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Volleyball: Buffs Wrap Up Spring Practices With Tournament

Apr 20, 2006

The University of Colorado Volleyball team is finishing six weeks of practice by hosting five Rocky Mountain teams in the CU Spring Tournament this weekend at Carlson Gym.


Colorado State, Northern Colorado, Denver, Mesa State and Montana State will all join the Buffaloes Saturday for a full day of volleyball.


"We just want some playing time. We want to play against some other teams and have to respond to what other players do," coach Pi'i Aiu said. "It is hard, trying to figure out how to play against different teams, different player and different strengths and weaknesses."


            Aiu has liked what he has seen this spring from both returning and new players.


"Everything has gone real well and we have some young kids and some kids who have come in. Kristen Karlik, Emily Sisco and Callie Webster have just joined our team this semester and are doing a nice job for us. Our returnees are also playing real well. Lara (Bossow) has had a good spring up until now, she is out with an injury, and has been out for the last week or so. Austin Zimmerman is back and it is going to help having her around," Aiu said.


Karlik, a transfer from Colorado State is being looked toward to help the team defensively and as a leader because of her experience.


Aiu is looking for big contributions from Ashley Nu'u and Amber Sutherland this season.


"Both (Nu'u and Sutherland) had real strong years last year and if they can build on that and have solid years this year, that will help us a lot," Aiu said.


Nu'u, the team's starting setter last season, is fifth on the all-time career assists list. While Sutherland came on strong at the end of the 2005 season to lead the team in kills in the final nine games of last season.


            Aiu and his coaching staff of Jil Thomason and Erik Sullivan have been focusing on teaching the team to learn and think the game of volleyball this spring.


"We have been real focused on trying to get them to play volleyball the way we think volleyball should be played and getting them to think the game a little bit more. That will be a key for us next year. I think we will be a little bit more physical and balanced than we were last year. If we can think about the game a little bit more and attack when it is to our advantage and be safe when it is to our advantage we will be a better team," Aiu said.


The Buffs will be playing two scrimmages against Montana State on Friday at 5 and 7:30 p.m. then on Saturday they will take on Mesa State at 9 a.m., Denver at 10:30 a.m. and Colorado State at 3 p.m.