Buffs Give No. 3 Stanford a Tough Battle
BOULDER - The University of Colorado volleyball team played an inspired match against No. 3 Stanford on Thursday night, but ultimately fell 25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 25-15 at the Coors Events Center.
"We should have won that first set," coach Liz Kritza said. "We have a team that hasn't experienced enough success this season. It's almost uncomfortable to be in that position. We have a game plan that we follow through with and Stanford gave us a fair share of points in that first set, but we didn't capitalize on those points."
This was the first match at home for the Buffs in almost three weeks as the schedule had them on the road for the last two weekends in Los Angeles and Oregon for four matches.
"We love playing at home," Kritza said. "For us, when we were at Stanford, that was probably one of our worst performances of the year. To be able to come in and play well in two sets and the majority of the third, we could peel that second set off of them, but it's nice to be back."
Kerra Schroeder recorded a match-high 15 kills and Emily Alexis was second for the Buffs with nine kills. Nikki Lindow hammered seven kills and Kelsey English, Alyssa Valentine and Anicia Santos each added six kills for CU. Valentine hit a match-high .857 with no errors on seven attacks.
In the back row Megan Beckwith picked 19 digs to lead CU. Michelle Miller was also busy in the back row, recording 10 digs. Schroeder added nine digs in the effort and was just one shy of another double-double.
Stanford had two hitters record double-digits kills. Carly Wopat had 14 kills and Rachel Williams added 13. Williams was also a force at the net, posting two block solos and five block assists. Hannah Benjamin led the Cardinal with 13 digs.
The Buffs took a 10-5 lead to start the match, forcing the Cardinal to use a timeout. SU used a 4-1 run after the timeout to get within three points, but the Buffs went up by six after taking the next four straight points (15-9). The Cardinal rallied to tie the set at 21 and the set would be tied again at 22. SU took its first lead of the set at 23-22 and this time it was Kritza who called a timeout. The Buffs took the next point off a Schroeder kill to even the score at 23, but the Cardinal finished the set with the following two points (25-23).
CU once again took the lead to start the second set at 5-1, but the Cardinal tied the score at 6-6. The set would be tied eight more times before the Buffs took a three-point lead at 17-14. Stanford called a timeout, but the Buffs came out of the break and extended their lead to 21-16. After another Stanford timeout, the Cardinal went on a 6-2 run to get within a point of CU at 23-22. Lindow hammered a kill to bring CU to set point and an ace by Beckwith gave the Buffs the set at 25-22.
Stanford had a 10-6 lead in the first set and extended it to 15-8. The Buffs didn't give up and went on an 8-5 run to get within four points at 20-16. The Cardinal called a timeout and took the next two points to take a 22-16 lead. CU continued to fight and put together a 5-2 run to bring the score to 24-21, but the Cardinal finished the frame (25-21) on the following point.
The Cardinal took a 10-1 lead to start the fourth set. The Buffs weren't going to go quietly and came back within four points at 15-11. Stanford pulled away again, this time taking a 21-14. CU took the following point, but the Cardinal had too big of a lead and finished the set, and the match, 25-15.
CU fell to 5-19 overall and 0-16 in the Pac-12 while the Cardinal improved to 18-4 overall, 12-4 in the conference.
The Buffs will host the No. 7 California Bears (22-4, 12-4) on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. at the Coors Events Center. Fans who show their ticket stub from the CU vs. USC football game on Friday, Nov. 4 will gain free admission to the match.
"Cal is going to be very strong and aggressive offensive team, which we need to make sure we can match that offense." Kritza said. "To do that, we have to be the aggressive team and actually have enough confidence to be bold and brave enough to just run our system and make sure our attackers are being aggressive. Kerra is doing a great job of that for us. She takes big swings on some balls that can easily be kept in play, but it's just that sort of courage or confidence that I see developing in her that we need to permeate to some of the other players. They'll be able to up their offensive production as well."
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.