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Buffs Sweep Bears To Move To 4-0 On Season

Feb 7, 2021

BOULDER— Jenna Ewert led an impressive offensive output by the Colorado Buffaloes Volleyball team that led to a 3-0 sweep of the Cal Bears, 25-17, 25-11, 25-14, Sunday afternoon at the CU Events Center. 

Colorado moves to 4-0 to open a season for the sixth time in history and open with a 4-0 record in conference play for the seventh time, but first since 1998 when the Buffs opened Big 12 Conference play 7-0.  Cal drops to 0-6 on the season.  Colorado is now just one of two undefeated teams remaining in the Pac-12 along with Utah.  

The Buffs hit .337 as a team and held Cal to just .106 in the three-set match.  The Buffs, who also hit .386 on Friday against the Bears, hit over .300 in consecutive matches for the first time since the start of the 2019 season in the Pac-12/Big Ten Showdown, hitting. 334 at Iowa and .462 the next day against Illinois.  

CU's defense has been solid to open the season, holding their opponent under .200 in each of the first four matches of the season, also the longest stretch since the 2019 pre-conference schedule and longest stretch in Pac-12 play since the middle of the 2018 season.  

Ewert conducted the offense efficiently, which was led by Elissa Alcantara, who hit .464 with 15 kills, and Alexia Kuehl, who hit .545 with six kills on 11 swings in just her second career start.  Ewert herself had four kills in six attempts and in all had 28 assists.  CU also served extremely well with 11 aces, including four from Taylor deProsse and three from Katie Lougeay.  Ewert also added two aces.  

Defensively, the Buffs were also impressive, holding Cal to just .106 with 12 blocks as a team, including four each from Ewert and Rachael Fara.   Ewert also led the way for CU with 12 digs while Brynna DeLuzio added 10.  Jill Schneggenburger added seven digs and two blocks.  

Colorado will now hit the road for the first time this season, traveling to Pullman, Wash., for two matches against the Washington State Cougars next Thursday and Saturday.  The Buffs will next be at home the following week with a pair of matches against Washington on Feb. 19 and 21.  The Cougars are 4-2 on the season earning weekend splits with Oregon and UCLA and a sweep of Arizona State.  

The teams played the first three points of the first set even, but then Lougeay came into serve and the Buffs went on a 7-0 run, including three consecutive aces to set the tone early.  That burst was enough to carry the Buffs through the first set as the Buffs maintained a four to six point lead throughout before scoring the final two points, kills by Kuehl and Sterling Parker, to close out the set.  

SECOND SET: The Buffs got off to a fast start in the second set, as well, opening a 7-2 lead off four straight points from Schneggenburger.  With the Buffs up 3-2, Schneggenberger got back-to-back solo blocks and then back to back kills to open up the early lead.  She then did some damage serving, scoring two traditional points in a 3-0 run to make 12-6.  The Buffs held the Bears to just 11 points with another 8-1 run that made the score 20-7 and held on for a 25-11 advantage.  

THIRD SET: The final set was closer to start and saw the game tied at 6-6 with neither team opening up more than a one-point advantage.  deProsse then went to work at the service line and in a 6-0 run she had two aces that sandwiched a Cal timeout.  The Buffs maintained a lead of about six to eight points through the six rotations until deProsse had another chance to serve and she responded with two more aces to push the score to 23-13 and the Buffs held on for a 25-14 win.  

Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
"It was a great match and a fun weekend. It is rare to get two wins in this league in the same weekend. It is rare to get sweeps in this league. I am really proud of our team and how they came out with a lot of focus and a lot of fire to start the match. The challenge for us was to keep that fire and focus throughout the entire match which we struggled with a little bit Friday night. They stepped up to that challenge and played a great match. Elissa Alcantara had another great offensive match. We didn't have maybe the production that we've had out of some of our other players but we had kids like Alexia (Kuehl) step in and get a lot of kills for us for a high percentage. Jill (Schneggenburger) had a great match. It was a really nice team effort for us tonight."
On What They Learned On Friday
"Cal is a talented team and they fight. We knew that this would be a really competitive match, especially if we didn't come in with the right mindset. If you look at the stats from Friday night, we dominated in every statistical category and still had to go five (sets). We talked about no let downs and making sure we are playing every point as best we can. I think our kids stepped up to the challenge today."
On The Team To This Point
"I think we have a lot of talent on this team and there are players that we rely on to be successful, and then there are players who step up when those other players maybe aren't as successful as they can be. We are still early in the season. I know it is weird to think about. Normally we don't play Pac-12 matches until we've had 10 or 12 under our belt. We are still early in the season. We are still trying to figure out the rhythm of playing high level competition. It was good for us to be pushed on Friday and for us to respond like we did today. We are going on the road against a great team in Washington State this week right away. We only get one practice before we have to leave for that."
On Serving
"We put a big focus on what we do in practice as far as serving goes and I think that's really paid off. The players that are out there are serving really well. They are hitting the targets that we are asking them. They are putting a lot of movement on the ball. I thought we passed okay, but we didn't get aced. I thought we got Cal really out of system quite a lot. We got them stuck in a couple rotations and scored three, four, five, six points in a row and really broke open each set that way."
On Their Depth
"It is a lot of fun. We have a lot of talent. Right now, we have three players sitting out. We still have a lot of talent on the bench that can step in. We are trying to get as many people a taste of competition when we have the opportunity, so when we call on them when we need them in competition they will be comfortable going out there. I thought Maya (Tabron) did a really nice job. I thought Taylor deProsse serving really did a fantastic job. We have kids on the bench who
people haven't seen yet who are going to be great players here when they get their opportunity."
Junior Jenna Ewert
On if five set game against Cal was good
"Yeah, I always thing that its good when we get pushed.  When we played Oregon State we started the season 2-0.  I know from experience, last season we were 5-0 then went on a rough streak for a while.  I think that getting pushed and being reminded to be competitive, and people can take a win from you is a good reminder.  I think that being pushed on Friday really helped us show up today."
On The Mindset Coming Into This Match
"I think this game we had a little more assurance. We played them and we knew their game. I think we had confidence in being able to execute how we were going to defend against them. That was it really. We all just went in and were adamant in winning. Everybody executed really well."
On What They Will Take From This Weekend
"What I am going to take from it is like on Friday, any team can put you in a tough spot especially in the Pac-12. Going into Washington State on Wednesday, they are a really good team. They've played really well so far so just are keeping that in mind. It doesn't matter who you are playing, we need to make sure we show up, play as hard as we can, and compete with the best of the best."
On Filling Up The Stat Sheet
"I have never really done that before. Everything I usually do is assists and digging. I feel a little more comfortable with my blocking. We will see how it continues to grow. It is really cool being aggressive in every aspect, being aggressive at the net, being aggressive on defense, and having the confidence to execute it. That gives other people the confidence when the ball comes to me and whenever anybody can execute any part of the game, it helps you push moving forward, get more energy and things like that."
On Their Depth
"I think we have always known we have a lot of depth. We are in practice and play 6-on-6. Whoever is hitting against you, you know you are going to have to dig them, block them, or press against them. I think we have known that in practice. Being able to see them come into a game, seeing Alexia put up a huge block, executing her, and slamming the ball down, they have nothing they can do about it. That is really special. Giving her the ability to get in and show what she's got, that is always special, especially in the Pac-12."
Sophomore Elissa Alcantara
On if five set game against Cal was good
"Yeah I think it was because they did a lot of things that we weren't looking in at scout on Friday.  When we came back today, we really harped on the fact that they were setting the go more than the red, and they were going to set the gap more. I think that we had a little bit of time to watch scout on them again, so we came back harder and fought."
On her game high 12 kills
"I was just trying to survive because there were a lot of junk balls. I knew that Jenna (Ewert) and the liberos were going to be getting us the ball.  I think that as an outside, we get a lot of junk balls and we just have to survive and keep the game going or try and find shots that are open."
On team's hitting success
"I am actually really excited about the way that we have started our first two weekends of playing.  In practice, we have all just been going hard, and fighting to stay undefeated.  When we go into Washington State, we are going to do a lot of scout and film.  We are just ready to keep going."
On team's first road trip
"I'm kind of excited to travel again because it has been a long time.  I know that all of the girls are also excited.  We are going to keep our heads up and go in with a lot of confidence.  We are really excited."