, one solo and five assists. English and Alexis each added three block assists.
"Richardson kept the team going with her aggressive play and a positive team first mentality," Kritza said. "She showed good leadership this weekend and with our recent success, she is encouraging everyone to be even more committed to our common goals.
"This tournament helped us to continue building our team into a unified group that will be able to perform, especially when facing tough challenges. We will need to continue growing and working together to prepare for the upcoming Pac-12 season, and being able to have many players contribute early on will help us as we face the quality opponents we have in our league. "
CU held RMU to a .143 hitting percentage. The Colonials had just 35 kills and were led by Lindsey Monger's 11 kills.
The Buffs took a 9-3 lead to start the match, but the Colonials cut that lead to a point at 12-11. Colorado put together a 5-1 run to go back up by five (17-12). RMU pulled together a 5-2 rally to bring the score to 20-17 and this time it was CU that used a timeout. The Colonials tied the score at 21, but the Buffs maintained their composure and finished the set 25-22.
RMU got out to a 10-7 advantage in the second set, but the Buffs evened the score at 11-11. CU took the lead at 13-12, but it was a back-and-forth game until the Buffs took a three-point lead at 20-17. The Colonials continued to push CU and got within a point at 22-21. CU turned it up and only gave up one more point as the Buffs finished the set 25-22.
Colorado had a 10-6 advantage in the third set and increased it to 14-7. RMU chipped away at the Buffs' lead, taking the next three in a row, so the Buffs used a timeout. The Buffs stayed a safe distance in front of the Colonials and even got back to a seven-point lead at 22-15. CU finished the set 25-17.
In the first match of the day, the Buffs easily defeated Howard 3-0 (25-14, 25-9, 25-8). Lindow led CU with nine kills and hit .667 with just one error on 12 attacks. Ana Pantovic hit 1.000 in the match, connecting on all five attempts for five kills. English, Neira Ortiz Ruiz and Austin each hammered four kills. CU had 27 kills in the win and hit .333.
"Our team offense was very efficient in the match against Howard and it was highlighted by a perfect showing from Pantovic and a match high performance by Lindow," Kritza said.
Colorado had 12 service aces in the win. Edelman served up a career-high six aces. It was the first time since 2007 that a Buff had recorded five or more aces in a single match. Jessica Aschenbrenner also had a pair of aces while four others recorded at least one ace.
The Bison hit -.150 for the match and didn't hit above .000 in any set during the entire match. They recorded just 13 kills and had 23 errors on 64 swings. HU also had nine service errors and four ball handling errors.
The Buffs easily won the first set 25-14. They started off the game with a 12-5 lead and increased it to 20-9. CU held steady as the Bison committed nine hitting errors and four service errors while attacking at a -143 percentage.
CU got out to an 11-3 lead in the second set before Howard called its first timeout of the set. The Buffs continued their stampede, extending the lead to a 10-point advantage at 17-7. The Bison took the next two points (17-9), but those were the final points of the set for HU as CU finished the set on an 8-0 run (25-9).
The third set started like the second with CU taking an 11-3 lead and Howard spending a timeout. The Buffs didn't take their feet off the gas pedal though and finished the set with a 14-5 run (25-8).
"On the weekend, both middles, Lindow and English, were steady on both the attacking and defensive fronts, and Alexis Austin is deserving of recognition for her work to continue her development as a mainstay in the offense," Kritza said. "Nicole Edelman is taking the lead in orchestrating our offense and continuing to aid our young attackers in their own development."
CU will return to Colorado for three matches next week. On Thursday, Sept. 13, the Buffs will travel to the U.S. Air Force Academy to face off against the Falcons. They will return to the friendly confines of the Coors Events Center on Saturday, Sept. 15 for a pair of matches at the Colorado Invitational. CU will host CSU Bakersfield at 11 a.m. and Norfolk State at 3 p.m.