Schroeder Hits 1,000th career Kill In Pac-12 Win
BOULDER - Junior Kerra Schroeder recorded her 1,000th career kill on Friday night as the University of Colorado volleyball team won its first Pac-12 Conference match of the 2011 season against Washington State.
The Buffs won in exciting fashion as they rallied back from a 0-2 deficit to win 21-25, 22-25, 27-25, 25-20, 15-6 at the Coors Events Center. CU is now 6-22 overall and 1-19 in the Pac-12 while WSU is 12-17 overall, 4-15 in the Pac-12.
"This is not just a win, but a really hard-fought win from behind," coach Liz Kritza said. "This was a five-set match where we finished it off with an exclamation point and that was well deserved after this season. They've been through all of the hard-knocks and it is not always readily apparent. They've been working their tails off and getting much better in every aspect of the game and throughout the season, but oftentimes people from the outside only see the win-losses and not the incremental steps; so it's nice that the effort and the progress are matched up with the result tonight, and that's what matters."
Schroeder had 26 kills in the match to led CU and recorded her 1,000th kill in the second set with her ninth kill of the night. In doing she joined an elite club as just the 14th Buffalo to ever reach the milestone. The last Buff to reach 1,000 kills was Allie Griffin in 2005.
"This was a great accomplishment for Kerra in her junior season and to be in the same category with the players that have been through CU's program is an outstanding feat," Kritza said. "Kerra is such a team leader. The first thing she told me after the match was that this match was about the team winning and not her getting her 1,000th kill."
Colorado had 72 kills in the match while hitting .280. Alyssa Valentine recorded a season-high 62 assists in the win. Nikki Lindow hammered 15 kills and hit a team-best .481 with just two errors on 27 swings, while Kelsey English had 11 kills and four errors on 21 attacks for a .333 hitting percentage. Emily Alexis had almost identical numbers as she had 11 kills and four errors on 23 swings to hit .304.
Defensively the Buffs had 53 digs and 11.0 team blocks. Megan Beckwith had a match-high 18 digs and Schroeder had her 13th double-double of the year with 13 digs. Lydia Blaha posted five blocks for the Buffs, one solo and four assists. Lindow and English each had four block assists and Emily Alexis had three blocks, one solo and two assists, for CU.
WSU had 60 kills in the match with 23 errors on 151 attacks to hit .245. The Cougars were led by Megan Ganzer, who currently leads the Pac-12 in kills per set, with 31 kills in the match. Chelsey Bettingson had 13 kills for WSU. The Cougars recorded 45 digs and 10.0 blocks.
The two teams played a very close first set. CU had a 15-13 lead before the Cougars used a 4-0 run to go up 16-15. The Buffs tied up the game at 16 after a kill from Schroeder. The set would be tied three more times before WSU was able to take a two-point lead at 21-19. The Buffs fought back with a kill from Blaha (21-20), but the Cougars went on to win the set 25-21 with a 4-1 run.
The Cougars took a 7-3 lead to start the second set. The Buffs got within a point at 8-7 and again at 14-13. WSU pulled away from CU with a 7-3 run, taking a 21-16 advantage in the game. The Cougars had set point at 24-18, but the Buffs weren't ready to let the set go and fought off the following four points before falling 25-22.
Colorado had a 10-5 lead to start the third set. The Buffs held the lead until WSU tied the game at 16-16. The Cougars went ahead on the following point with a kill from Ganzer but CU followed that point with a kill from Lindow to tie the game at 17-17. Neither team was able to take more than a one-point lead as the set went into extra points. The game was tied at 25-25 when Lindow hammered a kill to bring the Buffs set point and Schroeder followed it up with another kill to finish the game 27-25.
CU got out to a 13-7 lead in the fourth set, but WSU got within a point of the Buffs at 16-15. Colorado pulled away from the Cougars with a 4-1 run to take a 20-16 lead and would never look back as they cruised to a 25-20 win.
The Buffs took a 5-2 lead in the final set, forcing WSU to use a timeout. Colorado went on a 7-3 run to take a 12-5 advantage and was able to easily finish the game 15-6. The Buffs were unstoppable in the fifth set, attacking at a scorching .529 percentage with 10 kills and one error on 17 attacks. The Cougars hit just .056 with four kills and three errors on 18 tries.
"We haven't played a lot of fifth sets, but this was a better performance and a better show of heart," Kritza said. "These are my kids; I know this about them, and I'm so happy that they were able to pull it together and not just beat this team and pick up our first win, but the manner in which they won is what I'm most proud of. When the chips are stacked against us, it very easily could have gone another way, so there was a total team effort and I absolutely couldn't have been prouder of this group."
The Buffs will host No. 10 Washington on Saturday night at 7 p.m. for the final home match of the 2011 season. They will honor their four seniors: Richi Bigelow, Lydia Blaha, Anicia Santos and Alyssa Valentine.
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.