Colorado Returns Home Against Cal
BOULDER – The University of Colorado volleyball team returns to action after a week off with a pair of matches against Cal Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at noon here.
Colorado (2-0) is one of three unbeaten teams in the Pac-12 if Stanford is included without having played a match. The Buffs trail No.8 Utah (4-0) in the standings. Cal (0-4) is one of three teams in the conference without a win, including Stanford and Arizona.
Defense was the key to CU's two wins two weeks ago. Colorado was able to put up 2.71 blocks per set which is good for first in the conference and 23rd in the nation, led by setter Jenna Ewert at 1.57 blocks per set, Meegan Hart's 1.43 and Rachael Fara's 1.14 blocks per set, all three good for top-100 in the nation with Ewert ranked at 19th. The team is also fifth in the NCAA in opponent hitting percentage at .086. Combine the strong defense with strong serving as the Buffs put together 1.86 aces per set, good for 32nd in the nation.
Colorado looks to keep the offense rolling and make it more efficient this week as the Buffs hit .222 as a team in seven sets, led by Fara's .500 hitting percentage which is eighth in the nation currently. Elissa Alcantara is coming off of a 16 kill and .368 hitting percentage performance in the second match against the Beavers. She will be key as well as Sterling Parker who was limited to under 10 kills in both matches.
Another key to the Buffaloes success defensively was the position switch for Brynna DeLuzio at libero. She marked back-to-back career highs in digs and is 41st in the nation while averaging five digs per set.
Cal is searching for its first win of the season after facing No.22-ranked UCLA (now 18th) and No.8 Utah. In both matchups Cal took the second set of the first match, including a crazy 39-37 second set win against UCLA. Every second match was a sweep. The Golden Bears are hitting .138 in four matches while their opponents are hitting .321.
The team is led by Lydia Grote and Katarina Pantovic with 32 and 30 kills, respectfully. Grote also leads the team with a .299 hitting percentage. On the defensive side of the ball, Bella Bergmark has a team-best 12 blocks and Lexi Gruszczynski has 36 digs.