Skip to main content

No. 13 Oregon Holds Off Feisty Buffs

Sep 27, 2014

EUGENE, Ore. — The University of Colorado volleyball team proved to be a very tough test for the undefeated No. 13 Oregon Ducks, but ultimately fell in a closely contested 3-1 match (33-31, 25-19, 21-25, 25-23) on Saturday night at Matthew Knight Arena.

“Tonight was a great battle between two very good teams,” Colorado head coach Liz Kritza said. “Credit to Oregon that they bested us tonight, but this performance on the road is an important piece of this program’s development. There were two evenly matched teams battling it out tonight and there were some very high level plays on both sides of the net."

With the loss, CU dropped to 9-5 on the season and 1-1 in Pac-12 play, while Oregon improved to 12-0 overall, 2-0 in the conference.

“The overall effort as a team is a crucial piece to take away from tonight’s match,” Kritza said. “All the heart and hustle were there. Coupled with more experience and continued discipline play, we will continue progressing and like the results.”

The stats between the two teams were fairly even. Oregon recorded 65 kills, but the Buffs had 59. UO hit .261 and CU recorded a .247 hitting percentage. The Buffs committed just 20 errors to UO’s 23 and both teams posted 10.0 team blocks. The Ducks did have the edge against CU in digs, recording 69 to CU’s 59. The Buffs also committed 18 service errors, while UO had 10.

"On our side, we have to tend to playing with greater efficiency and minimizing errors,” Kritza explained. “Our point scoring was neutralized by errors and those need to be cleaned up before we take the competition floor again next week."

Taylor Simpson tied a match-high with 18 kills to lead the Buffs. She had just one error in the match on 43 swings to attack at a .395 clip. Alexis Austin also recorded double-digit kills with 11 kills in the effort. Gabby Simpson was next for the Buffs with nine kills while hitting .333.

Nicole Edelman and Gabby Simpson did a good job of spreading out the offense. Edelman handed out 26 assists, while Gabby Simpson recorded 24. Three other Buffs recorded six or more kills in the effort. Anna Pfefferle and Katelyn Cuff each notched seven kills, while Neira Ortiz Ruiz added six kills.

"Both setters need to be commended for running a balanced offense and putting our hitters in the position to be successful many times tonight," Kritza said.

Cierra Simpson led the Buffs in the back row, picking up 20 digs. This was the third time this season she has recorded 20 or more digs in a match. The other two times she had 22 (against Northern Illinois) and 26 digs (against Idaho State).

"Our passing game was strong tonight anchored by Cece (Cierra) Simpson, who also came up with a strong defensive performance as well," Kritza said.

Taylor Simpson earned her eighth double-double of the year by adding 11 digs, the second highest total on the team, and Stephanie Shadley also had a nice night with nine digs.

"Taylor had another strong performance tonight on all fronts, showing why she is one of the top players in country," Kritza said.

The Buffs posted 20 blocks assists in the contest. Pfefferle put up a match and career-best seven block assists. Ortiz Ruiz had four block assists and Cuff and Gabby Simpson each recorded three block assists.

Liz Brenner led the Ducks with 18 kills and Frankie Shebby had 15 kills. Martenne Bettendorf also had double-digit kills with 13 for UO.

The Buffs got out to a 7-0 lead in the first set and during that time, the Ducks used both of their timeouts. CU held the lead for the majority of the set, although a few times the Ducks got within three points. UO caught the Buffs at the end of the set, tying the score at 24-24. The teams battled and each side had chances to finish the set, including three opportunities for CU, but ultimately it would be UO that came away with the set victory at 33-31.

CU also got out to a quick start in the second set, taking a 6-2 lead. UO answered back with a 6-0 run to take an 8-6 advantage, forcing the Buffs to use a timeout. CU came back to even the score at 14-14 and took the lead on the following point with a block by Austin and Pfefferle. The score was tied again at 16-16 before UO used a 4-0 run to take a 20-16 advantage. CU got back within a pair at 20-18, but the Ducks finished the frame with a 5-1 run (25-19).

The third set was very close the whole way. The Ducks were up 13-11 when the Buffs used a 3-1 run to take a 15-14 lead. UO tied it up on the next point, but CU answered with two straight points. The Buffs stayed at least one point ahead of the Ducks the rest of the set. CU led 23-20 when UO spent its final timeout. The Ducks took the first point out of the break, but the Buffs finished the set with the next two points of an UO service error and a kill from Ortiz Ruiz (25-21).

Oregon led the fourth set 11-4 when the Buffs used their second timeout of the game. The break worked and CU stormed back to take the next seven points to tie the game at 11-11. The Buffs went ahead at 14-13 and took the next point on an attack error by UO. The Ducks tied the set back up at 15-15, but CU went back ahead at 20-18. UO answered the Buffs, recording the following three points while regaining the lead (21-20), but again the Buffs came back to tie the game at 23-23. Unfortunately the Ducks finished the set and the match by taking the next two points (25-23).

The Buffs head home to the Coors Events Center for a pair of matches against No. 19 Arizona State on Friday, Oct. 3 at 6 p.m. and No. 18 Arizona on Sunday, Oct. 5 at 2 p.m.  Both matches will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

"We have another big week coming up with strong opponents at home, and we will take the positives from tonight and get back in the gym to get ready to take another step forward," Kritza said.