Buffs Top Bears In Four
BOULDER — Senior Alexis Austin hammered 18 kills as the University of Colorado volleyball team defeated the California Bears 3-1 (25-22, 36-34, 17-25, 25-17) on Friday night at the Coors Events Center.
CU improved to 11-8 overall (3-4 Pac-12) with the win, while Cal is now 6-12 (0-7 Pac-12).
"Credit to Cal this is a great fight; they have a lot of good players," head coach Liz Kritza said. "But if we follow the game plan and let our offense run the way that we know that it should, then we expected to be coming away with a win tonight. For us, the other part of our team is that we are not satisfied. We know that we can play better; we want to and we need to, for the next opponent coming in here."
Austin had an all-around match, adding 10 digs and three blocks for her second double-double of the season.
Sophomore Gabby Simpson was second on the team with 15 kills and was close to a double-double with eight digs. Senior Nicole Edelman had a great night, directing the Buffs to a .267 hitting percentage (65 kills and 21 errors on 165 attacks) with 52 assists. She also added seven kills on 10 errorless attacks to hit .700.
For the second time in three matches, junior Cierra Simpson picked up 31 digs. She is the third Buff to record 30 or more digs in a match, joining Callie Webster and Rachel Wacholder. Cierra Simpson also broke CU's rally scoring era career digs record in the match, which had been 1, 170 (set by Nicole Carr, 2002-05). She currently has 1,179.
"CeCe is doing a fantastic job," Kritza said. "Of the 31 digs she made, I guarantee if I go an ask her she is going to talk about the eight or nine that she didn't make—that's why she is progressing like this. Climbing through the conference ranks and digs is one thing, but contributing to her team's success is the greater value in these 31 digs."
As a team, the Buffs recorded 67 digs and also put up 10.0 team blocks. Freshman Naghede Abu posted a team-best five block assists, while Edelman had four block assists. Sophomore Anna Pfefferle recorded three block assists, Gabby Simpson had two block assists and junior Katelyn Cuff added one block assist.
"We have a win, took care of our business, but there are things we need to correct, and there some still unfinished business left on that court for these players," Kritza said. "And they respond well to that when that happens."
Cal had two players that recorded 17 kills, Lara Vukasovic and Christine Alftin. Lillian Schonewise hit a team best .320 with 12 kills and four errors on 25 attacks and had four blocks, two solo and two assists. Maddy Kerr had 17 digs for the Bears.
Cal had a 15-12 lead at the first timeout of set one, but the Buffs stormed back with four straight points, including a pair of blocks by Edelman and Abu, to take a 16-15 lead, forcing the Bears to take a break. Austin hammered a kill out of the timeout to give the Buffs a 17-15 advantage. Cal was able to rally back, evening the frame at 19-19.
The score was tied again at 20-20 when CU recorded a kill from Gabby Simpson. After a Cal attack error, the Bears needed to take another timeout (22-20). Cal took the first point out of the break, but the Buffs answered back (23-21). The two sides again exchanged points to bring the score to 24-22 and the Buffs won the set on the following point with a block by Austin and Pfefferle.
The Bears had the lead to start the second set and were up 12-10 when CU put together a 3-0 run to go up 13-12, causing Cal to take a timeout. Cal came back to retake the lead at 15-14, but the Buffs answered with another 3-0 run to take the lead back at 17-15. The Bears took the following two points to tie the game at 17-17.
Abu came out of the break with a huge kill and Gabby Simpson added one of her own to give CU a two-point lead (19-17), but again the lead was erased with Cal tying the set two points later. The set was tied two more times before the Bears would take another timeout, trailing CU 22-21.
Cal recorded the first two points after the break, but a kill from Joslyn Hayes tied the set again (23-23). A kill from Austin gave the Buffs set point (24-23), but Cal tallied the next two points to have their own set point (25-24). The Buffs fought that off with another kill from Austin (25-25). Neither side was willing to let the game end as it was tied nine more times before CU finally came away with a 36-34 second set win.
The Bears started set three with an 8-3 lead before the Buffs took a timeout. CU got the score within two at 10-8, forcing Cal to use a timeout of its own. The Buffs took the next point off a Cal attack error (10-9), but then the Bears pulled back ahead 14-10.
Cal led the third set 19-14 when the Buffs needed to take another timeout. The Bears didn't let up out of the break, taking the set 25-17.
The fourth set started much better for CU as it led 9-6 when Cal called for timeout. The Buffs recorded a 4-2 run out of the break to go up 13-8. The two teams exchanged points for the following eight before the Buffs tallied two-in-a-row to take an 18-12 advantage.
The Bears took their final timeout with CU leading the set 20-13. They posted the following two points (20-15) before Austin sided-out for the Buffs with a kill. Edelman added another kill for the Buffs before Cal took another pair (22-17). CU came back to finish the set with three consecutive points (25-17).