Colorado’s Defensive Day Not Enough Against Ducks
EUGENE — The Colorado volleyball team had four student-athletes post double-digit digs Sunday afternoon here, but it wasn't enough to overcome a four-set loss (23-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-17) to No.22-ranked Oregon.
The Buffaloes (4-6 Pac-12) have now lost six-straight matches against ranked opponents while the Ducks (8-2 Pac-12) will move into a three-way tie for second in the conference with Utah and Washington State.
The story of the day for Colorado is the switch to the 6-2 offense, pulling Brynna DeLuzio from libero so she can split time with Jenna Ewert at setter while keeping more hitting options in the front row. The switch helped the Buffs to a close first set victory, but it wasn't enough as Oregon's defense held CU to a .098 hitting percentage behind 15 team blocks.
Colorado's defensive effort in the backrow was led by Leah Clayton's 19 digs, tied for the most by a Buff this season. She also added 10 kills for a double-double, joining Jenna Ewert who had 17 digs and 19 assists. Katie Lougeay filled in at libero, posting a career-high 16 digs.
On the offensive end, CU was without Rachael Fara as Alexia Kuehl made her second start. Meegan Hart was the top Buff with 11 kills on a match-high .455 hitting percentage. After Clayton's 10, Sterling Parker added eight kills and Elissa Alcantara chipped in five. DeLuzio added in 15 assists and led the team with a pair of aces.
The Ducks defense was led by Abby Hansen who had 10 blocks. On the offensive end, Brooke Nuneviller led the match with 15 kills and added 17 digs while Taylor Williams had 13 kills. Morgan Lewis and Gloria Mutiri both added 10 to give the Ducks four hitters with double-digit kills. Oregon outhit the Buffaloes .209 to .098.
Colorado will look to end the losing streak Friday, March 5th, but will have to do so against No.15-ranked UCLA at home in Boulder at 7 p.m.
HOW IT HAPPENED
FIRST SET – Colorado immediately made changes with Lougeay starting at libero for DeLuzio and Kuehl starting for Rachael Fara. Oregon started things out with a quick 5-3 lead. The Buffs decided to switch to a 6-2 with DeLuzio and Ewert at setters. Colorado tied things up at six, taking the lead a play later. The Buffs began to storm out to a 13-9 lead after a three-point run. Colorado hit a 15-11 lead and forced an Oregon timeout. The Ducks picked up a couple of points before Mahoney challenged a line shot, unsuccessfully. Oregon tied things up at 16 all with its 14th kill of the set already. The Ducks retook the lead at 18-17, then CU took it right back at 19-18. The two teams tied things up at 20 all, both close to running out of subs. Back-to-back kills from Parker and Hart gave CU a 22-20 lead, forcing OU into another timeout. An attack error by Williams set up Buffs at set point, finishing it off at 25-23. Oregon had 20 kills in the set compared to the Buffs 13, but the Buffs only committed two errors -both from blocks- compared to eight. The dig numbers were also heavily in the Ducks favor at 28-17.
SECOND SET – The lead exchanged hands to a 4-4 tie to start it out. Colorado strung together a three-point run to take a 6-4 lead and force an early timeout by the Ducks. CU strung together a four-point run after the Ducks tied it back up, forcing a Ducks timeout at 11-7. A ball handling error gave Oregon a three-point run, finally ended by a Clayton kill. The Ducks tied things back up at a dozen each as the Buffs subbed in Maya Tabron. Oregon took the lead and finally extended it at 17-15 and forcing CU into a timeout. OU hit the 20-point mark with a three-point lead, forcing a timeout from the Buffs. Oregon kept its point-streak going to 22-17 as CU challenged a block error by Oregon, unsuccessfully. Out of the break the Buffs finally were able to sideout on a Clayton kill, sending Ewert back to serve. The Buffs followed it up with a block before the Ducks picked up a point, then returned the favor with a service error, 23-20. Clayton sent the serve long to set up set point for Oregon, finishing it off with a Schneggenburger error after the set put her into the net. Colorado hit -.024 in the set while Oregon hit .075.
THIRD SET – Things started out with a three-all tie. Colorado picked up a 6-4 lead with a Hart ace, but Oregon put together a three-point run to swing the lead in its favor. Another three-point run gave the Ducks a 10-7 lead and forced CU into a timeout. A momentary sideout for the Buffs set up another Oregon run of five-straight to take a 15-8 lead, then an injury timeout gave CU a break. The run continued to 16-8 before the Buffs finally ended the bleeding with a Tabron kill. Lougeay had another injury timeout as she needed to change jerseys with blood on her other. Oregon hit the 20-point mark at 20-13. The team's traded points to set point at 24-16, but consecutive Hart kills gave the Buffs hope, followed by a block by Hart. Oregon finally ended it at 25-19. The Ducks hit .359 to CU's .286 in the set.
FOURTH SET – After a controversial first point, the Buffs went to an early challenge on the second debating a touch on the block. That challenge went unsuccessful. CU responded with its own three-point run to tie things up at three-all. The tie continued to six before the Ducks put together another three-point run at 9-6. The serve game advanced the score quickly as both teams put down aces and errors to a 13-10 score in the Ducks favor. Oregon put together two more points to a 15-10 lead and a timeout for Colorado. Oregon's scoring run extended to five before CU could sideout. This strung together a four-point run that force Oregon into a timeout up 17-14. Out of the break the Ducks put together a three-point run to hit the 20-point mark up by six. The Ducks raced to match-point at 24-16, finishing things off two plays later.
Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
"We went to the 6-2 to try to generate more offense. With Rachael out we felt like that have us the best opportunity. We certainly defended better today but still struggled to translate those digs to good swings and points in transition."