Schroeder Leads CU Past Georgia State
FULLERTON, Calif. - The University of Colorado volleyball team defeated Georgia State 3-1 in its first-ever meeting at Titan Gym on Friday evening at the Crowne Plaza Fullerton Titan Classic. Set scores were 25-22, 23-25, 25-17 and 25-22.
"Opening up the tourney with a win is good, especially when we got to see some new faces on the court, but the overall level of play was not what were looking for," coach Liz Kritza said. "Tonight's win, despite being a victory, was riddled with miscues and drops in momentum that must be cleaned up."
The win improved CU's record to 2-2; it was the first loss for the Panthers who are now 3-1. It was a hard fought win for the Buffs and the team had to come together with everyone contributing in the win as CU recorded 57 kills.
Sophomore Kerra Schroeder hit a match-high 21 kills in the win and became the first Buff in almost two years to record more than 20 kills in a match. Amber Sutherland was the last Buff to do so on Oct. 25, 2008 against Texas Tech and also recorded 21.
Junior Richi Bigelow also had a great match, recording 14 kills, including five in the fourth set, while hitting .379.
"The play of Richi Bigelow really stands out," Kritza said. "She really stepped it up and had a strong hitting percentage this match."
Freshman Nikki Lindow added 10 kills and led the team with a .444 hitting percentage. Junior Alyssa Valentine led the Buffs to a .283 team hitting percentage with 51 assists. She also added 15 digs and five total blocks. Junior Anicia Santos hit seven kills and added four block assists.
True freshman Megan Beckwith picked up a career-high 25 digs. She is the first CU player since Callie Webster on Oct. 18, 2008, to do so in a match. The Buffs as a team recorded 91 digs. Bigelow added 13 digs and senior Rosie Steinhaus and freshman Hannah Walker each picked up 10; eight of Steinhaus' came in the first set.
"Tonight statistical highlights were points leading performance from Schroeder with 21 and 25 digs by Beckwith, both career highs," Kritza said.
GSU used a 5-0 run to take a 7-4 lead in the first set with four kills and one CU error. The Buffs came back to tie it up at 9 with a 5-2 run. The Panthers went up 19-13 with a 10-3 run, but the Buffs came back with a 9-3 run of their own to tie it at 22. Elysse Richardson served up an ace to give CU the lead and Bigelow hammered a kill to bring the Buffs to set point. Schroeder finished off the set with a kill (25-22). Colorado hit .205 with 12 kills, four errors and 39 swings, while GSU hit slightly better at .217 (15 kills, five errors and 46 swings). The difference came at the service line with the Panthers tallying six errors; CU hit just one.
CU got out to a great start in the second frame, taking a commanding 9-2 lead. The Buffs maintained a strong lead in the set, even taking an 18-10 lead before the Panthers cut it to four points at 19-15. Colorado went up 23-17, but the Panthers took three straight points to get within three at 23-20. GSU took the following five points to complete an 8-0 run to close out the set at 25-23. CU hit better in the set at .263 with 15 kills and GSU hit .220 with 13 kills.
The Buffs were too hot for the Panthers to handle in the third set as they got out to a 4-2 lead and then used a 10-0 run to take a daunting 14-2 advantage. GSU went on an 8-4 run to bring the score to 18-10 and once again tried to make a comeback. This time the Buffs were able to hold GSU off, largely in park to the play of Schroeder who put down seven kills in the frame, including four off the last seven points for CU. The Buffs hit a scorching .462 with just one error and 13 kills on 26 attacks. They also held the Panthers to .194.
Colorado kept the momentum on its side during the fourth set, taking a 9-8 lead. The Panthers didn't have an answer for Bigelow as she hammered five of CU's next six points to give the Buffs a 15-9 advantage. The Buffs improved the score to 21-12. GSU put together a string of four points to get the score to 21-16 and force CU to use a timeout. GSU threatened again at the end of the set, going on a 4-2 run before serving into the net and giving CU match point (24-20). The Panthers took the next two points before Santos put down the final kill in the set to finish 25-22. CU hit .265 and held GSU to .167, a match-low.
"There is a constant desire for excellence in this program, and when after a win, your team can look each other in the eye and 'say we have to be better than that', then the program is moving in the right direction," Kritza explained. "We will recover quickly from this match and prepare for a strong day of competition tomorrow."
Colorado has a busy day tomorrow with a pair of matches on the docket. The Buffs will face Montana at 11 a.m. (PT) and then CSU Fullerton at 7:30. CSUF will provide free audio broadcasts and live stats of Fullerton matches only. The link for live audio is http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/csf.portal and live stats are available at fullertontitans.com.
And don't forget to check out the latest news and highlights with coach Liz Kritza on the Buffalo Stampede Volleyball Show, exclusively on BuffsTV at CUBuffs.com/volleyball. New shows air every Tuesday.