Colorado Sweeps Rams For Golden Spike Trophy
FORT COLLINS – Colorado women's volleyball secured its first Golden Spike Showdown Trophy here Saturday, sweeping Colorado State 3-0 (25-23, 27-25, 25-22) in Moby Arena to finish the nonconference season undefeated.
The 25th-ranked Buffs (9-0) handed CSU (4-5) its second sweep at home ever in the past 25 years against an in-state rival. The team finished hitting .225 with every attacker for Colorado recording at least four kills.
Senior setter Jenna Ewert was the spark for Colorado, setting up match point with one of her five kills before closing it out with an ace. She finished with five kills, 27 assists, an ace, seven digs and two blocks. Leah Clayton led the offense with 11 kills and a .321 hitting percentage but also got it done defensively with nine digs and five blocks.
Up front, Meegan Hart also recorded five blocks while Brynna DeLuzio continued her streak of leading the team in digs to eight as she finished with a team-high 15 digs. Colorado finished with 10 blocks and held CSU to a .156 hitting percentage.
The Rams were led by Annie Sullivan's 16 kills while hitting .406. She was joined by Jacqi Van Liefde who recorded 11 kills on a .391 hitting percentage. The rest of the team hit under .100.
Colorado moves on to conference play undefeated for the first time in school history. They travel to Washington State Wednesday for a 7 p.m. MT match, then return home to host No.10-ranked Utah Friday at 7 p.m. in Boulder.
HOW IT HAPPENED
SET ONE: The Rams started out with an overpass kill and a pair of aces to run off a three-point start. CSU pushed out to an 8-3 advantage. The Buffs pushed to within one at 10-9 before the Rams took a 16-13 lead and forced a CU timeout. Colorado rallied off a few to bring the score within a pair at 18-16 and force a CSU timeout. The Buffs tied things up at 18 before CSU was able to sideout. Colorado tied things back up at 22 all, forcing a final CSU timeout. It wasn't enough to stop CU's run as they rallied to set point up by two, finishing it off two plays later, 25-23. CU finished the set hitting .290 as Kuehl was a perfect 3-for-3 attacking while DeLuzio put up a six dig set. Sullivan finished the set with seven kills while hitting .778.
SET TWO: Colorado took a quick 3-1 lead, but CSU tied things up at six all. The tie continued to 10 all as CU continued its strong hitting with a .372 hitting percentage including .583 in the set at 11-10. Colorado State called timeout down 13-12. A pair of CSU attack errors that didn't make it over forced another CSU timeout at 16-14. Another block set CU up at the 20-point mark up by a pair, which they backed up with another block. CU called timeout as the gap closed to one at 22-21. The Rams tied things up a play later, then they took the lead at 23-22 forcing CU to take another timeout. CSU challenged a touch as CU tied it up at 23 unsuccessfully, then earned set point at 24-23. A block turned that away, then Colorado turned away another to tie it at 25. A Kuehl kill switched the set point CU's way at 26-25, finishing it off with Clayton's seventh kill of the match as she was hitting .333. Colorado kept CSU at bay with just a .134 hitting percentage.
SET THREE: Both teams worked out to a four-all tie. Colorado found its first two-point lead at 11-9 as six Buffs had four or more kills. CSU called timeout at 14-11 with the Buffs on a three-point run. Every single Buff that attempted an attack had at least four kills thus far led by Clayton's nine. Colorado challenged a play at 15-13, which was overturned. CU pushed out to an 18-15 lead. CSU won the next point to force a CU timeout. The Buffs hit the 20-point mark with a two-point lead as they began closing in on the sweep. CSU called its final timeout of the set with Colorado up 23-21 as Clayton had 11 kills, nine digs and five blocks. The Rams were able to sideout and pull within one, but Ewert put down her sixth kill to set up match point. Ewert finished it off the next play with an ace.
Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
On The Match
I thought it was a really great match. It's a great atmosphere, obviously, they were really energized on the other side of the net. Kind of jumped on us in the first set, I was proud of how we kind of clawed our way back into that set. Every time they made a run, we had an answer. We played with a lot of poise, which we've done all season which is good to see. The more we do this, the more comfortable we're going to be on the road when we get into the Pac-12. That was a great series in both matches, I thought were competitive and it was good prep for what we're going to see in conference play.
On Ewert's Play
Jenna's having her best season, by far, I think she was really comfortable in what she's doing. She's super athletic at the net. A block has to pay attention to her for sure and then she's making really good choices, takes information well, sets up the right matchup and she was fantastic today.
On Finishing Nonconference Undefeated On The Road
We played three really competitive matches on the road in Charlotte, Illinois and here. We don't really talk about road woes or anything like that, we just talk about trying to get better. Playing the matches that we have on the road this year are going to just help us as we get into what is going to be a really tough Pac-12 season.