Buffs Drop Pac-12 Opener to Utah
BOULDER - The University of Colorado volleyball team dropped its Pac-12 Conference opener to Utah on Tuesday night 22-25, 21-25, 21-25 at the Coors Events Center.
"This clearly isn't the way we wanted to start the inaugural Pac-12 season but I promise that we will turn this disappointing defeat into a positive for this team," coach Liz Kritza. "Simply put we cannot play the way that we did in our side-out offense and expect to beat teams of this caliber. On the defensive side of the ball we have to be getting out hands on a lot more balls, in the block and convert the digs that we do get for more points for us.
"When you look at the boxscore it is the unforced errors that did us in. We had double the attacking errors (25-12) and that is a sign of being out of system and not being able to run our offense efficiently."
The Buffs are now 5-4 overall, 0-1 in the Pac-12 and the Utes are 6-4 overall, 1-0 in the Pac-12.
Kerra Schroeder led the Buffs with 13 kills and added nine digs. Kelsey English added nine kills and Anicia Santos hammered eight kills in the effort. Nikki Lindow hit a team-best .429 with seven kills and one error on 14 attacks. CU hit .161 compared to Utah's .275. The Buffs recorded 45 total kills, five more than the Utes (40).
Megan Beckwith recorded a match-best 13 digs. Alyssa Valentine had a double-double with 10 digs and 37 assists. The Buffs out-dug Utah 48-45.
CU got out to an 8-5 lead in the first set before Utah came back to take the lead with a 4-0 run. The Buffs came back to tie it up at 9. There were eight ties in the score before the Utes would take a two-point lead at 19-17. CU got back within a point at 18-19, but once again UU pulled away, this time using a 4-1 run to lead 23-19. The Buffs put together a 3-1 run and fought off one set point from the Utes, but eventually fell 25-22.
Utah took a 9-6 lead in the second set and extended it to 15-9. Utah got the score to 24-18, but the Buffs weren't done with the frame and rallied off three points before Utah recorded a kill to end the set 25-21.
The Buffs got out to a 9-7 lead in the third set. Utah came back to tie it up and take a 15-13 lead. CU evened the score back up at 20, but then UU took three straight points to take a 23-20 advantage. Santos recorded a kill for CU, but Utah took the next two points to take the set 21-25 and win the match.
The Buffs head to the west coast to continue their Pac-12 schedule this weekend. They will face No. 1 California on Friday, Sept. 16 and No. 2 Stanford on Saturday, Sept. 17. Both matches are set for 8 p.m. MT.
"Heading into this weekend, facing the top two teams in the country, we have to correct our deficiencies from tonight and get prepared for the fight of our lives," Kritza said.
Tonight's match will be broadcast on ROOT Sports on Wednesday, September 14 at 11 p.m. and again on Thursday, September 15 at 3 p.m. And don't forget to check out the latest news and highlights with coach Kritza on This Week in Colorado Volleyball, exclusively on BuffsTV at CUBuffs.com/volleyball. New shows air every Tuesday.