Buffs Swept By Trojans In Season Finale
LOS ANGELES – Colorado volleyball's 2021 spring season ended here Saturday afternoon in a three-set loss to Southern California, 25-20, 25-16, 26-24.
The Buffs finished the strange COVID season with an 8-12 record in the Pac-12, while USC finished its season with a 7-9 record in conference play. The team did not win a match on the road for the first time since 2007 and only the second time in CU history.
USC's defense stifled the Buffaloes today, holding CU to a .151 hitting percentage. The only Buff that couldn't be contained was Sterling Parker who led with nine errorless kills and a .474 hitting percentage. She also was a part of half of the Buffs' eight blocks. Leah Clayton added six kills, but that was it for player with more than three kills as the Buffs only had 23 assists. Jenna Ewert dished out 19 assists.
Defensively, Colorado started out hot with four blocks in the first set. The team ended with eight behind Parker's four and Rachael Fara and Meegan Hart adding three. Brynna DeLuzio had a team-best 10 digs.
The other key today was the Trojan's serving as they put down nine aces. Senior Brooke Botkin had 10 kills, 11 digs and three aces, while Brooklyn Schirmer had a match-best 14 kills. Emilia Weske added 11 kills on a .500 hitting percentage. Three Trojans had double-digit digs while Aleksandra Gryka had four blocks.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Buffs started out with a 3-1 lead before USC stormed back to a 5-4 score. Colorado came out in a 5-1 again and extended to a 8-6 lead. USC held a one-point advantage at 15-14 at the media timeout. Colorado tied it up but the Trojans went on a four-point run forcing the Buffs into a timeout. Colorado put down its fourth block of the set at 22-18 with Parker hitting three kills and a .429 hitting percentage. The Trojans hit set point at 24-20, then finished it off a play later on an ace.
Both teams went out to a four all tie before USC strung together a three-point run. A play later the run continued and CU called timeout. The Trojans put together another run of three to take a 14-8 lead. USC challenged a play at the 15-10 mark, unsuccessfully. The Buffs called timeout down 19-11 with USC hitting .526. USC rolled to set point at 24-14, ending it a few plays later at 25-16 with the Trojans hitting .464 in the set.
Colorado started out the set up 5-4. USC put down a four-point run to a 10-6 lead when Colorado called timeout. Out of the break CU took the next two points but the Trojans responded with another three-point run to 13-8. The Trojans challenged an attack by the Buffs at 14-10, successfully flipping the score. Colorado challenged a play themselves at 16-9, successfully flipping the score to 15-10. The Buffs responded with a five-point run to close the gap to one, 16-15, forcing a USC timeout. The 20-point mark came at 20-18 in USC's favor. The Trojans took a three-point lead at 23-20, forcing a CU timeout. Match point came at 24-22, but CU successfully sideout so USC called timeout. The Buffs blocked the next play to tie it up, then a play later USC hit the third match point and finished it off with a block.
Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
On The Match
"We struggled offensively today - our first touch needed to be better. I thought we executed the defensive game plan well."
On The Season
"I'm proud of our team for their effort and grit during this past year. They we disciplined and stayed within our bubble and stayed healthy through the entire season. I am especially appreciative of our support staff for supporting our athletes and allowing them to compete this season."