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Volleyball Nets Second Straight Big Eight Tournament Crown
Colorado breezed through the 1993 Big Eight season with an 11-1 record, winning its first ever conference championship and becoming just the second team to win the league title as Nebraska had dominated the circuit winning the previous 16 titles.
Wanting to validate both what they did in the regular season and what they did in the 1992 Big Eight Tournament, the Buffaloes repeated as Big Eight Tournament Champions. (Keyed in by CU Student Assistant SID Dara Miller).
By Jill Redding
OMAHA, Neb. —Just to prove that last year’s Big Eight Tournament win wasn’t a fluke—and to put the icing on the cake for the regular season title—the Colorado volleyball team did it again on Saturday night.
The Buffs, ranked No. 9 in the nation and No. 1 seed in the tournament, came from behind to beat No. 2 seed Nebraska in five games in the championship match in front of 2,552 at the Civic Auditorium.
CU, paced by senior setter and captain Nicole Vranesh—the Tournament MVP—won 7-15, 15-10, 9-15, 15-13, 15-11 to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which begins Wednesday. The Buffs will now likely be ranked either first or second in the Mideast Region, meaning they will get a first-round bye and host a second-round match on Sunday afternoon at the Coors Events Center.
Colorado improved to 25-5 for the season.
“There were no excuses this year,” said CU junior hitter Karrie Downey. “Last year (there were) a lot of questions surrounding this championship because Stephanie Thater (the two-time Big Eight MVP) was out (with an ankle injury).
“This year, we proved we can do it with anybody on the court.”
Downey, who was also named to the all-tournament team along with junior swing hitter Staci Wolfe, led all players with 25 kills and 27 digs.
Vranesh recorded 59 assists and had 17 digs for the Buffs.
“I’m a lot happier with our win this year,” Vranesh said. “We were able to defend what we did in the conference instead of just being satisfied with it.”
The Buffs kept their composure in the difficult 2½ -hour match. Despite dropping the first game, they came out strong in Game 2, taking a 4-1 lead and then battling away from and 8-8 tie.
Game 4 was a key, as CU stayed close with Nebraska, with the score tied at 5-5 and 9-9. The Buffs used two consecutive aces by junior Janine Zumerchik to keep the momentum going, and a kill by Wolfe (11 total kills) put the game away at 15-13.
The Buffs then used their rally-scoring strength to jump out to a commanding 9-2 lead in Game 5 behind strong hitting from sophomore Leah Williams and freshman Rachel Wacholder.
CU is 4-0 this season in five-game matches.
“This match was scripted just the way we preferred it to be,” said CU head coach Brad Saindon. “I don’t really know how that happened. We’re so good in fifth games, and I know my players felt confident at that point.”
NU head coach Terry Pettit agreed.“Colorado play real well,” he said. “They maintained their composure at critical points, and did a nice job of making good decisions.”
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