Spikers Suffer Tough Loss Against Duke
BOULDER-The University of Colorado volleyball team fought hard but fell in five sets to Duke University (25-18, 26-28, 18-25, 25-16, 15-10) on Saturday night at the Coors Events Center.
"The challenges that face a young team early in the season are very important," coach Liz Kritza said. "Despite a tough loss, we learned a valuable lesson tonight about maximizing opportunities to finish a set about managing the efficiency of our play both offensively and defensively.
"We faced a strong squad in Duke tonight, and credit to them for pulling out the win. I would expect to see them have a successful season and fare well in their conference. "
Colorado and Duke are both 1-1 on the season.
Sophomore Kerra Schroeder led the Buffs for the second night with 15 kills and added three aces, seven digs and two blocks. Junior Anicia Santos led CU with a .370 hitting percentage after hammering 10 kills on 27 errorless swings. She also posted four block assists.
"(Kerra Schroeder) 'Boo' was a strong leader for this squad tonight and was called upon time and again to step up, something that was good to see from a young leader," Kritza said. "Anicia put forth a good showing and made good progress in executing our blocking schemes tonight, something that will serve her well in the future."
The Buffs were led defensively by a pair of freshmen; Megan Beckwith and Hannah Walker. Beckwith recorded 18 digs and Walker added 13.
Duke took control of the first set with a 5-2 run. CU battled, but had some difficulty siding out and the Blue Devils took an eight-point lead at 18-10. Colorado didn't give up and got back within five at 23-18, but was unable to complete the comeback as Duke took the next two points to win 25-18. The Blue Devils hit .367 with 17 kills in the set and held CU to just seven kills and a .111 attack percentage.
The second set was full of excitement with 16 lead changes and five ties. Duke took the first four points, but the Buffs put the next five points in their column to take a 5-4 lead. The two teams battled back and forth with no team taking more than a two-point lead until Duke put together a 4-0 run to take a 21-18 lead. The Buffs recovered and took the next three points to tie the score at 21. After a Duke time out, the Blue Devils went up 24-21 and CU fought off the next three set points to tie the score again at 24. The Buffs fought off another two Duke set points and were able to finish off the set 28-26 after taking three points, which included two kills from Santos and a Duke hitting error.
The Buffs were firing on all cylinders to start the third set, taking a 12-6 lead. The Blue Devils got back within two points at 15-13 but then CU recorded a 7-0 run to take a commanding 22-13 lead. Duke took five of the next seven points, but CU closed out the set at 25-18. The Buffs hit just .147 with 13 kills, but kept DU below .000 at -.029 with eight kills and nine errors on 35 attempts.
In the fourth set, the Blue Devils took a 9-6 lead and increased it to 17-10, forcing CU to call a timeout. Duke continued to add to its lead before CU fired back with a kill from Schroeder to put a stop to a DU 5-0 run at 19-11. Unfortunately it was not enough and CU dropped the set 25-16 after hitting just .094 with only eight kills. The Blue Devils had 18 kills in the set and hit .256.
CU got out to a quick start in the final set, going up 3-0 before giving up the next two points to Duke. The Blue Devils took the lead at 6-5 and closed out the frame at 15-10. The Buffs hit -.045 while Duke recorded a .375 hitting percentage.
"We struggled with the first contact at the most inopportune points in the match and, we simply could not recover in time to close the point gaps that were created," Kritza said. "When we come up on the losing side, we all step back and everyone takes a look at what we need to improve on to continue the overall development of this team."
The Buffs will head north on Tuesday, August 31 to take on No. 17 Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo. The contest is set for a 7 p.m. start at Moby Arena.
"There are strong positives to take from this match to use as an impetus to improve before we step on the court again next week against a formidable opponent in a great rivalry match against Colorado State," she said.
And don't forget to check out the latest news and highlights with coach Kritza on the Buffalo Stampede Volleyball Show, exclusively on BuffsTV at CUBuffs.com/volleyball. New shows air every Tuesday starting August 31.
Kerra Schroeder, Sophomore, Outside Hitter
ON WHAT CHANGED FROM THE 2nd AND 3rd SETS TO THE 4th and 5th SETS-"Obviously we fought really hard. I don't think we gave up at all the whole time; we fought throughout the whole match."
ON CU's HEIGHT DISADVANTAGE-"They had the height advantage; we had the quickness. Our system is just fast, and I think that was our advantage. They just weren't ready for that."
ON THE SUMMER CONDITIONING PROGRAM-"We get a whole packet that we have to do every day. There is a whole system we go through, so we stay in shape throughout the whole year."
Anicia Santos, Junior, Middle Blocker
ON WHAT CHANGED FROM THE 2nd AND 3rd SETS TO THE 4tH AND 5th SETS-"I think they gained a little bit of momentum at the third set. We had a little bit of trouble closing that out, so that helped them get back into a little bit of a rhythm. But, we fought most of the time."
ON CU'S HEIGHT DISADVANTAGE-"We are mentally very strong. I think that sums it up, because we never gave up. We aren't a huge team; we don't have girls who are 6'6'' just crushing the ball from the ten-foot line. Our strength is in our system and the fact that we work well together as a team."
ON THE SUMMER CONDITIONING PROGRAM-"Everyone comes here early and starts to train at altitude so that in preseason it is all volleyball and we are in top condition."
ON PLAYING AT COORS EVENTS CENTER AS A MEMBER OF AN OPPOSING TEAM LAST SEASON-"It was a little bit intimidating. My gym back at Cal Poly wasn't as big as Coors Events Center. Of course, I was just trying to play as hard as I could for the jersey that I was wearing then. Its great to be on the other side of the net now, though, and it has a completely different meaning now."
ON LAST YEAR'S GAME AND IT'S IMPACT ON HER TRANSFERING TO COLORADO-"I would say it had a little bit of influence, not necessarily for what the Buffs did against us, but more so just because of what was happening within my team, within that program at the time."