Buffs Lose Heartbreaker Against Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Colorado volleyball team had four players record double-digit kills against Arizona and pushed the Wildcats to five sets, but was unable to come away with the victory as the Buffs fell 25-15, 21-25, 25-14, 18-25, 15-12 on Saturday night at McKale Center.
"Tonight's match had some interesting twists and turns, but I like the fight my players showed, especially after a difficult match last night," coach Liz Kritza said. "Coming back and challenging a tough team like we did was praiseworthy. We are scrapping and fighting to put ourselves in a position to win, now we just have to finish it."
Nikki Lindow led CU with 13 kills. Kerra Schroeder and Neira Ortiz Ruiz each hammered 11 kills and Kelsey English added 10 for the Buffs in the effort. CU recorded 52 kills in the match and also had five aces. English and Elysse Richardson each had two and Michelle Miller added the fifth for the Buffs.
"Lindow is an aggressive kid and she came up with some big points for us tonight," Kritza said. "She is progressing well in her individual development."
Alyssa Valentine led the Buffs defensively with 16 digs while Schroeder and Megan Beckwith each picked up 15. Richardson was also busy in the back row as she recorded 12 digs for CU.
Courtney Karst led UA with 20 kills and hit .314. Candace Nicholson had a match-high 21 digs for the Wildcats.
Arizona took a 9-4 lead to start the first set. The Buffs rallied to get within three points at 16-13, but the Wildcats added on another six straight to take a 22-13 advantage in the set. UA went on to finish the set 25-15.
The Buffs got out to a 9-6 lead in the second set but UA stayed close. The Wildcats took their first lead of the set at 18-17 and CU answered back with three straight points to go back up by two (20-18). The Buffs would never let go of that lead and finished the set 25-21.
The Wildcats had a 10-5 advantage in the third set and extended it to 17-8. CU didn't give up and took four of the next five points (18-12), but UA went back up 22-12 and the deficit would be too much for the Buffs to overcome as they fell 25-14.
CU took a 10-7 lead in the fourth set and played a very steady game, always staying in front of the Wildcats. The Buffs went up by seven at 21-14 and were able to finish the set easily 25-18. CU hit a sizzling .423 in the frame with 15 kills and just four errors on 26 swings, while holding UA to a .172 hitting percentage.
UA took a quick 5-2 lead in the fifth set, forcing Kritza to take a timeout. After the timeout, CU came back with a 4-1 run to even the score at 6. The teams would tie the score again at 7-7, but then UA went up by three (10-7). The Buffs did not give up and got back within a point at 12-11, forcing UA to call a timeout. CU tied the score on the next point, but unfortunately the Wildcats finished the set and the match 15-12.
Colorado is now 5-22 overall, 0-19 in the Pac-12 while Arizona is now 17-10 overall, 9-9 in the Pac-12.
The Buffs return home to the Coors Events Center next weekend for their final two home matches of the season. CU will host Washington State at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18 and Washington on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. The match against WSU will be televised live on ROOT Sports.
"As the conference season is drawing to a close, I have full confidence in this team that we will continue to progress and one thing is certain, we will not stop working until we find success," Kritza said.
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.