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Buffaloes Host New Mexico State In NCAA First Round

Nov 29, 2006

ON TAP: Colorado (16-10) will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, Nov. 30 and Friday, Dec. 1. The first match will be between Colorado State (20-9) and No. 3 Washington (25-4) on Nov. 30 is at 5 p.m. Colorado will host No. 19 New Mexico State (33-3) at 7 p.m. The winner of the two matches will meet on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.

TICKETS: Tickets can be purchased at, TicketsWest or by calling 303-49-BUFFS. Package seating for all three matches starts at $12 for reserved seating. General admission is $10, students and seniors are $6, children, ages 3-12, are $4 and 2 and under are free.

Single match tickets will be available after 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30 for purchase. Reserved seats are $7, students and seniors are $5, children ages 3-12 are $4. Children 2 and under are free.

The first 100 CU students will get in free to the matches.

ON THE WEB: Livestats will be available through CSTV for the match. They can be accessed through or

Internet streaming will also be available for the CU matches at The broadcasts will be free to the public. Go to the live streaming banner on the left-hand side of and click on the link.

ABOUT THE BUFFS: Colorado is 16-11 overall and 12-8 in the Big 12. The Buffs finished the Big 12 tied for fourth in the league with Iowa State.

CU started the year off with a victory against Denver, but fell to three top-10 teams in then #10 UCLA, #7 HawaiGÇÖi and #5 Florida at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. The Buffs bounced back with three straight sweeps at the Colorado Invitational to finish the nonconference schedule above .500 for the 18th straight season.

The Buffs went 6-4 in the first half of the conference season. They recorded a huge win against then-17th-ranked Missouri and included victories against Texas Tech, Kansas, Texas A&M, Kansas State and Baylor. CU fell to #1 Nebraska, #5 Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa State.

CU finished the second half of the league the same way as the first, with a 6-4 record. Highlighting the last half was a five-game win against top-ranked Nebraska. The Buffs also beat Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Kansas and Baylor. Colorado lost to Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Iowa State.

Senior Ashley NuGÇÖu has tallied 1,263 assists to average 12.50 per game, which ranks fifth in the Big 12. In league only matches, she is averaging 12.69 assists, which is sixth. Freshman Kaitlyn Burkett made her collegiate debut with one game against Florida. She has seen action in eight games this season, dishing out 33 assists to average 4.25 per game. Thanks to the direction of NuGÇÖu and Burkett, the Buffs are hitting .219 on the season; eighth in the league. In conference matches, CU is hitting .215, which ranks sixth.

Colorado has averaged 15.71 kills per game this season, which ranks fourth in the conference. Junior Amber Sutherland leads CU with 4.23 kills per game, which is good for fourth in the league. Sutherland is averaging 4.32 in Big 12 contests, which is tied for third. Sophomore Mallori Gibson adds 3.41 kpg and is averaging a team best 0.29 aces per game.

On the right side, sophomore Alex Buth is averaging 2.11 kills per game. Buth is also averaging 1.98 digs and 0.59 blocks per game.

The Buffalo middles have been taking care of business in 2006. Senior Lara Bossow has averaged 2.03 kills per game. She adds 0.85 blocks per game and is hitting .240. Sophomore Lauren Schaefer adds a team-high 0.91 blocks per game (85 total), along with 2.32 kpg. She is hitting .300 overall and .308 in league contests (10th in the Big 12). Senior Austin Zimmerman has recorded 1.85 kpg and is third in the team with 0.82 bpg and is hitting .340 (sixth in the Big 12). Zimmerman is third in league only matches at .344.

Junior transfer Kristen Karlik ranks first for the Buffs with 4.09 digs per game and ranks fifth in the league. In conference only matches, she is averaging 4.13 and ranks fourth. She has also added 20 aces which includes two in CUGÇÖs upset of #1 Nebraska. Sophomore transfer Callie Webster has picked up 178 digs on the year to average 1.91 dpg in 93 games.

All of CUGÇÖs 11 losses have come to CSTV/AVCA Top 25 ranked or receiving votes opponents.

ABOUT THE AGGIES: New Mexico State comes into the tournament with a 33-3 overall record and finished second in the WAC standings with a 14-2 record. Its only losses were to HawaiGÇÖi.

Jackie Choi has led the Aggies to a .276 hitting percentage. She has averaged 12.04 assists (1,481) in 123 games this season. Her main target this year has been Alice Borden. Borden has averaged 3.90 kills per game (480) and hits .262. Amber Simpson has also been a top target, averaging 3.19 kpg (392) and hits a team-best .397.

Simpson adds 1.24 blocks per game. Kim Oguh tops the team with 1.38 bpg. The Aggies average 2.87 bpg.

Krystal Torres has picked up a team-best 4.89 digs per game. NMSU averages 16.05 per game this season.

ABOUT THE HUSKIES: Washington is the reigning national champion and owns a 25-4 overall record and finished with a 15-3 record.

Courtney Thompson has dished out 1,492 assists to direct UW to a .292 hitting percentage. Thompson leds the NCAA with 14.92 assists per game. Christal Morrison leads the team with 4.80 kills per game and is hitting at a .276 clip. Stevie Mussie has recorded 3.86 kills per game.

The Huskies average 2.85 blocks per game. Jessica Swarbrick puts up a team best 1.35 bpg and Alesha Deesing adds 1.09 per game.

Tamari Miyashiro has recorded 5.50 digs per game. The Huskies pick up 17.11 per game.

ABOUT THE RAMS: Colorado State owns a 20-9 overall record and comes into the tournament after winning the Mountain West Conference title over then-ninth-ranked Utah.

CSU is attacking at a .237 clip under the direction of Ashley Fornstrom. She averages 12.55 assists per game. Jaime Strauss leads the Rams with 3.49 kills per game. Mekana Barnes has 3.15 per game and is attacking at a .288 percentage.

Tessa Nelson tops the Rams with 1.06 blocks per game. CSU puts up 2.81 per game.

The Rams average 15.30 digs per game. They are led by Katelin Batten with 3.83 per game.

THE SERIES: Colorado owns a 1-0 advantage over New Mexico State. The Buffs defeated the Aggies at the CECC on Sept. 18, 1998 in three games.

The CU-UW series is tied at 1. The Huskies won the first time (9/14/91) in four games. The Buffs won the next meeting (9/14/03) at the CECC in four.

Colorado State owns a 19-11 lead against the Buffs. CSU has won the last three matches, which includes knocking CU out of the NCAA Tournament last season. The BuffsGÇÖ last win against the Rams was on Sept. 10, 2002. If CU and CSU do not meet in the second round of the tournament, this will be the first time in CUGÇÖs 21-year history it has not played CSU.

WHAT DO WE HAVE IN COMMON?: Colorado has two opponents in common with each of the three teams this weekend.

New Mexico State and CU have both played Texas Tech and HawaiGÇÖi. NMSU defeated TTU 23-30, 31-29, 27-30, 30-22, 15-10 on August 26. The Aggies are 1-2 against the Rainbow Wahine this season. NMSU won a five-game match at home against UH, but dropped the final two, including the WAC Title match.

The Buffs swept their season series against TTU, winning each match in three games. CU fell to UH at the beginning of the season in three.

Washington shares Texas and UCLA with CU. UW lost the NACWAA/AVCA championship match to UT in five games. The Huskies also split the season series with UCLA, dropping the first match in five games, but winning the second in four.

CU lost both of its matches to Texas and its match against UCLA in three games each.

Colorado State started its season with a four-game loss to Texas A&M and swept Denver.

The Buffs swept the series against the Aggies, winning in three and five games and swept Denver to open the 2006 season.

SAME TOURNEY, SAME TEAMS, SAME STATE, DIFFERENT CITY: In 2005, Washington, Colorado and Colorado State gathered in Fort Collins, Colo. for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Washington went on to win the national championship. This year the same three have gathered in Boulder for the tournament.

NCAA CHAMPIONS WELCOME HERE: For the last two seasons, CU has hosted the reigning national champion. In 2005, the Buffs welcomed Stanford after winning the 2004 NCAA title. Washington won the 2005 title and will make their case for a repeat starting in Boulder.

ELITE COMPANY: Only 13 NCAA Division I teams can claim they have been to at least 15 (out of a possible 16) NCAA Tournaments since 1991. Colorado is one of those teams and joins an impressive list of college volleyball powerhouses.

All 16 15 of 16

UC-Santa Barbara Colorado

Florida UCLA

Long Beach State HawaiGÇÖi

Nebraska Louisville

Penn State Notre Dame

Stanford Ohio State


A DECADE WITH PIGÇÖI AIU: PiGÇÖi Aiu (pronounced P-E I-U) is in his 10th season as ColoradoGÇÖs head coach sporting a career record of 178-115. The 1997 Big 12 and District V Coach of the Year, Aiu has led the Buffs to eight NCAA Tournaments in nine seasons, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 1997. Under his guidance, the Buffs have sported three All-Americans, 10 All-Region, and 21 All-Big 12 performers. Aiu has been involved in the Colorado volleyball program in some capacity since its inception in 1986.

Aiu, who has led the Buffs to a 120-80 record in Big 12 matches, is joined on the bench this season by seventh-year assistant Jil Thomason and third-year assistant and USA Olympian, Erik Sullivan.

Aiu is 1-0 against New Mexico State and 2-9 versus Colorado State. Aiu has never faced Washington as a head coach.

TAKING DOWN GOLIATH: The Colorado Buffaloes defeated top-ranked Nebraska on Saturday, Nov. 11, for the first time since Oct. 28, 1997. The victory marked the first time CU has ever defeated a No. 1 ranked opponent in its 21-year history. The Buffs won in a five-game thriller.

NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Colorado senior setter Ashley NuGÇÖu was named the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week for her performance in two Colorado victories (11/6-11/12). NuGÇÖu led the Buffs to a three-game win against Kansas and a five-game upset of the top-ranked and undefeated Nebraska Cornhuskers. Colorado earned its first win over a No. 1 ranked opponent for the first time in school history.

The Aurora, Colo., native handed out 107 assists in eight games, including all 62 of CUGÇÖs assists against Nebraska. She averaged 13.38 for the week. The Buffs hit .241 against the Jayhawks and .162 against the Huskers to average a .195 attack percentage. NuGÇÖu also added nine kills, an ace, 15 digs, two blocks and hit .400.

NuGÇÖu directed CU to its first win over Nebraska since Oct. 28, 1997 in front of a Coors Events Center record crowd of 4,111. The loss for NU was just its second conference loss in three seasons and its first loss since falling in the NCAA Championship match in 2005. Prior to the victory, the highest ranked opponent CU had defeated was fourth when the Buffs beat the Huskers in 1997.

In the match against Kansas, NuGÇÖu moved to fourth on CUGÇÖs all-time career assists chart. She is currently 165 assists from third on the list. With 1,068 assists this season, she is 15th on the single-season assists chart. She is also seventh (1,448) and 13th on the list (1,146).

For the week, NuGÇÖu averaged 1.12 kills, 0.12 aces, 1.88 digs, 0.25 blocks and 1.38 points per game. She was also named Big 12 Volleyball Player of the Week for the second time in her career. She was also selected on Oct. 31, 2005 after Colorado knocked off eighth-ranked Missouri in five games at Columbia.

NuGÇÖu is ColoradoGÇÖs first Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week since Nov. 8, 1999 when Kelly Campbell, also a setter, earned the honor. The Buffs have only received this national honor three times. The other Buff to be named was Sarah Lodge on Oct. 13, 1997. Allie Griffin earned national recognition last season and was the first Buff to be named the Collegiate Volleyball Update National Player of the Week on Oct. 18.

BETTER THAN LAST YEAR: Colorado is currently 16-11 overall and 12-8 in the Big 12. The Buffs have recorded one more win than last season when they finished 15-13. CU has also bettered its conference record by two wins. The 2005 team finished 10-10 in the Big 12.

RECORD CROWD: A Coors Events Center Colorado volleyball record crowd of 4,111 saw CU upset top-ranked Nebraska in five games on Saturday, Nov. 11. The previous record of 3,685 was set on Nov. 16, 1994 and was also against Nebraska. The Buffs fell 3-0 in that match.

SET IT UP: Ashley NuGÇÖu recorded all of CUGÇÖs 62 assists against Nebraska (11/11). It was the first time a CU setter has handed out all of the BuffGÇÖs assists since Nov. 3, 1999 when Kelly Campbell recorded all 58 assists against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas in five games.

WEGÇÖLL TAKE FIVE: Colorado owns a 7-3 record in five-game matches this season for a .700 winning percentage. Two of the losses have been against top-25 opponent Oklahoma.

CAREER-HIGH ANYONE?: Four Buffs either set a career-high or tied a career-high in a five-game win against Kansas State on Nov. 1. Ashley NuGÇÖu recorded 74 assists, which ranks 14th in school history. Lauren Schaefer recorded 19 kills and Alex Buth tallied 17. Mallori Gibson tied her career-best with 18 kills.

CAREER-HIGH PART 2: CU had four Buffs record 15 or more kills in a match on Nov. 1 against KSU for the first time since Sept. 6, 2001 when Meghan Barkman (15), Kim Taskey (16), Sonja Russell (15) and Monique Gerlach (16) did it against BYU. Besides Schaefer (19), Buth (17) and Gibson (18), Amber Sutherland added 18.

TAKIN CARE OF BUSINESS: Colorado completed the sweep of K-State on Nov. 1 for the first time since 1997. The Buffs have now won four of its last six meetings against the Wildcats.

BRING OUT THE BROOMS: The Buffs swept the season series against Texas A&M for the first time in school history. CU defeated A&M in three games on Sept. 27 in Boulder and completed the sweep on Oct. 25 with a five-game thriller. The win also marked the second straight season the Buffs have defeated the Aggies on their home court.

TAKING THE LITTLE APPLE: Colorado won its first match in Manhattan, Kan., since Nov. 3, 1999. It was also the first three-game victory over the Wildcats in Kansas since Nov. 19, 1994.

SUPER STAR: Amber Sutherland recorded a career-high 35 kills against No. 17 Missouri on Sept. 13. It was the third-most kills any CU player has recorded in a match (the most being 40 by Sarah Lodge in 1997). Sutherland also hit at a clip of .397, added four assists, four block assists and 14 digs. Only five other Buffs have hit 30 or more kills in a match. Sarah Lodge did it twice (40 and 36), as did Karrie Downey (34 twice). They are joined by current AVP standout Rachel Wacholder (32), Staci Wolfe (31) and Tina Murray (30). Sutherland

was also named Big 12 Player of the Week for her efforts.

BIG 12 OPENERS: The Buffs have won four of its five last Big 12 openers; including one in 2004 against No. 15 Kansas State. The only Big 12 opener CU has dropped in the last five years was in 2005 against No. 18 Texas in Austin.

A THREE-GAME RECORD: Colorado set a school record for hitting percentage in a three-game match against Central Connecticut State at .528 at the Colorado Invitational on Sept. 8. The Buffs recorded 56 kills on 89 swings and committed just nine errors. It is also the highest hitting percentage recorded in a match for CU.

THE NEWEST BUFFS: The Colorado volleyball coaching staff recently had two additions in the month of August. On Friday, August 11, Erik and Amanda Sullivan welcomed a baby boy, Cade Kian. The SullivansGÇÖ also have a daughter, Shaye (4). Jil and Chance Thomason added a baby girl, Matilda Jane, to their family on Thursday, August 31. She joins sisters Isabel (5) and Josephine (3).

A HELPING HAND: Andy Klussmann, a veteran volleyball coach, filled in for Colorado assistant coach Jil Thomason while she is on maturnity leave. Klussmann was the second assistant coach at Colorado State University from 2000-04. During that time, he was responsible for working with the middle blockers, travel, recruiting and scouting.

Klussmann played volleyball at UCLA from 1983-86 and helped the Bruins win back-to-back national championships in 1983-84. In 1984, the team went 38-0 enroute to the championship.

Klussmann has found his way back to coaching after making a remarkable recovery from a tragic car accident in 2004 that claimed his wife JannaGÇÖs life. This past club season, he coached the Norco 17 Black team. As for joining the Colorado volleyball team, Klussmann says, "IGÇÖm having a great time."

Klussmann has two stepchildren, Sarah and Seth and two young sons, Drew and Jackson and resides in Fort Collins, Colo.

BUFF BITS: Austin Zimmerman averaged 6.00 digs in the season opener against DU...CU played to a crowd of 7,071 against HawaiGÇÖi (9/2) in Honolulu...Alex Buth was the lone CU representative on the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic All-Tournament Team... Freshman Kaitlyn Burkett made her collegiate debut against #5 Florida and added seven assists and two kills...Ashley NuGÇÖu was named the Colorado Invitational All-Tournament Team MVP...Kristen Karlik and Amber Sutherland were also named to the team...Lauren Schaefer and Ashley NuGÇÖu recorded zero errors against Cincinnati (9/7). Schaefer hammered 11 kills on 16 swings (.688) and NuGÇÖu tallied six kills on nine swings (.667)...Kristen Karlik became the first Buff to record more that 20 digs in a match since 2003 with 21 against Cincinnati (9/7)...CU hit a school-record .528 hitting percentage in a three-game match against Central Connecticut State (9/8)...Seven Buffs hit above .400 against CCSU, with four hitting above .600...Kaitlyn Burkett dished out 17 assists in two games against CCSU (9/8)...The Buffs launched 10 aces against Southern Miss (9/9) for the first time since 2003...Amber Sutherland recorded 35 kills to become the sixth Buff to reach 30 or more kills in a match against Missouri (9/13). The 35 kills was the third highest total in school history...Kristen Karlik notched 26 digs against Mizzou, becoming the first Buff since 2003 to pick up 25 or more digs...The Buffs are on a five-match win streak...Amber Sutherland was named the Big 12 Conference Volleyball Player of the Week on Sept. 18...Mallori Gibson and Amber Sutherland each tallied 18 kills against Kansas (9/23)...Gibson was named the CU Athlete of the Week on Sept. 25...CU swept Texas A&M (9/27) for the first time since Nov. 11, 2000...Austin Zimmerman recorded 11 kill matches in back-to-back wins against Kansas (9/23) and Texas A&M (9/27)...Colorado is 8-2 at home and is 4-1 in five-game matches this season... The loss to OU in Boulder marked the first time CU has fallen to the Sooners on its home court since Oct. 13, 1988... Amber Sutherland recorded 25 kills against OU (9/30), recording the third-highest total in her career...CU recorded its first win in Manhattan, Kan., since Nov. 3, 1999 on Oct. 7...Amber Sutherland was the only Buff to reach double-figures in kills with 18 against KSU (10/7). Kristen Karlik was the only Buff with double-figures in digs at 17...Jil ThomasonGÇÖs first match back after maturnity leave was on Oct. 11 against ISU...CU rallied from a 1-2 deficit to defeat Baylor on Oct. 18 in Waco, Texas...The Buffs swept the 2006 season series against Texas A&M for the first time in school history...CU also swept the series against K-State for the first time since 1997...Four Buffs (Lauren Schaefer, Amber Sutherland, Mallori Gibson, Alex Buth) recorded 15 or more kills in a match on Nov. 1 against KSU for the first time since Sept. 6, 2001 against BYU...CU played its first four-game match against Mizzou on Nov. 4...The Buffs defeated Nebraska for the first time since 1997 and handed the Huskers their first loss of the season...The match was played in front of a record crowd of 4,111 at the Coors Events Center...Ashley NuGÇÖu recorded all of CUGÇÖs 62 assists in the victory...CU has the chance to earn its 200th win at the Coors Events Center on Thursday night... CU will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997...CU is 5-0 in tournament play at the CECC.

COORS SWEET COORS: Colorado will call the Coors Events/Conference Center home for the 18th straight season. The Buffs are 199-68 all time at the CECC for a winning percentage of .745. CU is 11-3 at the CECC this season.

21st SEASON: The 2006 season will be the 21st for the Colorado volleyball program. Since debuting as a varsity program in the fall of 1986, the Buffs have an overall record of 388-246, including one conference title (Big Eight in 1993). CU has advanced to 16 NCAA Tournaments in 21 years, 15 of which have come since 1991. The Buffs are one of only 15 NCAA Division I programs with at least 15 appearances since 1991.