Buffs Cruise Past Oregon State
CORVALLIS, Ore. — The University of Colorado volleyball team earned its second straight Pac-12 win on Sunday afternoon, sweeping Oregon State, 25-19, 25-23, 25-14, at Gill Coliseum.
"We accomplished what we set out to do on this road swing, which is return home with two Pac-12 wins, which is never an easy feat," head coach Liz Kritza said. "After the long match on Friday, we focused on playing much more efficiently and not getting behind and having to mount another comeback. Striking first was essential to our success today."
CU is now 10-6 overall, 2-2 in the Pac-12, while OSU is 3-11, 1-3 in the Pac-12.
The Buffs hit an impressive .410 in the match. They had 52 kills and just nine errors on 105 swings. Sophomore Gabby Simpson led the both teams with 16 kills and hit .387 with four errors on 31 attacks. Senior Alexis Austin was second in the match with 14 kills while hitting .433 (just one error on 30 swings).
"The offensive performances by Gabby Simpson and Alexis Austin were very strong this morning," Kritza said. "Alexis is playing like a true veteran and is doing what it takes to be ready to perform every match. Credit to our sports med professional, Marissa Holliday, who works tirelessly to keep these players as fresh as possible, especially coming at the tail end of a long series of road swings.
"Gabby's offensive game is continually elevating and she carried a huge load this morning," Kritza continued. "Her success comes through consistent hard work on her part. I am proud of what she is doing to better herself and increase her contribution to the team."
Three Buffs hit .500 in the contest: sophomore Anna Pfefferle (nine kills and two errors on 14 attacks), senior Nicole Edelman (four kills on eight errorless attacks) and freshman Naghede Abu (six kills and one error on 10 swings). Edelman also had 36 of CU's 49 assists.
"Our offense was very effective today, and Nicole did a very good job of getting hitters going and keeping the offense firing throughout the entire match," Kritza said. "Both Anna and Naghede handled their workload in the middle with great aplomb and we look for their continued contribution as well."
Colorado came up with 45 digs and 4.0 blocks in the win. Junior Cierra Simpson led the team with 14 digs and also added seven assists. Edelman picked up eight digs and Austin added seven digs. Freshman Abbie D'Agosta and Gabby Simpson each collected six digs. Pfefferle led the charge at the net, posting one block solo and two block assists.
"CeCe (Cierra) turned in another strong defensive performance, leading all players in digs again," Kritza said. "She continues to be an elite passer and is crucial to our serve reception."
The Beavers were led by Katelyn Driscoll's 12 kills. Mary-Kate Marshall was second on the team with 11 kills. OSU was held to a .218 hitting percentage, which included a .091 in the third set. The Beavers had 37 kills and 15 errors on 101 tries.
The Buffs owned the first set, easily taking it 25-19. CU led 9-4 when OSU took its first timeout but the Buffs didn't let up, increasing the lead to 13-7, at which point OSU took its final timeout of the set. CU had an eight-point lead at 18-10 when OSU took three straight points, which caused CU to use a timeout of its own. OSU took the next two points out of the break to get within three points, but then the Buffs turned it back up. CU retook a six-point lead at 22-16 and went on to close the set 25-19. CU hit .433 in the set with 15 kills and only two errors.
CU went up 9-4 in the second set when OSU took a timeout. It was able to slow the Buffs down a bit and got within two points at 7-5, but the Buffs were able to pull away again, retaking a four-point advantage at 12-8. The Beavers fought back, using a 7-2 run to take a 15-14 lead.
After a media timeout, OSU recorded an ace, but Edelman answered with a kill of her own (16-15). An ace by D'Agosta tied the set up at 16-16. The Buffs were able to go ahead after a block by Abu and Austin a few points later at 18-17. The two sides battled, but OSU would have a 21-19 lead late in the set. After a CU timeout, the Buffs took two straight to tie the set, forcing OSU to use a timeout. The set was tied again at 23-23 when CU took the lead with a kill from Pfefferle and sophomore Stephanie Shadley finished the set for CU with an ace (25-23).
The third set also started very close. It was tied three times before the Buffs opened the frame up with an 11-7 lead. The Beavers took a timeout, but Austin recorded a kill on the next point (12-7) to hold serve. The Buffs continued to attack, going up 17-9 before OSU used its final timeout of the game. OSU tried to get back in the set, but the Buffs were rolling and went on to finish the match 25-14.
"We will call it a good weekend when we return home with a hard fought win over a top 25 team and a three set sweep. Now we have to get back to work to get ready for the next Pac-12 challenge in store for us."
Colorado will open Pac-12 play at the Coors Events Center on Friday, Oct. 9, against No. 2 USC.