Colorado Opens 2-0 After Weekend Sweep of Oregon State
BOULDER—The Colorado Volleyball team earned a weekend sweep of Oregon State, beating the Beavers for the second time in three days to open the 2021 season with a 2-0 record on the strength of a 3-1 win (25-15, 25-22, 22-25, 25-16).
The Buffs open up the conference season 2-0 for the first time in the Pac-12 era and first time since 2006. Colorado has also won nine straight in Boulder over the Beavers. Oregon State falls to 0-2.
Jenna Ewert led the Buffs both offensively and defensively, as her 36 assists were spread out among the Buffs five offensive threats and all five Buffs had at least six kills, led by Elissa Alcantara, who had 16 kills and just two errors while hitting .368 in the match. Sterling Parker added nine kills, Meegan Hart had eight, Jill Schneggenburger seven and Rachael Fara six.
Defensively, Ewert came up with six blocks, bettered only by Hart's seven, and 14 digs, bettered by libero Brynna DeLuzio, who had her second straight career-best performance with 18 digs. Schneggenburger added 10 digs and Fara four blocks for the solid all-around performance from Colorado.
Despite not earning a sweep as they did on Friday, the Buffs did better their performance by exactly one point in each set from Friday's impressive victory. On Friday, the Buffs won the first set 25-16, earning a 25-15 win Sunday. The second set was 25-22, again one point better than Friday's 25-23 second set win, and in the fourth set, CU won 25-16 Sunday after closing out the match Friday with a 25-17 win.
After losing the third set, the Buffs and Beavers played evenly for the first third of the final set before CU closed the match on a 17-8 run while hitting .333 with just one attack error.
Colorado will now have a week off before hosting Cal on Friday, Feb. 5 and Sunday, Feb. 7. The Buffs were supposed to travel to Stanford next week but those matches were canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara County.
HOW IT HAPPENED
FIRST SET: The Buffs got off to a quick 5-1 lead in the first set on the strength of Ewert's serving, which included an ace and two attack errors. OSU was able to bring the score back within one at 6-5 where it stayed even until the Buffs, up 9-8, used an 11-2 run to take a 20-10 lead and then held it even for the 25-15 win. The Buffs had a balanced attack with all five hitters having multiple kills in the first set. Schneggenburger added two blocks. As a team, the Buffs hit .222 with 10 kills and added two aces, and held the Beavers to a .000 hitting percentage. .
SECOND SET: As it was on Friday, the second set was a closer affair, but in a similar fashion to the first set, the Buffs opened quickly and led the set 7-1 early on the serving of Schneggenburger and DeLuzio, who had an ace in the run. The Beavers then slowly clawed their way back into the set and tied it at 12-12 and the set would then be tied at 13-13 and 17-17. After the Buffs opened a 21-18 lead, OSU called a timeout and then brought the set to within 22-21 before the Buffs closed it out to win 25-22. Alcantara had three clutch kills at the end of the set to give the Buffs points 22, 23, and 24 before a Parker kill closed out the set. The Buffs, who were hitting less than .100 midway through the set, caught fire late to hit .184 in the set with 13 kills.
THIRD SET: Colorado got off to another quick 4-1 lead in the third set, but the Beavers immediately tied the match at 4-4 and 5-5 before taking their first lead in any of the three sets at 6-5 and building the lead to 10-7. A kill from Alacantra brought the Buffs within one at 11-10 and the set stayed even with the Buffs gaining a lead at 14-13 after an ace from Zoe Neverdowski. Oregon State would rattle off four straight points to take a 19-15 lead before Colorado took a timeout. The Buffs would make a late run in the set to close it within two at 23-21 after kills from Alcantara and Hart and a block by Parker and Hart. Oregon State would call a time out and close out the set, 25-22, to avoid the sweep.
FOURTH SET: The fourth set was a back-and-forth affair to open, featuring seven ties in the first eight points before the Buffs opened up an 11-8 lead and force a timeout from Oregon State. The second point of the set featured one of the longest rallies in recent memory with the Beavers winning it to open up a 2-0 lead before the Buffs quickly tied the set 2-2. After the Beavers' first timeout, the Buffs increased the lead to 15-9, a 7-1 run after the final tie at 8-8, with tough serving from DeLuzio and Ewert and forced OSU to call its second timeout. Another long rally later in the set, this one taken by the Buffs, perhaps put the nail in the coffin, giving CU a 19-13 lead and the Buffs would cruise to a 25-15 set win and 3-1 match victory.
Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
On The Match
"It was a better played volleyball match than Friday, which isn't surprising all teams have been played in so long so we were getting back into the rhythm of competition.Oregon State certainly played better today than they did Friday. I still felt like we played well, too, they just made a couple adjustments that took us a while to to catch up to. They ran the middle a lot more. They have a really nice slide hitter who had 30 attempts or something like that, we struggled to slow her down. But it was a great weekend anytime you can get two wins in the Pac-12 you want to take them. We're glad we opened up at home. We get a little bit of time off because we have an open weekend, then we have Cal coming in in two weeks and they're going to be really good team so we'll enjoy a little bit of time off, and then get back to work."
On Elissa Alcantara
"Elissa is a really dynamic athlete and when she gets a good runway and contacts the ball high she'stough to manage from a blocking standpoints. She was matched up against their big right side and did a really nice job of swinging tall, and especially in transition and a couple of those sets was the terminator for us. Sets two and a little bit in set four she was really the difference maker."
On The Blocking
"First of all, I think the the players did a really nice job of recognizing coverages. It's tough when you don't get film on anybody, and we play them once and then we have to prepare for them again, and then knowing that they're going to make some changes, I think our kids did a really nice job getting up to speed with what we wanted to do from a blocking defensive standpoint. Lee Maes runs our block and D system, and was really on top of it today, I think making the right calls and when our kids were executing which they did down the stretch especially, good things are gonna happen for us so we had eight blocks I think in three sets on Friday and 11 blocks in four sets. We're about where we want to be, we can always be a little bit better but excited to see them doing that."
"We have a lot of really talented liberos on the squad, the two players that are playing DS for us, Katie and Zoe, are fighting for that libero spot too, but Brynna has really just separated herself from a defensive standpoint, and she's such a great leader as well. I haven't looked at the numbers for her specifically but I know her presence, just helps us out there on the floor, and she's always in the right spot. She can step in and set the second ball if we need her to. She's a piece that we've been missing the last year and a half. We're just we're happy to have her back in whatever role we can get her."
Junior Libero Brynna DeLuzio
On Being Back at Libero
"It's great any chance to play. I've been out last year so it's just a blessing to be able to be out on the court and libero you get as many touches as you can so I love it. I love being a part of the play every chance I get."
On Passing to Jenna After Playing Setter
"Just from a setter standpoint, knowing just getting the ball high to slow it down to get in system for our setter to be able to transition. It has been a huge help because I can understand Jenna and instead of making her run around in those crazy rallies, understanding that getting the ball high can slow it down and allow us to run our offense better. So it's been a big help."
On Being Back on the Court
"It feels great. I just love playing, love playing with my teammates. Getting two wins off the bat and not playing last year, and having to wait all this time because of COVID it's just been really refreshing and a nice start to the season, honestly."
Junior Middle Meegan Hart
On Being Back on the Court
"It means a lot. I think it's been a long time coming of just being able to play so it's a blessing we even get to play and just be on the court and it felt great to be out there doing what we love, and just winning as a team."
On The Defense Today
"I think what help was obviously playing on Friday so just being able to watch film on them. I think our coaches did a great job helping us pick the right block call, and we just executed well. The pins did a great job of setting up and let us middles just to close and read the hitters well."