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Buffs Start Season With Victory Against Rebels

Aug 26, 2011

GREELEY, Colo.  - The University of Colorado volleyball team got its 2011 season off on the right note with a 3-1 victory against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas on Friday afternoon at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.

The Buffs defeated the Rebels 25-15, 25-19, 20-25, 25-18 to earn the first win of the season. It was the first match for both teams.

Senior Lydia Blaha and freshmen Nicki Brown and Kelsey English earned their first career starts in the match. Blaha, who sat out the 2010 season per NCAA transfer policy, had a good match. She put up five total blocks, including one solo, and added four kills while hitting .400.

"It was exciting to be on the court," Blaha said. "For a second I felt like a freshman again on the court for the first time. I was so happy to be back on the court and playing for the Buffs."

English hammered nine kills and hit .250 while adding two block assists. Junior Kerra Schroeder, the 2011 team captain, led the Buffs with 15 kills and added 11 digs for her first double-double of the season.

CU had 51 kills in the match, two more than UNLV's 49. The Buffs hit .260 in the match under the direction of Alyssa Valentine. She recorded 40 assists and added five kills of her own on eight errorless tries. UNLV hit just .169 for the match.

Both teams recorded 55 digs. Megan Beckwith led CU with 15 while Valentine and Jessica Aschenbrenner each picked up eight. CU won the battle at the net with nine team blocks compared to five for UNLV. Besides Blaha's five blocks, Anicia Santos put up four block assists and Valentine had three.

The Buffs got out to a good start in the first set, taking an 11-6 lead before UNLV called its first timeout. CU went on to take eight of the next 12 points to take a commanding 19-10 lead and would go on to win by 10 (25-15). English and Schroeder each hammered five kills. The Buffs recorded 12 kills in the set and hit .290 while holding the Rebels to a .103 hitting percentage. English led the set with a .667 attack percentage (five kills and one error on six attacks).

The second set started out with CU taking the first three points before the Rebels would get on the board. UNLV got within a point at 4-3, but then the Buffs took four straight to go up 8-3. The Buffs would go up 15-8, but then UNLV got within three points at 20-17. CU took the next two points, but the Rebels answered back with two of their own at 22-19. The Buffs were able to finish off the set by taking the next three points (25-19). CU hit .222 in the frame and this time held the Rebels to .100.

UNLV got out to an 8-4 lead in the third set before CU called its first timeout of the match. The Rebels continued to add to their lead, going up 18-11 on the Buffs. CU fought back and got within three points at 20-23, but UNLV finished the set 25-20. The Rebels hit .312 in the set and held the Buffs to .176. Both teams recorded 13 kills, but CU recorded seven errors while UNLV had three.

The fourth frame stayed pretty close for the majority of the set with five ties and two lead changes. UNLV started the set with the lead, but once CU took a 12-11 advantage didn't let go. The Buffs went up 19-15 and increased the lead to 22-17. Colorado finished the set and the match up with a 3-1 run. The Buffs hit a match-high at .333 and held UNLV to .171. CU hit 15 kills and just two errors on 39 attacks.

The Buffs will play UC-Davis in the second match of the 2011 Hampton Inn & Suites Northern Colorado Volleyball Classic at 4 p.m. on Friday.