Washington Sweeps Buffs
BOULDER — Colorado volleyball couldn't overcome slow starts Sunday afternoon against No.10-ranked Washington, losing in three sets (25-22, 25-22, 26-24) here.
The Buffs (4-4) find themselves at .500 after dropping four-straight as Washington (8-2) sets up for a top of the conference matchup with No.7 Utah next week, though the Utes had to cancel both its matches against Oregon this past week for COVID protocols.
Colorado made some strong defensive adjustments from Friday, holding the Huskies to a .208 hitting percentage, but close set plays and late starts were too difficult to overcome for CU. In the eight sets played this weekend, only one was decided by more than three points.
Defensively, Colorado did all it could to slow down Washington. Sterling Parker led the team with three blocks, while Brynna DeLuzio put up 14 digs. Jill Schneggenburger added 10 digs of her own, but it wasn't enough to hold back Claire Hoffman and Sam Drechsel who had 14 and 12 kills, respectfully.
The Buffs struggled offensively as Leah Clayton couldn't reproduce the magical 29 kill night she had Friday. The redshirt senior led Colorado with nine kills but had a .062 hitting percentage. Behind her, Rachael Fara had seven kills while Elissa Alcantara, Parker and Meegan Hart all had six kills. Hart was the lone Buff with a hitting percentage greater than .300, as she hit .500 without an error. Jenna Ewert dished out 30 assists and added three kills.
The service game was another area that UW exploited, posting five aces while holding CU without an ace for the first time this season.
Colorado returns to action next weeking in Eugene with a top-25 matchup against the Ducks. Friday's time has yet to be determined, but Sunday's time is set for 11:30 a.m. MT.
HOW IT HAPPENED
First Set – The Huskies opened up a quick 4-1 lead, halted momentarily as Mahoney challenged a pancake dig unsuccessfully. Washington continued to push the lead to 10-5 with a pair of aces. Colorado began to charge back, bringing the lead to a pair at 13-11. The Huskies came out with a pair of points to take a four-point lead at the media timeout, 15-11. The Buffs brought it within one at 16-15. The one-point lead continued to 19-18. Washington picked up the next two points, forcing a timeout from CU down three at 21-18. Washington hit set point at 24-21, but CU had a sideout and then called timeout. Colorado subbed in Maya Tabron for Leah Clayton to serve, but the Huskies sniffed it out and went right at her for a 25-22 set win.
Second Set – Colorado took an early 3-1 lead. Washington put down a pair of blocks to cut the lead to one, tying up the set at five apiece. The Huskies strung together a four-point run to take the lead at 7-5 with their third block of the set already. The Buffs returned the favor with a pair of kills to tie it back up at seven. CU retook the lead at 10-9. The teams battled to a 14 tie, trading leads to the media point. The Huskies took a 17-16 lead when Colorado challenged the play for a touch unsuccessfully. Both teams took the tie to 20 all. Washington took the next two points, but Colorado challenged the 22nd point after the corner judge called a pancake dig down but play continued. The point standed as called and the Huskies took the next point, forcing CU into a timeout as UW was hitting .364 in the set led by Drechsel and Hoffman's eight kills apiece. The Huskies hit set point at 24-21, surviving the first and calling timeout. Colorado served out of bounds to end the set at 25-22.
Third Set – Colorado took the first two points of the set. The Buffs extended their lead to 7-4. Washington strung together three points to tie it up at eight all, then continued the run to take the lead momentarily. Washington pushed to a three-point lead at 15-12. Colorado stormed out of the break with a 6-1 run, including four-straight, to force Washington into its first timeout. The teams battled to a 22-21 Washington lead, forcing Colorado into a timeout. The Buffs put together a pair of points to tie things up at 23 all, forcing a Washington timeout. The Buffs took set point, but Washington rallied twice to force Colorado into a timeout facing match point. Washington finished it off with a solo block from Drechsel.
On The Match
"Kudos to Washington. They are a very good team. It's always frustrating to lose, and certainly to get swept. It's frustrating in that we felt like we made some adjustments and did some good things defensively, but offensively we couldn't generate enough side-outs to win sets and extend the match. A couple of frustrating weekends in that we played really well at times and struggled at times. We've got to find some consistency overall and especially at the end of the game to be able to close out some of these sets. It is a tough week coming up next week as well, so we have to get ready to go on the road and play another top-20 team."
On The Weekend
"Certainly on Friday, I thought both teams played really at a high level and that match could have gone either way. Four of the five sets I think were two or three points. Today, we were behind in the first two sets and couldn't quite catch up. We got to 22 (points), I think both of them, but we couldn't quite make plays at the end. That third set is frustrating because I felt like we did enough to win it. They made plays at the end. Kudos to them. They got some swings to close it out. We had swings to close it out on our end and couldn't make it happen. It's good and bad. This league is filled with really high level teams. It's fun to play and it brings out the best in you, but we have to step up to the challenge."
"We served in the past really well and on the first match of the weekend on Friday. Today was a little bit tougher for us. I think we lost that battle statistically from a good pass percentage. That being said, I did think we defended well. When we got them out of system, we had some opportunities to score in transition that we couldn't quite get good swings on unfortunately. I think that was the difference in the match. Washington just does such a great job out of system and then swinging high hands. We struggled to score in that situation."
On The Match
"It felt good at some points and then we felt our energy go down. We were kind of playing at Washington's energy level and we tried to get our own. It would come out at some points and then it would fade. I just think we, as a team, kind of have to look inward to see how hard we want to battle this next time. We came into it and we were really intent on taking it to five and giving them a run for their money. I think we thought that the whole time it just didn't kind of play out as we wanted it to."
On Confidence Gained In Playing Washington Close
"We're going on the road and I don't really think that means anything. I think we can still compete at a really high level anywhere that we play. I think it gives us confidence knowing that we can compete with Washington. We just have to get over like that little hump just to win the set, get a couple more points, and things like that. Oregon's a really good team so I think we're going to go into next weekend with a little bit of fire in our bellies and compete like we always do."
On team's defense
"Coming into this, we scouted them pretty intensely and we had a lot of days to see what they did and run their offense. When it came down to it, we stuck to what we practiced this whole week and we were able to produce defensively."
On leading team in digs
"It feels great, any opportunity I can to get a dig is nice. They're a good swinging team so it was nice to see us keep competing."