Buffs Drop First Match Against Cougars
PULLMAN – Colorado volleyball dropped its first match of the 2021 season here Wednesday evening in a 3-0 sweep (25-19, 25-23, 25-21) to Washington State to open conference play.
The No.24-ranked Buffs (9-1, 0-1 Pac-12) lost their seventh-straight match against the Cougars (7-4, 1-0 Pac-12) who pick up their seventh-straight victory this season.
Leah Clayton was effective as ever for Colorado with 14 kills and a .212 hitting percentage. She was one dig shy of a double-double with nine while setter Jenna Ewert did capture a double-double with 26 assists and 12 digs. Ewert now has 36 career double-doubles and is tied with Taylor Simpson for 12th in CU history.
Also for Colorado, Jahara Campbell came in during the second set and finished with seven kills and a .375 hitting percentage in her first conference action. She was joined by Jill Schneggenburger who had seven kills and a pair of aces.
On the defensive side, Brynna DeLuzio had a match-high 18 digs, averaging six per set which brings her season average to 4.75 digs per set. The Buffs put down seven blocks led by Alexia Kuehl and Meegan Hart who each had three.
Serving made the largest difference in the match as Washington State put down eight aces to the Buffs' five. The strong serving also led to six unassisted kills for Washington State coming off of overpasses. Magda Jehlarova led the Cougars with 10 kills on a .348 hitting percentage, three aces and six blocks.
Colorado will look to respond quickly as it hosts No.15 Utah Friday at 7 p.m. for the first Top-25 matchup in the CU Events Center in four years. The Utes face off with No.6 Washington Wednesday night in Seattle.
HOW IT HAPPENED
SET ONE: After starting out 3-1, Washington State went on a four-point run to take a 5-3 lead. A challenge came at 8-6 from Washington State, which went successfully. The Cougars extended their lead to 11-6 to force a CU timeout as they put down four straight including consecutive aces from Jehlarova. Colorado got within two at 15-13 as Schneggenburger led with three kills hitting .429. WSU put together another three-point run to take a 19-14 lead hitting .440 with three aces. Colorado called its final timeout of the set at 22-18 with Schneggenburger leading with five kills on a .500 hitting percentage. An overpass kill and a fourth ace set up set point, finishing it off two plays later at 25-19. Washington State hit .455 in the set compared to CU's .286, but the aces were the difference with four from the Cougars.
SET TWO: The Cougars jumped out to a 5-2 lead. Jahara Campbell came into the match as Colorado trailed 7-3. Colorado began to claw back down 11-7 while hitting .000 in the set. The media timeout came at 15-11 with Colorado hitting negative in the set despite Clayton having seven kills and Schneggenburger with five. Colorado went on a three-point run to tie things at 17. Campbell tied things back up at 18, then Zoe Neverdowski put down an ace to take the first lead since early in the first set to force a WSU timeout. The Cougars put down three straight kills to take the lead back and extend to 21-19. The Buffs tied it back up at 21, then Clayton hit her ninth kill to take a lead on a three-point run. Kuehl put down a kill at 23-22 to force another Washington State timeout. WSU blocked a Clayton attack, then another went out to set Washington State up with set point at 24-23 and force a CU timeout. The Cougars finished it off a play later to end on a three-point run while holding CU to a .000 hitting percentage in the set.
SET THREE: Washington State started with a four-point run to get to 5-1 with a pair of aces to bring their total to seven. Colorado responded with a four-point run of its own to tie things up. The tied kept until WSU found a 10-8 lead off the eighth ace of the match. Washington State owned a three-point lead at the media timeout, 15-12. The Cougars pushed the lead to 17-13 to force a timeout by the Buffs. A pair of points for each team forced a final Colorado timeout at 19-14. Colorado earned a kill from Campbell, an ace from Schneggenburger and a block from Hart to put together a three-point run and force a WSU timeout at 19-17. The run continued with another Campbell kill to pull within one before the Cougars could sideout at 20-18. Match point came at 24-21, finishing off a play later at 25-21. Washington State finished with six overpass kills and eight aces.
Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
On The Match
Tough open to the season. WSU put a lot of pressure on us from the service line and we had our worst passing performance of the season. We struggled to get our middles involved and WSU camped on our lefts. Looking forward to a tough test with Utah at home on Friday.