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Buffs Battle But Fall Short To No. 8 Stanford

Oct 13, 2013

STANFORD, Calif. — The University of Colorado volleyball team battled it out against the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal, but ultimately fell 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-21) on Saturday night at Maples Pavilion.

The Buffs are now 11-5 overall, 3-3 in the Pac-12, while Stanford improved to 12-3 overall, 5-1 in the Pac-12.

Taylor Simpson and Alexis Austin led the Buffs with 10 kills each. Simpson hit .184 with three errors on a team-high 38 attacks and Austin recorded a .250 hitting percentage with four errors on 24 swings.

“Tonight’s match was a great challenge for this team and we are disappointed in the final results, but there are many positives we have to take out of this tough road swing to get back in the win column next week,” coach Liz Kritza said.

The Buffs hit .240 in the match with 35 kills and only 10 errors on 104 attacks. Nicole Edelman handed out 30 of the Buffs’ 32 assists and added one kill of her own.

“The improvement in the scores in each set shows that we were starting to get more solid footing,” Kritza said. “When we struggled in our serve-receive, our side-out game was not sufficient.”

Kerra Schroeder and Nikki Lindow each added six kills for the Buffs. Lindow recorded a team-best hitting percentage at .333 with just one error on 15 attacks.

Defensively the Buffs were led by Cierra Simpson’s 11 digs. Schroeder added eight digs and Taylor Simpson picked up six in the effort. Taylor Simpson put up three block assists to lead the Buffs and Kelsey English added a pair of block assists.

“Stanford’s offense was balanced and we needed to stay aggressive from the serving line to minimize their attacking options,” Kritza said. “When we executed that part of our strategy we were able to play point for point with them tonight.”

The Cardinal also had a pair with 10 kills in Carly Wopat and Rachel Williams. Wopat, who leads the Pac-12 in hitting percentage, hit .529 (one error and 17 attacks). SU hit .340 in the match.

The Cardinal took the early lead in set one, going up 9-4, but the Buffs came back within a point of SU (10-9) after putting together a 5-1 run. The Cardinal sided out on the following point and recorded four straight points to go up by six (16-10). CU continued to fight but weren’t able to get back into the set and fell 25-17.

The Buffs kept the second set close in the beginning. The score was all tied up at 8-8 when the Cardinal took five straight points to take a 13-8 advantage. CU rallied back to get within a point at 16-15, but SU answered back with a 5-1 run to lead CU 21-16. After a timeout, the Buffs recorded two straight kills from Austin to get within three (21-18), which forced SU to use a timeout. CU took the first point out of the break, but the Cardinal finished the set with the following three points (25-19).

“Managing our point scoring against teams that play a very disciplined game is essential for success in this league,” Kritza said. “We simply cannot have one or two rotations where our side-out and transition scoring drops off significantly, because those few points are the ones that end up being the difference in the overall result.”

The third set was very close with six ties through the first half. The Cardinal had a three-point lead (15-12) at the media timeout. After the break, the two teams continued to fight and CU cut SU’s lead to one point at 18-17, causing the Cardinal to spend one of its timeouts. SU put together a 3-1 run to take a 21-18 advantage and this time it was the Buffs who needed a timeout. The Cardinal took the following two points (23-18), but again the Buffs answered back with three more points to bring the score to 23-21. CU tried to slow down the Cardinal attack, but SU finished the match with the next two points (25-21). 

CU will continue its road swing next weekend with a trip to the Pacific Northwest. The Buffs will face No. 22 Oregon on Oct. 18 in Eugene, Ore. and Oregon State on Oct. 20 in Corvallis, Ore.

“Coming off a tough schedule this week, we will regroup and get back in the gym to prepare for another strong Pac-12 swing next weekend,” Kritza said.