No. 12 Cyclones Top Buffs
BOULDER - The University of Colorado volleyball team came from behind to take the first set off a powerful No. 12 Iowa State team, but dropped the following three sets to lose the match in four sets (22-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-10) on Wednesday night at the Coors Events Center.
The Buffs fall to 6-10 overall, 3-7 in the Big 12, while Iowa State improves to 14-4, 7-3 in the league.
"We made progress by putting together a strong performance in the first set and picked off that set from a quality opponent tonight," coach Liz Kritza said. "However, we were not able to sustain that in the subsequent sets and our youth and inexperience came through in both the second and fourth sets."
Kerra Schroeder recorded a team-best 21 kills, nine of which came in the first set. She added five digs and two blocks in the effort. Anicia Santos hit a team-best .348 with 11 kills and three errors on 23 swings. As a team, the Buffs hit .192 with 48 kills. Alyssa Valentine handed out 35 of CU's 42 assists.
"Kerra is coming into her own as an offensive threat and we need to make sure she continues to raise her bar, but her contribution to this team is very important, and most importantly, her leadership," Kritza said.
Megan Beckwith had 20 digs for the fifth time this season to lead the Buffs. Valentine added another 10 digs for CU and Elysse Richardson picked up eight digs. At the net, Nikki Lindow posted four block assists to lead Colorado.
Iowa State offensive attack was led by Victoria Henson's 24 kills. She also added 16 digs for a double-double, while Ashley Mass recorded a match-high 22 digs.
"We have to work diligently to develop our offense further to be able to keep pace with these teams that can sideout so efficiently, and we need to take the most aggressive approach to the way we play defense," Kritza said.
"No matter how daunting the challenge is against a team of this level, we approach every competition with the same intent, to give maximum effort, to work harder than our opponents, and to make progress as a program."
The first set was close from the start with no team getting a lead more than three points. The two teams were tied at 14 and then ISU went up 17-14. The Buffs came back to tie the score at 22 and then went up 23-22 because of a bad set by ISU. CU took the next point off an ISU attack error and closed the set with a kill from Schroeder (25-22). The Buffs hit .389 with 17 kills and just three errors on 36 swings while holding the Cyclones to a .214 hitting percentage with 15 kills and six errors on 42 attacks.
"In the first game we came out really aggressive and we were confident so that was why that game ended the way it did," Valentine explained. "We lost our confidence and kind of lost our swagger as the match went on. If we can maintain that I think we can beat teams like that."
The Cyclones took a 12-8 lead to start the second set. The Buffs got back within two points at 15-13 before ISU took the next two points to once again go up by four points (17-13). CU took three of the next four to get within two (18-16) and then the Cyclones went on a 4-0 run to take a six-point advantage at 22-16. Steinhaus recorded a kill to get the Buffs back on the board at 22-17, but then ISU closed it out with the following three points to win the set 25-17.
The third set was another close game until Iowa State took a 21-14 lead, at which point CU called a timeout to try to slow down the Cyclones' attack. Steinhaus recorded a kill after the break and the Buffs would take five of the next six to get the score to 22-19, forcing ISU to use a timeout. Lindow recorded a kill out of the timeout to get the Buffs' back to within a pair (22-20). ISU took two of the next three to get set point (24-21) and CU fought off the first one with a kill from Lindow, but the Cyclones took the set on the following point with a kill (25-22).
The fourth set was all ISU as they Cyclones took a 15-5 advantage didn't let go. CU was unable to get in system and would fall 25-10. The Buffs recorded just six kills while ISU notched 19 kill and hit at a match-high .531.
"We had our ups and downs, but I don't think we maintained our ups the whole game; that's something we need to work on." Schroeder said.
The Buffs hit the road this weekend to start the second half of the Big 12 schedule against Texas A&M in College Station, Texas on Saturday, October 24. The contest is set to begin at 2 p.m. (MT) at Reed Arena.
And don't forget to check out the latest news and highlights with coach Liz Kritza on This Week in Colorado Volleyball, exclusively on BuffsTV at CUBuffs.com/volleyball. New shows air every Tuesday.