Buffs Slip For First Loss
PULLMAN, Wash. – Colorado volleyball couldn't survive a slow start on the road against No.22-ranked Washington State Thursday evening, falling to the Cougars 3-1 (25-14, 25-16, 19-25, 25-22) for its first loss of the season.
The Buffs (4-1 Pac-12) dropped an 18-12 lead in the fourth set, allowing WSU (5-2 Pac-12) to finish on a 13-4 run to win the match, including the final six points of the match. The Cougs defense was on display early, putting up 14 blocks to CU's eight while out-digging the Buffs by a 22, 67-45.
Colorado had numerous self-inflicted errors, including eight times being called in the net on block errors and sending 10 serves out of bounds. Despite this, Colorado dominated the third set and held Washington State to a .000 hitting percentage, then had a commanding 18-12 lead slip away in the fourth set.
The brightest moment in the match came when redshirt senior Leah Clayton entered the match for the first time in a CU jersey after Elissa Alcantara was subbed out of the first set after posting no kills and five errors on a dozen swings. Clayton put up 13 kills with only a pair of errors to hit .355 in her debut. She also was one dig shy of a double-double and had two blocks.
Clayton was joined by Rachael Fara who hit .350 with 11 kills and Jill Schneggenburger who had 10 kills. Jenna Ewert had 25 assists and four kills to tie with Sterling Parker for the fourth-most kills on the team. Defensively, Brynna DeLuzio had 16 digs and Meegan hart had four blocks.
Washington State was led by freshman Julianna Dalton who hit a career-best .300 with 13 kills. Pia Timmer added 12 kills, but the Buffs struggled most against Magda Jehlarova's six blocks and setter Hannah Pukis' four.
The Cougars backrow was also flying all over the place with Pukis and Julia Norville both posting 13 digs while two other Cougs had 11 and 10 digs.
The rematch comes Saturday at noon in Pullman. Washington State has yet to sweep a series at home, dropping a match to both Oregon and No.18 UCLA at home in the second matchup.
HOW IT HAPPENED
First Set: The Cougars started off with a four-point run, leading early at 5-1 as CU seemed to be figuring things out with Hart back in the starting lineup. Colorado responded with a three-point run of their own before a block error ended the run. Washington State put down a pair of aces to extend the lead to 11-5 before Colorado called its first timeout. The Cougs continued to roll to a lead, hitting the 16 mark with a seven-point lead when Colorado called its second timeout of the set. The Buffs had no answers to the WSU defense as the Cougs moved to 20-10 in the first set. The Buffs brought in Leah Clayton for her first action as a Buffalo but trailed 22-11 without an answer to the WSU block. Colorado began to work back into the match, moving to 23-14 before WSU reached set point. The Cougars won the set 25-14 in the first set behind five blocks.
Second Set: Things started out closer to even in the second set with Colorado trailing Washington State 5-3. The lead extended to 11-6 as CU shuffled hitters with Schneggenburger in for Alcantara after Clayton came in for Schneggenburger. The lead stayed as Colorado called timeout at 15-9 after CU committed its third blocking error of the match. Colorado offense was struggling with a .068 hitting percentage compared to .419. The Cougars continued to roll past Colorado to a 20-11 lead when CU called its second timeout of the set. The Buffs challenged a tip at the 23-11 mark, with the results staying and the challenge going unsuccessful. Colorado was granted a point off of a lineup error, sparking a small run to 23-15. The Cougars took the set 25-16, hitting .448 in the set with CU hitting .108. WSU was out-digging Colorado 35-17 and out-blocking them 8-1.
Third Set: Colorado finally took its first lead of the match at 3-2 in the third set. Colorado put together a five-point run to take a 5-2 lead. The Buffs held the lead and kept WSU hitting negative to 9-5. A three-point scoring run forced Washington State into its first timeout of the match, 12-7. CU rolled to the next break when WSU called timeout at 16-10. The Cougars had only five kills on five errors in the set at that point. Colorado pushed to a 21-13 lead behind numerous blocks. CU hit set point at 24-19, capitalizing on an attack error on the next point to take the set 25-19. The Buffs held the Cougs to a .000 hitting percentage in the set.
Fourth Set: The fourth set started out even at 3-3. Washington State found a 6-4 lead as the match continued. Colorado's fourth ace tied it up at six all. The back-and-forth action continued to 9-9 before CU went on a four-point run with four-straight kills, three of which came from Fara, WSU called timeout 12-9. Colorado challenged a play at 12-11, winning the challenge to take a 13-10 lead. Colorado pushed to a 17-12 lead, forcing a WSU timeout. The battle continued as CU climbed to a 19-16 lead behind Clayton's 12 kills. Clayton gave CU the 20-16 lead with her 13th kill while hitting .355. That point went under review from a WSU challenge, but it was unsuccessful. The challenge gave WSU time to recollect and pull within one at 20-19, forcing CU to call a timeout. Out of the break, Ewert took matters into her own hands right off the reception, giving CU a 21-19 lead before Schneggenburger put down a block solo. A service error followed by a WSU kill forced CU to call timeout up 22-21. Out of the break, WSU tied it up at 22 all on a three-point run. Another kill gave the Cougs the lead at 23-22, but coach Mahoney challenged the Cougs in the net to take a quick pause. The Cougars reached match point at 24-22, then finished it off with consecutive Schneggenburger errors.
Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
On The Match
"Kudos to WSU for playing a very good match. Obviously, it took us too long to get into a rhythm and we didn't start to play well until the third set. We had our chances in the fourth set to extend it but couldn't score down the stretch and they played great defense."
On Leah Clayton
"Leah had a great match overall - passed well and hit for a high percentage. On Saturday we will need to find kills from a few more players. We are looking forward to the rematch."