Colorado Opens Season With Pair of Wins
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Colorado volleyball opened the 2021 season with a pair of wins here Saturday in the Charlotte Invitational, taking down Xavier 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-18, 25-22) before sweeping host Charlotte 3-0 (25-19, 25-7, 25-22).
The Buffs (2-0) opened the day against Xavier (1-2) and after a slow start where both teams struggled offensively, Leah Clayton opened up the attacking and paved the way to the 3-1 victory. She doubled back in the second match of the day as CU downed Charlotte (2-1) hitting .337 as a team.
Clayton, the sixth-year grad student, hit an outstanding 22 kills on .375 hitting and went for a double-double with 11 digs and three blocks against the Musketeers then followed it with a 15 kill and .394 hitting performance against the Niners. Maya Tabron had an exception showing in both matches, combining for 25 total kills and putting up nine and eight digs in each match, respectfully.
Also for Colorado, Jill Schneggenburger on the right side had a dozen kills and a .391 hitting percentage against Xavier then had six with three blocks against Charlotte. Meegan Hart dominated the middle with a dozen kills against the 49ers with a .500 hitting percentage after putting up nine kills and seven blocks against Xavier.
Jenna Ewert led the Buffs all day long with 42 assists in four sets in the morning match and 43 in three sets in the evening event. She also had four combined aces and 14 digs. Brynna DeLuzio led Colorado in both matches in the backrow with 11 and 15 digs, respectfully.
Colorado hit .100 in the opening set win against Xavier but fell behind in set two despite hitting .311. The team ramped up the action to take a decisive set three victory while hitting .444 and finished the match with a .265 hitting percentage.
Against the host school Charlotte, Colorado dominated with a huge 25-7 set victory in the second and rallied back on a five-point run to steal the third and sweep the match. CU ended with a .337 hitting percentage while holding the Niners to a .129 team hitting percentage.
Clayton was named the Charlotte Invitational Most Valuable Player while Ewert and Hart joined her on the All-Tournament team.
The Buffs return to action next weekend in the annual Pac-12/BIG TEN Challenge where they will face Illinois (3-0) and Iowa (0-1) in Champaign, Ill., alongside No.4-ranked Washington.
HOW IT HAPPENED
SET 1: Colorado jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead. Xavier closed the gap to 10-8 as both teams struggled to hit with CU at .000 as a team and Xavier at -.167. The Musketeers tied it up at 14 before CU's fourth block of the match gave them the slight lead. Xavier took their first lead at 19-18 before a Hart kill tied it back up. Clayton returned the lead to Colorado at 20-19 with her fourth kill of the match. CU hit set point up 24-23 when DeLuzio put down an ace to end it at 25-23. Colorado ended the set hitting .100 while Xavier was hitting .118.
SET 2: Schneggenburger put down a quick pair of kills to bring her match total to four while hitting .600. The Musketeers put down four-straight kills and an ace to force a CU timeout down 9-4 with Xavier hitting 1.000 with seven kills on seven swings in the set. Colorado put in Taylor Simpson as Xavier built a 12-6 lead stilling hitting perfect with nine kills. CU strung together a run of three with a pair of Tabron kills and a Clayton one to bring the score to 14-10. The Buffs continued to keep the score within three following Schneggenburger's fifth kill with a .667 hitting percentage. Colorado rallied to bring it within one at 19-18 and force a Xavier timeout. Out of the break, CU gave up a pair with a service error and a block error forcing them to call timeout down 21-18. Another block error gave the Musketeers a four-point lead at 23-19. Set point came at 24-20, then CU rattled off three-straight to bring it within one before Xavier finished it off 25-23. CU finished hitting .311 as Clayton reached 10 kills compared to .310 by Xavier led by Painter with 10 kills.
SET 3: The Buffs jumped out to a 5-1 lead and pushed it to 9-4 before Xavier called timeout. Clayton picked up her 15th kill while hitting .289 as CU continued to lead 15-10. Colorado hit the 20-point mark with a five-point lead when Xavier called timeout with CU hitting .435 in the set as a team compared to .167 for the Musketeers. Ewert put down a pair of aces out of the break as CU went on a four-point run heading towards set point. Set point came on a ball handling error by Xavier, then Colorado finished it out at 25-18 off of Clayton's 17th kill of the match while hitting .317. The Buffs hit .444 in the set while holding Xavier to .192.
SET 4: CU exploded out with a 5-0 lead in the fourth. Clayton earned her 20th kill as Colorado held a 7-4 lead with Schneggenburger finding her 10th while hitting .500. Xavier strung together a three-point run before Colorado pushed back out to a 13-10 lead while hitting .304 in the set. CU but up a pair of solo blocks from Clayton to enter a five-point run and force a Xavier timeout. The Buffs run extended to seven-straight before they let up a point up 18-11. Colorado continued to lead big as they hit the 21-15 mark while hitting .280 in the match. Xavier put together a three-point run to bring the score within four at 23-19. Another point forced CU into a timeout up three. CU hit match point up four, then finished it off at 25-22 with a Tabron kill.
Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
Excited to get the season started off with a win over a very solid Xavier team. We certainly got better as the match went on. We had great performances from all three pin attackers but Leah was phenomenal taking big swings all match. Quick turnaround for us - we are back on the floor in two hours against a very physical Charlotte team.
SET 1: Colorado got out to a 3-1 start and pushed it out to 6-2 after a three-point run. The teams settled in as CU continued to lead 10-7 behind Clayton and Hart's three kills. Rowan kept Charlotte in it with five kills on six swings and an ace as CU led 13-10. Charlotte called timeout with the Buffs on a 3-0 run at 15-10. Colorado strung together four-straight kill to take a 16-10 lead before the 49ers could sideout. Hart remained unstoppable in the middle with six swings and six kills as the Buffs took a 20-16 lead. The Niners called timeout down 21-16 as CU continued to hit well with a team percentage of .368. Charlotte challenged a Clayton kill at 22-17 unsuccessfully. Clayton ended the set with her eighth kills already, hitting .438 while Hart finished the set a perfect six-for-six. Rowan led the Niners with eight kills and a .800 hitting percentage. Only two Charlotte players accounted for kills as the team had three blocks while CU went blockless.
SET 2: Colorado took a 5-4 lead in a close start to the set. CU went on a 5-0 run to take an 8-4 lead, forcing a Charlotte timeout. The Buffs kept an 8-1 run going as the team took a 12-5 lead. Consecutive Tabron kills followed by a Savannah Perry ace forced Charlotte to burn its final timeout of the set. Colorado kept up the pressure, hitting the 20-point mark up 14. The Buffs rolled to the set win, going 24-4 after starting the set down 3-1. Tabron and Clayton both finished the set with 10 kills while Ewert had 30 assists and DeLuzio had 11 digs.
SET 3: CU hit a 4-2 lead as Hart earned her 10th kill to join Clayton and Tabron. Charlotte put together a three-point run to tie it up at six. Charlotte scratched out to an 11-9 lead behind Foster and Rowan who combined for all the kills for the niners. Colorado called timeout down 15-12. CU put the lead to one behind Tabron's 13th kill, then tied it up with an Ewert ace at 19 all forcing a Charlotte timeout. Colorado challenged an attack error of Tabron's to see who would take the 20-19 lead, which went Charlotte's way. After the challenge, a block gave the 49ers a two-point lead. CU responded with a pair of kills to tie it up and force a Niner's timeout. Clayton put down three kills in a run of four to give CU a 23-21 lead. A block from Bella Simkus and Schneggenburger gave CU match point, ending it two plays later with a Schneggenburger kill.
Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
A really good start to our season with two wins against very good opponents. I liked that we continued to get better as the tournament went on - and our team battled well for playing back to back on a short turnaround. Leah Clayton was dominant all weekend offensively, Meegan Hart was making great decisions on the block and I thought Jenna moved the ball around really well today getting everyone involved. On to Illinois next week!
Leah Clayton, Colo. (MVP)
Jenna Ewert, Colo.
Meegan Hart, Colo.
Sydney Rowan, Charlotte
Nalani Lyde, Charlotte
Stevie Wolf, Xavier
Kendal Rivera, SCSU