Buffs Haunted By Serving Against USC
LOS ANGELES – Colorado women's volleyball put 16 serves out of play Thursday evening as it fell to Southern Cal 3-1 (24-26, 25-18, 25-20, 25-22) here.
The Buffaloes (8-11 Pac-12) 16 service errors is the most since playing against the Trojans (6-8 Pac-12) back in 2017 in California. Colorado battled back to steal the first set, but seven service errors in the third set kept CU from taking the 2-1 advantage.
Colorado outhit USC with a .234 hitting percentage as Sterling Parker and Leah Clayton went for .321 and .286 with a dozen kills each, respectfully. Clayton finished with a double-double with 10 digs while Alexia Kuehl had seven kills and Jill Schneggenburger had eight.
CU switched back to the 5-1 in set four, allowing Brynna DeLuzio to return to libero and put up a team-best 15 digs. Jenna Ewert had 24 assists and 11 digs as she recorded her 34th career double-double, putting her 14th in CU history. Kuehl had a match-high five blocks.
The serving game was the biggest factor in the game as CU not only dished out 16 free points but also failed to record an ace for just the second time this season. USC also benefitted from four players with double-digit kills, led by Brooke Botkin's 15 to go with her 10 digs. Kalen Owes put down 13 while Emilia Weske and Aleksandra Gryka each had 11.
The Buffs have never won in Los Angeles as a program but closes the season Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Galen Center against USC.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Both teams came out wearing black. USC found an early lead at 7-4 after hitting .667 early. The lead held at USC pushed to an 11-7 lead. USC challenged early unsuccessfully at 11-8. The Trojans owned a three point lead at the media timeout, and at the 17-14 mark both teams were hitting greater than .400. Southern Cal held the three-point lead to the 20-point mark. Colorado closed the gap to within one before committing a service error, then traded points to 23-21. The Buffs brought it within one at 23-22 then called timeout. A play later set point came off a USC kill, forcing CU into another timeout. The Buffs came out of the break with an Ewert kill followed by a Clayton dig to tie it up at 24, forcing USC into a timeout. Colorado took the lead a play later off a USC error, then finished it off with a block at 26-24 on a four-point run. CU hit .355 in the set with Clayton with four kills and a .444 hitting percentage.
The Trojans bounced out to a 4-2 lead. Kuehl thought she had the Buffs tied up at four all before being called for a net violation. She was 3-for-3 on swings to kills thus far. USC ran out to an 8-3 lead before CU called timeout. The run extended as USC took a 13-4 lead. Colorado began to cut into the lead down 15-6 while hitting just .059 to the Trojan's .400. The Buffs put together a four-point run and then made it a 6-1 run when USC called timeout at 19-13. Set point finally came at 24-16 as CU was hitting .088. Colorado survived a pair of set points before the set ended at 25-18.
The Buffs started out on a 4-1. USC responded with its own 6-1 run to take the lead at 7-5. Colorado has a three-point run to retake the lead at 8-7, then USC tied it up as CU was hitting .400 while USC was hitting .000 but CU had three service errors already. The fourth service error of the set gave USC a two-point lead at 11-9. Colorado called timeout at 13-9. CU put a fifth service error down at 14-12, followed up by a sixth two plays later at 15-13. The Buffs challenged a play at 17-15, unsuccessfully. The Buffs tied things up at 17 before putting down a seventh service error in the set. The Trojans hit the 20-point mark first at 20-19. USC took a 23-20 lead before CU called timeout. Set point came a play later, then ended on an ace as Colorado ended the set with seven service errors.
Both teams battled to a four all opening score after a quick CU timeout at 3-3. Colorado switched back to the 5-1 with DeLuzio at libero in an attempt to better their passing. CU was trailing 11-8 as USC was hitting .308 in the set thus far. The Trojans led 16-12 as Parker and Clayton each had 10 kills and were hitting .258 or better. USC challenged the play at 16-13 but was unsuccessful. CU closed within one at 17-16, tying things up at 19 all. Things were tied at 20 all when a service error, the 16th of the match, gave USC the lead. CU called a timeout after the Trojans put together three-straight to a 23-20 mark. Match point came a play later but CU survived twice before USC called timeout at 24-22. USC finished it off a play later.
Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
On The Match and Serving
"We have to do a better job from the service line and limit our unforced in general. We shot ourselves in the foot tonight."