Colorado Defeats UNC For School Record Start
BOULDER – Colorado volleyball defeated Northern Colorado 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-18) here Saturday evening to break the school record for most wins to start a season.
The Buffs (7-0) bettered the mark set in 2017 and 2008 against UNC (6-2) behind a strong offensive attack as the team hit .371 in the final three sets after opening the first with 10 attack errors.
Setter Jenna Ewert took over for Colorado, putting down nine kills, 35 assists, eight digs and three blocks. She was just a kill and two digs away from her first career triple-double. Ewert's main beneficiary was Leah Clayton who finished with 18 kills while hitting .295. Clayton added in eight digs and three blocks of her own, two of which were solo.
Also for CU, Jill Schneggenburger had 11 kills while hitting .357. Middles Alexia Kuehl and Meegan Hart each had seven kills and hit .333. Kuehl had a team-high five total blocks, while Brynna DeLuzio had a stellar evening with 19 digs.
The Bears got out to a strong start, posting five blocks in the first set to hold CU to a .109 hitting percentage. UNC had four women hit 11 or more kills and was led defensively by libero Kyndall Feather with 20 digs.
The Buffaloes secured the Buffs Invitational Championship and named Meegan Hart the tournament Most Valuable Player. Jill Schneggenburger and Jenna Ewert were both named to the All-Tournament team.
Colorado's school record start will be put to the test next week with the second installment of the Golden Spike double-header between CU and CSU. The Buffs will host CSU Thursday evening at 7 p.m., then the team will play for the traveling trophy that was created in 2019 on Saturday afternoon in Fort Collins at 1 p.m.
HOW IT HAPPENED
SET 1: Colorado jumped out to a 4-3 lead. The Bears tied things up at six. Colorado challenged a play down 9-8, which went unsuccessfully. UNC continued to roll to a 14-10 lead when CU called timeout. Jahara Campbell joined the match for her first appearance down 18-13. Northern Colorado's Jo Ince led the way with four kills and a .800 hitting percentage as UNC took a 20-17 lead. CU pushed to within one and forced a UNC timeout at 20-19. The Bears took a 23-20 lead as CU called timeout hitting less than .100. Set point came at 24-22, ending on an ace. UNC finished off the set with five total blocks, stifling the CU attack except for Clayton who had seven kills in the set.
SET 2: Colorado earned a quick 4-1 lead. A Savannah Perry ace gave CU a 10-6, then another point passed in the Buff's favor to force a UNC timeout. The lead continued to 16-12 as the teams traded points. Clayton kept dominating with 10 kills and a .300 hitting percentage. CU challenged a tip successfully to take a 19-13 lead. Kuehl won a joust at the net to force the final Bear timeout at 22-16. The Buffs fixed their hitting issues quickly, hitting .462 in the second thus far compared to .109 in the first. Set point came at 24-16, then finished it off two plays later. CU finished the set hitting .433 with only one attack error compared to 10 in the first as Clayton got to 11 kills. Ewert, Kuehl and Schneggenburger all had five.
SET 3: Northern Colorado challenged an early touch at 2-1, unsuccessfully. Clayton put down her second solo block to give CU a 7-5 lead. The lead grew to 13-8 when UNC called timeout. Colorado extended its lead to 18-11 when UNC called another timeout. CU's hitting continued to excel at .429 in the third set. The Buffs called timeout at 20-13, partially to help dry the floor. Set point came at 24-17, finishing it off at 25-19 with a Tabron kill.
SET 4: The teams started out even at three all. Colorado earned an 8-5 lead to force a UNC timeout. Things continued back and forth until UNC came within one at 17-16, forcing a CU timeout. Ewert was a kill and three digs away from a triple-double. CU pushed out to a 21-17 lead to force the final timeout of the set for UNC. The Bears challenged a play at 23-18. Match point came a play later,
Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
On The Match And Record Start
Nice job us. I will tell you that's a really good team on the other side of the net. They've got some solid wins on the season, Northwestern, Colorado State and Denver. They're really well coached. They do a lot of smart things and put their players in position to be successful. Happy to get the win, happy to be playing at home. I thought the first set, we were a little sluggish, this was our third match in 24 hours and they were definitely fresh and excited to be here. I was proud of our team responding. In set two I thought we played really well, and grinded it out sets three and four. Not the prettiest volleyball we played all season but we did a lot of really good things. I thought Jenna was really good offensively, obviously, and made some really nice decisions with the ball. Megan, I don't know what her numbers are but I'm guessing they were good because it felt really good. A really good weekend, 7-0 start we're excited about that we have two more preseason matches both against Colorado State who's going to be a test, no doubt. We're excited to kind of get healthy, get rested and head into the Pac-12.
On The Adjustments After The First Set
That's a really good serving team, and I don't think we were dialed in the way we needed to be from a passing standpoint. We just looked a little sluggish in everything we did. UNC did a nice job in that first set, but frankly we just handed them a ton of points, a ton of errors. We know we can play cleaner volleyball. We just kind of decided we're going to go back to basics and serve and pass and set up the right way on attack and make good choices and I thought we did that and we carried through for the rest of the match.
On Her Play
After the first set, we were a little sluggish I got a little amped, I got a little mad so that helped me play a little more focus and a little more fire as it went on, especially because it was the third match so I didn't have the most energy I've had all weekend. My whole mindset was just better the ball you know if there's not a good pass. Just make sure if they're hitting it over, get a touch or something, try and do something with the ball. That was really my only mindset and then just getting a good ball to my hitters they could put it down.
On The 7-0 Start
I think it gives us a nice foundation going into the Pac-12, knowing that that's really where our main competition is. Starting off solid, one of our sets today was a little rough but just playing clean volleyball most of the time. We are learning how to play together and stay composed in those situations and it prepares us a lot for the Pac- 12 conference. So I think that just gives us a nice foundation.
On Her Play
It's the team so like I can't do it without a pass and set, so just the domino effect. If they're going to work hard and play hard for me I'm going to do the same thing. I think that's just what we've all been focusing on. What's really worked for me is just like staying positive and happy and enjoying playing and knowing that last year we were kind of on the rocks of like, are we going to play, or we're not going to play so just knowing that this year is solidified and we're going in with great mindsets ever game.
On The 7-0 Start
To go off of what Jenna said, the energy is great. Winning those games, putting us in a great position for the Pac-12 knowing that we have the confidence to go out there and beat any team that's across the net is something that we try to focus on and hold at every set.
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.)
Texas Tech defeated San Jose State, 3-0
Colorado defeated Northern Colorado, 3-1
TEXAS TECH 2-1
NORTHERN COLORADO 1-2
SAN JOSE STATE 0-3
COLO: Meegan Hart (MVP)
COLO: Jill Schneggenburger
COLO: Jenna Ewert
TTU: Brooke Kanas
TTU: Karrington Jones
UNC: Rachel Hickman
SJSU: Sarah Smevog