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Buffs Win Home Opener Against Cornell

Aug 31, 2012

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| Boxscore

BOULDER— Sophomore Neira Ortiz
Ruiz hammered a career-high 11 kills to lead the University of Colorado
volleyball team past Cornell 25-19, 25-21, 25-21 on Friday night at the Omni
Hotels Colorado Volleyball Classic.

The win moves CU to a perfect 4-0 on the season
while the Big Red fell to 0-2. CU also improves to 19-8 all-time in home
openers. Ortiz Ruiz led the Buffs with a .450 hitting
efficiency with just two errors on 20 swings. Colorado spread out its offense
and had three players, Kelsey English, Alexis Austin and Emily Alexis, with
seven kills apiece. Freshman setter Nicole Edelman handed out 30 assists and
directed CU to a .241 team hitting percentage.

“Neira has
been steadily getting better in our gym and we have just now shared the secret
with everyone else,” coach Liz Kritza said. “We have been expecting a lot more
from her, because we’ve seen her develop. It’s just a matter of being able to
piece her whole game together and stay on the court as long as possible.
Tonight she answered the call when we needed to side out. She did a good job
carrying some of the offensive burden on her shoulders. I think that her career
performance will continue to be bested the further and further we get into the
season.”

The Buffs also picked up points defensively as
they posted 16 block assists in the win, six of those from junior Nikki Lindow.
Ortiz Ruiz added three blocks and English, Austin and Alexis each had a pair.

CU also picked up 32 digs. Alexis and Elysse
Richardson led CU with five each.

The fact Colorado was spreading out the scoring
was a good thing, but also a necessity as the Buffs lost senior outside hitter
Kerra Schroeder last weekend at the Sam Houston Invitational. Schroeder was the
team’s captain and had played in every point of her career. Last season she
became the 14th player in Colorado history to record 1,000 career
kills. She will redshirt the 2012 season and will come back to compete in 2013.

 “I couldn’t think of a bigger impact on our
team than to lose Kerra Schroeder,” Kritza said. “Not just the point-production
or her digs totals or passing force; there’s a cumulative effect of everything
that she does for this team. She knows that. This team knows that. What it does
is affords us the opportunity for younger players to have to step up and
develop. When she returns to us, we’ll have a higher-level team and she’ll be
able to step in and resume her role as a leader of this team.”

Schroeder will now play a different role on the
team, but still an important one. She will still be a captain, but now the
floor captains will be Edelman and senior Michelle Miller.

“I’ve been
in every single point since my freshman year, so it’s really tough mentally,”
Schroeder said. “Right now, I feel like I can go out and play and it stinks
that I can’t help my team. At the same time, I’m going to be right there on the
sidelines, I’m going to travel with them, I’m going to still be that leader
that they know I am at this point.”

In action earlier today, Fresno State defeated
Cornell 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-22). Marissa Brand recorded a match-high 13 kills
for Fresno State and Korrin Wild added eight kills. Northern Arizona won a four
set match against Fresno State (19-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21) in the late
afternoon match. Kelli Dallmann hammered 21 kills for NAU and Brand recorded 17
for FS.

Fresno State is 3-2 overall and Northern Arizona
is 4-0 after all of the matches on Friday.

The Omni Classic continues on Saturday at 11
a.m. CU will host NAU at 11 a.m. and the 4 p.m. match will feature Cornell
against FS. The final match of the tournament will be between Fresno State and
CU at 7 p.m.