Buffs Block Propels Team To Win Over Spartans
BOULDER – Colorado volleyball put up a wall against San Jose State University in a 3-0 (25-11, 25-21, 25-11) sweep here Friday evening to improve to 6-0 this season.
The Buffs (6-0) now have secured at least a share of the Buffs Invitational title with their second win as San Jose State (4-3) drops its second match of the tournament.
CU's block controlled the match from the start, putting down 15 total attacks including seven in the close second set. Add in a 13-1 run in the first set and the Buffs were dominating on both end of the court hitting .305 in the match.
The defensive wall was built by Jill Schneggenburger and Alexia Kuehl each putting up six block assists while Meegan Hart finished with six total blocks including a solo. Leah Clayton and Jenna Ewert each chipped in three blocks, including a pair of solos for Clayton.
Clayton finished the match as the only player with double-digit kills with 11 on a .296 hitting percentage. Maya Tabron and Hart each added seven kills led by Hart's .467 hitting percentage, while Ewert was five-for-five on attacks to kills. Ewert also had 23 assists.
Anything that could make it through the wall was cleaned up by Brynna DeLuzio with nine digs. Tabron and Clayton each added seven digs of their own.
San Jose State finished the match hitting .000 with three players hitting in a negative percentage. Letizia Cammillucci finished with a team-high seven kills while Sarah Smevog had 14 digs from the libero position.
Colorado battles Northern Colorado tomorrow night to secure the Buffs Invitational Championship. Texas Tech, who defeated Northern Colorado, will try to secure a second-place bid against San Jose State tomorrow at noon.
HOW IT HAPPENED
SET 1: Colorado started out with a 5-3 lead. They extended their lead to 9-5. SJSU called the first timeout down 15-10. Three plays later the Spartans called timeout down 18-10. Colorado cruised to a 25-11 set victory, ending the set on a 12-1 run hitting .391 in the set. Clayton finished with five kills with a .500 hitting percentage. CU had four blocks in the set, holding the Spartans to a -.161 hitting percentage.
SET 2: San Jose State put down three-straight to a 5-2 lead. The Spartans challenged a play at 5-4 being called for four touches. The challenge went and the play was called a replay at 5-3. CU tied things up at eight, then took the lead after back-to-back blocks. CU took the lead again at 15-14 behind Clayton's seven kills. Tabron put up a solo block to give CU a 21-20 lead, then pushed to a 23-20 lead and forced a SJSU timeout as CU put up its 10th block of the match already. Set point came off a Spartan service error at 24-21, forcing a final set timeout for San Jose State. They finished it off with another block one play later. Colorado held SJSU to a .000 hitting percentage through two sets with 11 total team blocks.
SET 3: Colorado took a quick 4-2 lead. San Jose State called timeout at 8-3 as Colorado went on a four-point run. Another timeout came as the Buffs took a 13-4 lead. Clayton hit the 10 kills mark and pushed it to 11 quickly as she hit .360. CU put down a five-point run with three blocks as the total climbed to 15 at 18-7. The 20-point mark came with a 13-point lead as SJSU challenged a play. Colorado subbed in Katie Lougeay, Kelley Levaggi and Taylor Simpson with the match nearly secured. The Buffs finished it out at 25-11 holding SJSU to a .000 hitting percentage in the match.
Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
On The Match
Great match I certainly knew that we blocked and defended well. That's a really interesting team because they run their offense so fast, so they're a little feast and famine. They have some really nice looking kills and then a lot of trap sets and I think we did a really nice job of serving, getting them out of system making them predictable, and that's kind of what led to all the blocks. With not a lot of prep time, our team did a really good job of coming out and understanding the game plan and executing it.
On Success This Season
Last year was an interesting year for a lot of reasons, but when we came back in August and starting our starting our training camp I think we had a really good mentality throughout the entire training. We've had to deal with some injuries, and Lex was out a little bit, Sterling's out a little bit. We have some nicks here and there but we've had kind of a next player up mentality and we've won some matches this year where we've been down, and our resiliency and our mentality has been in a really good place. We're calm, we're positive and that's exciting to see and we're a veteran group now that has been through a lot the last several years and so nothing really spacing us anymore, so I'm really happy with where we are right now and we're going to have a good tough opponent tomorrow. Colorado State's always good, but I think we're in a good place heading into Pac-12.
On Importance of Early Sets
I think Texas Tech is really good and like you said that first set could have gone either way. That being said, we've had a lot of sets this year that could have gone either way that we've won, so I'm happy with where we're at and how we're playing under pressure. I think that every one of those tests builds confidence, especially, if you win it you're more confident the next time and if you lose it you find a way to learn from it. I think we built each weekend so far and we've gotten better. Today was as good as we played all season at different points, and we'll look to continue doing that moving forward.
On Long Runs
Maya was serving really well today. In general, putting the ball on the right people and moving it around. Lee, our defensive coordinator, really does a great job, charting tendencies and putting our blocking defense in the right spots. As we start to get dialed into opponents like we did in that last set, or like we did in the last set of Texas Tech, we start to dial in and understand what we need to do and execute it. That's what veteran teams do and we will continue to do it.
On The Blocks
Even though we didn't have a lot of prep time my whole mentality was just to beat her to the line, and good things will happen. During our scout session, it was overload on her, don't worry about the middle. That's what I did and I think I executed it well, and went with the game plan even though we had little time to prep.
On New Motivation
I think with COVID we grew together as a team so now we feel a lot more comfortable with each other, like Jesse said we're a veteran group so we have been through the struggles together of COVID, my freshman year and how that season went so I think the fact that we've been through a lot has really helped us become more of a team.
On Crowd Atmosphere
It's really nice. Even though they weren't our fans we had a taste of fans at Illinois, and even though they weren't cheering for us it made me miss the atmosphere, everything being loud and exciting and fun. Being home this weekend with all my family and I can see my friends in the stands, it's really nice to see people still support, even through COVID and not having to wear masks in the stadium so it's really nice to see that.
On New Role
I had a lot of older girls who have helped me through the transition from red shirting my freshman year to semi-playing last year to fully playing this year. The energy on the court has just helped me be confident in playing.
BUFFS INVITATIONAL RESULTS
Wednesday, Sept. 8 (Greeley, Colo.)
Texas Tech defeated Northern Colorado, 3-0
Thursday, Sept. 9 (Greeley, Colo.)
Northern Colorado defeated San Jose State, 3-1
Friday, Sept. 10 (Boulder, Colo.)
Colorado defeated Texas Tech, 3-1
Colorado defeated San Jose State, 3-0
Saturday, Sept. 11 (Boulder, Colo.)
San Jose State vs. Texas Tech, 12 p.m.
Colorado vs. Northern Colorado, 7 p.m.
TEXAS TECH 1-1
NORTHERN COLORADO 1-1
SAN JOSE STATE 0-2