Colorado Sweeps Beavers In Opener
BOULDER – Colorado volleyball started off the 2021 spring season with a 3-0 sweep (25-16, 25-23, 25-17) against Oregon State, led by a strong defensive performance from setter Jenna Ewert and libero Brynna DeLuzio Friday night here.
The Buffs (1-0, 1-0 Pac-12) outhit the Beavers (0-1, 0-1 Pac-12) .209 to .028, including holding OSU to negative hitting percentages in sets one and three. Ewert was a strong factor defensively, posting a match-high five blocks along with her five digs, two aces and 25 assists. Anything that did get through for Oregon State was cleaned up nicely by Brynna DeLuzio, who posted 17 digs in her first start at libero.
On the offensive side, sophomore Elissa Alcantara led the team with 10 kills with a .172 hitting percentage. She was joined by graduate transfer Rachael Fara who had an outstanding .583 hitting percentage with nine kills in her debut in the black and gold. Fara was also second on the team with four blocks.
Also for Colorado offensively, Sterling Parker notched seven kills and a .263 hitting percentage, while Jill Schneggenburger added five kills and hit .200. Ewert, Katie Lougeay and Schneggenburger all added five digs.
Colorado posted eight aces, tying the most in a match in the past two seasons.
For the Beavers, Maddie Goings posted 10 kills with a .033 hitting percentage, while Grace Massey had 10 digs. Izzi Szulczewski had a team-high 15 assists.
The two teams match up against Sunday morning at 11 a.m.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Colorado opened against the match against OSU with a 3-0 run. CU forced an early Oregon State timeout after a run of 4-1 which brought the score to 7-1. Out of the break, the Buffs set up a run of six. Both teams battled midway in the first set, but CU continued to lead the Beavers 13-6. Colorado built on their lead by dominating the first set 19-11. Thus far, Fara led CU with three kills while Thachakeno leads OSU with three. The Buffs forced the Beavers to take their second timeout after Colorado took a 21-12 lead. The Buffs closed out the first set on a 3-0 run, taking the first set 25-16.
The Buffs opened the second set with a run of four. Fara continued to lead CU with four kills while Ewert racked up 11 assists. Both teams continued to battle to a score of 7-5 while Lopez led OSU with six assists. Oregon and CU battled to a tie of seven early in the second set. After the Buffs fell behind to the Beavers 10-11, Jill Schneggenburger tied it back up with an ace, 11-11. OSU went on to take the lead 15-11 forcing CU to call their first timeout. Out of the break, OSU battled to take the lead 16-14. The Buffs regained the lead with a 4-0 run to make the score 17-16. In that run, Jill Schneggenburger served her second ace. Thus far, Szulczewski led in assists for OSU with eight and Ewert led CU with 13 assists. Oregon State called a timeout after CU took a 23-22 lead. Out of the break, Colorado set up set point and then shortly won after a Fara kill.
Both teams began the third set battling to a tie of four. Early in third set, Sterling Parker delivered a kill to give the Buffs an 8-7 lead. The Beavers called a timeout after the Buffs took a 15-11 lead. Thus far, Fara and Alcantara were tied for the lead with eight kills apiece. Meanwhile, Goings led the Beavers with eight kills. After an Alcantara kill, the Buffs went on to add to their lead making it 18-12. Several plays later, Colorado went up 21-15 which forced OSU's second timeout. Out of the break, Zoe Neverdowski had an ace. Colorado went on to set up match point after an OSU error. Several plays later, Colorado closed out the match after taking the third set 25-17.
Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
On the match
"It's great for both teams and a testament to what everyone is doing to get us out on the floor and have everyone healthy and ready to go. We haven't played anyone else in a long time, so I think both teams were a little rusty. As the match went on it was really good to get some competitive fire going. I was really happy with Brynna DeLuzio at libero, Jenna did great moving the offense around and we pass really well. This was a very good serving team and we passed well enough to score when we needed to. Excited to get the win and now we have to do something we never do, play them back to back which is interesting because they will make changes and we need to be ready for that."
On Brynna being back
"Brynna DeLuzio for people that have been watching us for the past couple years, they know what a great player she is. She's a fantastic setter, as a freshman led us to the Sweet Sixteen, then has struggled with health issues since. We're excited to have her back because she makes us so much better, I'm excited for her because it's been a long road for her. She's had to battle through a lot of things to get back on that floor and to switch positions for us. She's at a point where she just wanted to get on the floor and play wherever she can help us, and that was at libero."
On Rachael's performance
"Rachael is a grad transfer and she is a real smart kid. She's been around, played a lot of programs. She was in the BIG TEN, played on tournament teams. Even though she's new, having that experience is helpful for us and just like Jenna she is a competitive kid who wants to get out there and win every time. Nothing phases her so she is going to play well in crunch time like she did tonight."
"We've made an effort with our back to back off seasons to work on what we do training serving wise. We start off every one of those sets with our three best servers back-to-back-to-back to really put pressure on the other team. Our error percentage was a little more than I wanted but when you end up with eight aces you're doing something right. Hopefully that continues to be a positive for us moving forward."
Sophomore Elissa Alcantara
On the excitement of playing
"It was honestly an amazing feeling, I love this team so much and we went 14 months without playing an actual game so getting back on the court and winning was a lot for us."
On the energy
"I think Jenna did a really good job trying to bring up the team when we were in a rut. Jenna made us all energetic. Brynna was also in the huddle talking to us after every points, getting us pumped up as well."
On the sweep
"That was an amazing feeling, it was our first game getting back on the court and we thought we might be complacent a little bit but we fought through, especially in that first set we took them down but they played really well too."
Junior Jenna Ewert
On being on the court
"It felt better than expected, a lot of girls were thinking let's stay calm and be hard but it came back quicker than we thought it would. It was nice and it was competitive and we got after it."
On Brynna getting back
"It was heartwarming to see her back on the court. She's been through a lot. We split time my freshman year so I never got to be on the court with her, until this season. Every time I'm on the court I understand why people say she has a presence, she's a leader and can keep people calm in a crazy rally and things like that. It's really good to see someone that worked so hard and wait so long to get back on the court and compete at a high level."
On Rachael's performance
"Rachael is super intense in the front row, she's constantly calling out what's going on in the other side. I'll get up and put up a block and nobody has ever really yelled at me but she'll go 'great setup.' She's always super intense, always wants the ball. It's fun to have a middle getting up on every play, it's a super tiring position. It's nice having someone up early and swinging away. I love her, I love her energy."