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Buffs Get Revenge On No. 19 Arizona State

Nov 2, 2014


TEMPE, Ariz. —For the second straight match, the Buffaloes toppled a ranked opponent, this time defeating No. 19 Arizona State 3-2 (25-19, 29-27, 23-25, 15-25,15-11) in an excitement filled match on Sunday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.

For the first time since 2005, the University of Colorado volleyball team defeated a pair of ranked opponents in the same week. Prior to Sunday’s win against ASU, the Buffs upset No. 15 Arizona on Friday night. The last time CU accomplished the feat, the Buffs beat No. 20 Kansas State (Oct. 12) and No. 25 Texas A&M (Oct. 16).

CU is now 15-9 overall and are 7-5 in Pac-12 play, which is currently third in the league standings. The Buffs got revenge on the Sun Devils (16-8, 6-6 Pac-12) after dropping a heart breaking five-set contest earlier this season in Boulder.

Senior Taylor Simpson led CU with 18 kills, while fellow senior Neira Ortiz Ruiz tied her career-high with 17 kills in the win. Ortiz Ruiz hit a team-best .400 with five errors on 20 attacks.

The Buffs posted 24.0 team blocks, a season-best. CU had 15 block solos in the match, breaking a school record for the most solo blocks in a five-set match. The previous record of 14 was set in 1990 against Texas.

Freshman Anna Pfefferle recorded nine blocks, three solo and six assists. Simpson also had a strong presence at the net with seven total blocks (six solo and one assist). Ortiz Ruiz and junior Alexis Austin each posted six blocks. Both had two solos and four assists. Sophomore Katelyn Cuff got in on the action with four blocks (one solo and three assists) and freshman Gabby Simpson added one block solo.

Neither team had a great hitting percentage, although the Buffs hit slightly higher than ASU at .161-.136. CU had 61 kills in the match, while the Sun Devils had 54. The Buffs recorded 34 hitting errors on 168 attacks, while ASU had 32 errors on 162 swings.

Offensively, the Buffs also had help from Austin, who recorded nine kills in the win. Pfefferle had eight kills for CU and Cuff notched six kills.

CU also had the slight edge in digs, recording 63 to ASU’s 61. Sophomore Cierra Simpson picked up a career-high 28 digs. Taylor Simpson had 10 digs and junior Nicole Edelman tallied seven digs.

ASU was led by Macey Gardner’s 22 kills. McKenzie Willey had 11 kills and Mercedes Binns added 10 kills in the effort. Halle Harker had a team-best 16 digs for ASU and Andi Lowrance posted six blocks (one solo and five assists).

The Buffs came out of the gates strong, taking the first two sets. They looked to close the match in the third set, but missed by the closest margin (two points) as the Sun Devils came back in the match to push the contest to five sets.

CU started the first set 11-2 and increased the least to 14-4 before ASU put together a 4-1 run to cut the Buffs lead to 15-8. The Sun Devils were able close the gap to six points at 18-12, but CU answered with a kill from Ortiz Ruiz and a block by Taylor Simpson to take back an eight-point advantage (20-12). ASU fought back again, this time getting within five points at 23-18, forcing the Buffs to use a timeout. CU got to set point with a kill from Austin following the break (24-18). ASU fought off the first set point, but Austin came back with another kill to end the game 25-19.

The second set was a lot closer and required extra points. ASU had a four-point advantage at 11-7 when the Buffs called a timeout. CU came back to even the set at 11-11 and from there neither team had larger than a deuce lead. ASU had set point at 24-23, but Taylor Simpson evened the game for the Buffs. CU took the following point for their first set point of the match, but this time ASU answered to tie the set up (25-25). The Buffs had three more set points before they were able to close the set 29-27.

ASU led the third frame 9-6, but the Buffs answered with a 5-0 run to take an 11-9 advantage in the game. After a Sun Devil timeout, ASU recorded a kill, but Ortiz Ruiz recorded another kill to give the Buffs a two-point lead again (12-10). CU increased its advantage to 19-13 when ASU climbed back with a 6-0 run and even the set at 19-19. The Sun Devils took the lead at 21-20 and increased it to a pair at 23-21. Two points later, the Sun Devils had set point (24-22). The Buffs fought off the first set point, but ASU closed the set 25-23.

The Sun Devils pulled out to a 9-4 lead in the fourth set. CU chipped away at the ASU lead and got within a point at 10-8, but again the Sun Devils pulled back to a four-point lead (12-8). ASU increased the lead to six at 19-13, forcing the Buffs to take another timeout. The Sun Devils added three more points (22-13) and went on to take the set 25-15.

The Buffs took the first two points in the final set and increased it to 5-1 lead, causing ASU to take a timeout. Taylor Simpson tallied a kill out of the break (6-1) and the Buffs led 8-3 at the side change in the race to 15. ASU took its final timeout after the next CU point (9-3). The Buffs didn’t let up and increased their advantage to 12-5. CU had a 13-6 lead when the Sun Devils three straight points (13-9), forcing the Buffs to take a timeout. ASU took the next two points (13-11), but Taylor Simpson had enough and hammed a kill to bring CU to set point. Cuff finished the match on the following point with a kill (15-11).

Colorado returns to the Coors Events Center for a four-match home stand. Next weekend the Buffs will host No. 16 UCLA on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m. and No. 20 USC on Sunday, Nov. 9 at 12 p.m.

Notes: Taylor Simpson recorded her 15th double-double of the season…CU’s next three opponents are ranked in the top 25...CU is 4-6 against ranked opponents this season and is 5-4 in road matches this year…The Buffs will play five of the remaining eight matches at the Coors Events Center.