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Spikers Open Pac-12 Schedule At Utah

Sep 23, 2013

BOULDER— The University of Colorado volleyball team is set to kick off the Pac-12 Conference season on Tuesday, Sept. 24 against Utah in Salt Lake City. The match will be played at the Huntsman Center.

This will also be the first match of the year broadcast on TV for CU as it will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network nationally. Kevin Barnett will provide the play-by-play and Amy Gant will serve as the color analyst. Live stats will also be available at UtahUtes.com.  

Colorado (8-1) is off to a hot start this season after dropping its first match to St. Mary’s on August 30. Since that loss, the Buffs have rattled off eight straight wins, including four wins at the Castlewood Suites Invitational and three at the Baylor Invitational. The eight wins tie the fifth longest win streak in CU history. It is the longest streak since 1997 when the Buffs had a 10-match win streak, which tied the longest streak.

Junior Taylor Simpson leads CU with 3.33 kills per set and sophomore Alexis Austin is second with 3.20 kills per set. Austin is attacking at a slightly higher percentage at .285, while Taylor has a .217 hitting percentage. The best percentage on the squad belongs to junior Kelsey English at .415, which ranks seventh in the Pac-12. She has recorded 57 kills and 13 errors on 106 attacks.

The offense is directed by sophomore Nicole Edelman. She has averaged 10.19 assists per set this season, the eighth best in the league, while helping the Buffs to a .281 attack percentage. Edelman has also added 24 kills of her own and is hitting .615.

Defensively freshman Cierra Simpson has recorded 3.40 digs per set and senior Kerra Schroeder is second on the team with 2.78 digs per set. Taylor Simpson has also done well in the back row with 2.50 digs per set of her own. At the net, senior Nikki Lindow leads the Buffs with 1.38 blocks per set, which is second in the Pac-12, and English has 0.56 blocks per set.

The Buffs have two ranked in the top-10 of the conference in service aces. Cierra Simpson is fifth (0.43 service aces per set) and English is ninth (0.38 service aces per set). As a team the Buffs rank fifth in the league with 1.41 service aces per set.

Utah has compiled an 11-1 record during the nonconference portion of the schedule. The Utes put together 10 straight wins to start the season before falling in five sets to BYU on Sept. 17. They rebounded on Sept. 19 with a five-set victory over New Mexico State.

Shelby Dalton leads Utah with 2.80 kills per set and Chelsey Schofield is averaging 2.60 kills per set. The Utes have spilt the setting duties between Kendal Cygan and Kalee Kirby. Cygan is averaging 5.96 assists per set and Kirby is handing out 5.47 assists per set. The team is hitting .265.

In the back row, Lea Adolp has picked up a team-best 3.37 digs per set and Schofield ranks second on the team with 2.88 digs per set. Erin Redd-Brandon leads the Pac-12 with 1.51 blocks per set and two other rank in the league’s top-10. Dalton adds 1.22 blocks per set and Bateman has put up 1.20 blocks per set.

This will be the 10th meeting between the two teams and Utah holds a slight 5-4 advantage. The two spilt meetings in 2012, each team winning on its home court.

And don’t forget to check out ‘This Week In Colorado Volleyball,’ online now at CUBuffs.com.