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Buffs Sweep Home Opener Against Portland State

Sep 5, 2014


BOULDER— The University of Colorado volleyball team cruised past Portland State 3-0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-12) on Friday night to win its 2014 home opener at the Coors Events Center.

"I think we realized what level we should be playing at (after the first two sets),” head coach Liz Kritza said. “We had a very frank discussion about what level is expected and just be consistent. The third set was more to the level that I expect them to play and they expect themselves to play. That was a good finish. We wanted to come out and make sure we played a good, clean set."

The Buffs, who are hosting the Omni Hotels Colorado Volleyball Classic, were led by senior outside hitter Taylor Simpson who tallied 13 kills in the match. Simpson also hit .310 with just four errors on 29 attacks. Sophomore Joslyn Hayes was second on the team with seven kills and senior Kelsey English added four kills.

CU hit .144 in the match with 32 kills and 19 errors on 90 attacks, but held the Vikings to -.055 with 21 kills and 26 errors on 91 attacks. Junior Nicole Edelman handed out 24 of CU’s 31 assists, but also added two kills of her own in the win.

Both teams did well at the net, posting more than 10 team blocks. The Buffs had the edge in the battle with 10.5 blocks compared to PSU’s 10.0 blocks. Freshman Gabby Simpson had a hand in six of those blocks with one block solo and five block assists. English also had a block solo and posted four block assists.

The Buffs defense also out-dug the Vikings 35-32. Sophomore Cierra Simpson led the way with eight digs, while Gabby and Taylor Simpson each added seven digs and sophomore Gwen Herring picked up six digs. CU didn’t allow PSU to hit above .000 the entire match. The Vikings were held to a .000 hitting percentage in the first two sets and hit -.161 in the third set.

The first two sets were very close. The first game was tied at 15-15 before the Buffs recorded three straight points to take an 18-15 advantage. PSU took a timeout and followed it up with a kill. The two sides traded off the next five points before the Buffs took two in a row to take a 22-18 lead. CU closed out the frame with a 3-2 run which included a kill from Taylor Simpson to end the set.

The Buffs opened the second set 10-4 before the Vikings rallied with a 5-1 run to get back within two points (11-9), forcing CU to use its first timeout of the match. The Buffs took three straight points out of the break with a pair of blocks and a kill from Hayes (14-9). The Vikings used their final timeout at that point, but the Buffs added to their lead with a 3-1 run (17-10). PSU didn’t let up and put together an 8-3 run to pull within two points again (20-18). CU took the following two points and had set point (24-19), but again the Vikings put together a run, this time fighting off four set points (24-23), forcing the Buffs to take a timeout. PSU took the following point to even the score at 24-24, but CU again had set point after a PSU service error and finished the game with a block from English and Hayes (26-24).

CU came out of the intermission on a mission and opened the third set with a 12-3 lead before extending the lead to 19-8. PSU tried to get back into the set, but wasn’t able to get much offense going as the Buffs kept the pressure on and closed the set 25-12 to win the match. CU hit a match-best .250 with 10 kills and just four errors on 24 attacks.

“I think the intermission helped a lot,” Edelman said. “It really helps to get back in the game and be focused. I think the first two sets it was hard for us to get in a rhythm consistently, and by the third set we finally got a good rhythm going. I think the break helped us come out strong.”

The Buffs have a pair of matches on Saturday to finish the Omni Hotels Colorado Volleyball Classic. They will host Georgia Southern at 12 p.m. and Pittsburgh at 7:30 p.m. GSU lost to Pitt earlier on Friday afternoon 3-0.

“The match beforehand I think was a little one sided,” Kritza said. “Pitt was scoring at a really high pace; we have to do a good job slowing them down. We can’t allow them to get 500 against us. I think Georgia Southern struggled a little bit because they had some strange match ups and had they been able to slow them down perhaps they would have been a little more evenly matched. But we are expecting two really challenging matches.”