Colorado Drop Seventh Straight Against UCLA
BOULDER — Colorado volleyball's school-record streak against ranked opponents extended to seven, as well as its losing streak as No.12 UCLA took a 3-1 (25-17, 23-25, 25-19, 25-19) win Friday evening here.
The Buffaloes (4-7 Pac-12) fall mercy to the Bruins (10-3 Pac-12) outside hitters that combined for 32 of the team's 61 kills and a .347 hitting percentage.
Colorado once again made the switch to a 6-2 offense after dropping the first set, which sparked a great set with 20 kills and only one hitting error. Once the change was recognized, UCLA responded and didn't allow CU to hit greater than .139 in a set. In the second set win, CU hit an outstanding .487 and finished the set on a 6-1 run to close things.
Leah Clayton led the offense for CU with a dozen kills and a .241 hitting percentage. She was joined by Elissa Alcantara and Jill Schneggenburger, each who added nine kills. Brynna DeLuzio had a team-high 23 assists while Jenna Ewert recorded her 29th double-double with 18 assists and 10 digs, just one away from tying Nicole Edelman and Kerra Schroeder for 17th in school history.
On the defensive end, Katie Lougeay tied Ewert with 10 digs for the team-lead. Meegan Hart put down six blocks alongside her seven kills. The Buffs ended with 10 blocks to UCLA's eight.
UCLA was led by elan McCall and Mac May, each with 16 kills on 36 swings. McCall also had 13 digs while libero Zoe Fleck had a match-high 17. The Bruins also ran a 6-2 with Kate Lane earning 27 assists to Audrey Pak's 26.
The two teams will meet again Sunday at 11 a.m. as the Buffaloes try to halt this losing skid.
HOW IT HAPPENED
FIRST SET – UCLA started things out with a 7-5 lead as McCall picked up a quick three kills. The Buffs hit into a few early blocks to give UCLA a three-point lead at 10-7. Colorado went on a 4-1 run to tied things up at 11. Back-to-back aces for Pak set up the Bruins with a 15-12 lead before Parker ended the run on a kill. UCLA pushed out to a 19-15 lead, forcing a Colorado timeout. UCLA pushed the lead with four more points, bringing a CU timeout at 23-15. Consecutive Alcantara kills set the Buffs up at 23-17 before an attack error gave UCLA set point. The Bruins finished it off with their fourth block of the set as CU hit just .062.
SECOND SET – The Buffs switched to a 6-2 immediately but UCLA took a quick 4-0 lead. The Bruins pushed to a 7-3 lead as May had consecutive kills. The lead held to 14-7 with UCLA hitting .500 in the set. Colorado started to claw back as Hart put down a pair of kills and CU strung together a three-point run at 15-11. Colorado began to close the gap to 19-16, the brought it within three again at 22-19 before calling timeout. Colorado put together three-straight to tie things at 22 all and force UCLA into a timeout. Clayton put down a roller to give CU the lead, followed by a Schneggenburger backrow kill to set up set point at 24-22. The Bruins put down one sideout before Colorado finished it off at 25-23. The Buffs finished the set hitting .487 and on a 6-1 run.
THIRD SET – The teams traded leads until UCLA earned an 8-6 lead. Colorado closed the lead to 9-8 and then called timeout to get things situated. The next play tied things up, then Colorado took the lead on the following point. Both teams traded leads until the Bruins took a 15-13 lead. Colorado called timeout as UCLA took a 17-13 lead. The Bruins lead held to the 20-point mark before UCLA put down another kill to take a 21-16 lead. UCLA challenged the play at 21-18 unsuccessfully. Set point came at 24-18 off May's 14th kill, with the set being finished two plays later.
FOURTH SET – Colorado started things out with a quick 5-2 lead. UCLA unsuccessfully challenged the play at 8-5 thinking there was a touch after Schneggenburger ducked the hit. The Bruins tied things up at a dozen each before a ball handling error gave them the lead at 13-12. The Bruins took a 17-14 lead and Colorado challenged the touch being a double touch for UCLA, but the play went as called. The next play was a Colorado attack error on an overpass, forcing CU into a timeout at 18-14. Colorado called timeout after UCLA took a 20-14 lead, but it was too late as UCLA powered to match point at 24-17. Colorado handled a pair of match points, but UCLA ended it on the next play.
On The Match
"It was a frustrating match in that UCLA is really good. They did essentially what we thought they would, they just do it at a really high level. I was proud of the way that our team fought for four sets. We were down pretty big in the second set and were able to come back. We just struggled with giving them a lot of free points and a lot of unforced errors that would create separation and then it would be hard for us to get back into the match. We've got to find a way to get good swings in transition. We have to find a way to get good swings when we're out of system. We're just not doing that right now. The teams that we're playing are. They're getting really good swings out of system and that's a big change that we need to get better at. We talk about it and work at it, we just need to put it into action. We'll watch a little film tomorrow. I don't think we'll change a whole lot so we just have to go out and execute."
On What They Need To Improve Upon
"It starts with serving and passing. I thought we can do a much better job serving. When we had point runs it came off of really precise serving. We served their libero way too often. So that's one. Two, we have to handle the ball on our side just a little bit better. When we are in system we are as good as anybody. We just have to do that out of serve receive. When we get easy transition opportunities, we have to control the ball a bit better. We made the switch after the first set to the 6-2. I think that gives us a little bit more offensive options but if we can't ball handle, having an extra attacker in there doesn't really mean a whole lot."
"This team competes. It's frustrating to be on the streak that we're on, but that's the Pac-12 in a nutshell, and that's the way the schedule set itself up. We've had our chances and we've been competitive. We've just got to close out some sets. Kudos to our players for fighting and working hard day in and day out. They want to win more than anybody else does."
On The Successful Second Set
"I think in the second set we really buckled down in our serve receive and our serving and that played a big role in how we delivered our offense, which allowed us to spread out the hitters and get some one on ones in our blocks going and I think that was the big difference in set two for us."
On Setting Tonight After Taking Almost Three Years Off
"Yeah I mean, setting is my first position and I've always loved setting. All of our hitters, they give me a good runway for me to get the ball to them, so I think it's been a nice piece. It's kind of been a struggle going back and forth, but I think it didn't show tonight and I think we had a good game and some of the games that we had and then some, not so much.
On Changing Things Up For Sunday's Match
"I think as long as we can ball handle and pass the ball well we can get our hitters some different options in what they're running and just give a lot of different hitters the ball. That'll really help us with differentiating how the other team is going to block us."
On What Needs To Improve For Sunday's Match
"I think just confidence, all around. I think we just need to have confidence in our ability, confidence in the game plan and execute it. I think that's something that we haven't really had consistently. Like you said, the second set was extremely well played and executed. So I think that's just something that we have to focus on is doing the game plan and doing it well and executing and having confidence in ourselves and each other.
On The Switches From Two Different Systems
"I think just being able to connect with both centers is just a really good testimony to how we work in practice with each center. I think, you know, especially through Brynna (Deluzio) being able to set out of system when she is a libero, it's kind of the same situation and she's a great setter to begin with. So both of our setters are and both of our setters put us in a great spot to be successful. We just got to go and attack it."