Buffaloes Down USC In Crucial Win
BOULDER – Colorado women's volleyball took down Southern Cal in a competitive 3-1 match (25-23, 18-25, 25-13, 25-20) here Friday night for just the second win in school history against USC.
The Buffs (14-8, 5-8 Pac-12) defeated the Trojans (10-12, 6-7 Pac-12) in four sets to get back on track at home and get revenge on USC after a loss to them earlier this season.
Maya Tabron continued her offensive hot streak as she racked up 18 total kills while hitting .250 to go along with her eight digs and two blocks. Meegan Hart impressed offensively tonight too with nine kills while hitting an outstanding .818. In the match, Hart got her 500th career kill and Tabron got her 300th career kill.
Defensively, Alexia Kuehl, Jenna Ewert and Hart combined for 10 block assists which helped hold Southern Cal to a .226 hitting percentage. Ewert also put together two kills, seven digs, and 38 assists. Brynna DeLuzio led the Buffs with a match-high 18 digs as she averaged 4.5 digs per set.
For the Trojans, Brooke Botkin led the team in kills with 16 as she was one of three players on USC to reach double-digit kills. Tyrah Ariail put together a solid performance with 11 kills and five blocks. Mia Tuaniga also did well as she had 42 assists along with four kills, three digs and two blocks.
Colorado did a great job serving tonight with nine service aces compared to Southern Cal's four, led by Savannah Perry who had a team-best four aces, the most for a Buff this season. CU also committed three fewer service errors than the Trojans in the match.
The Buffs will be tested here on Sunday, Nov. 7, at noon when they take on No.13 UCLA who is on a five-game winning streak and leads the Pac-12 with 11 wins this season.
HOW IT HAPPENED
SET ONE: Colorado found itself in a close match as both teams were tied at six all. The Buffs, led by Tabron's four kills, went on a five-point scoring run to force a Southern Cal timeout at 11-6. After the break, CU put together another scoring run to go up 16-9 while hitting .579. Back-to-back services aces from Perry gave Colorado a 22-17 advantage over the Trojans. CU called its first timeout of the set after USC came within three after Candice's second block. The Buffs took their final timeout of the set while up 23-22 after a three-point Southern Cal scoring run. Out of the timeout, the Trojans tied everything up at 23 all before an attack error gave Colorado set point. CU won the set 25-23 after another USC attack error. Tabron finished the set with six kills while hitting .385.
SET TWO: Southern Cal's three-point scoring run to start the set was quickly answered with a three-point scoring run from Colorado. The tie continued to 11 as USC was outhitting CU .474 to .231. The Trojans gained some momentum after Ariail picked up her seventh kill of the match to go up 15-12 and force a Buffs timeout. Denny's sixth kill was followed by an attack error from Schneggenburger which extended the Southern Cal lead to five at 22-17. Shortly after Colorado's second timeout, Botkin set up a USC set point with a kill. Botkin then reached double-digit kills as the Trojans won the set 25-18.
SET THREE: After being tied at three-all, the Buffs went on a six-point scoring run to take an 8-3 lead and force a USC timeout. Tabron picked up her 12th kill of the match as Colorado went up 13-8. Southern Cal took its second and final timeout while trailing 16-9 following Hart's 500th career kill. Colorado took a commanding 10-point lead at 20-10 after Hart got another kill while hitting an incredible .875. Botkin continued her success as her 13th kill put an end to a four-point scoring run from CU. The Buffs reached set point following Campbell's seventh total kill. Kuehl finished the job off as Colorado outhit the Trojans .346 to -.036 in a 25-13 set win.
SET FOUR: Both teams continuously fought back-and-forth early in the set as it was tied at nine all. Tabron got her 15th kill of the match, which was her 300th career kill, to give the Buffs a 12-10 lead. A three-point scoring run consisting of Campbell's eighth kill, Perry's fourth service ace, and Tabron's 16th kill forced a Southern Cal timeout as CU led 17-13. Shortly after, Kuehl picked up her fourth block of the match which led to another USC timeout as the Trojans trailed 20-15. Schneggenburger had two crucial kills late to give the Buffs a 23-18 lead before Colorado got set point after Tabron picked up her 18th kill. Hart then capped off her great offensive performance with her ninth kill while hitting .818 to give CU the 25-20 win.
Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
On The Win
I thought it was a really good match. I was excited for our team because I thought, last weekend, we played well enough to get two wins and couldn't quite make that happen. Sometimes, you have a letdown after that happens, but we had a great couple of days of practice and executed the game plan as well as we have all season. So, I'm really happy for them. Brynna (DeLuzio) was fantastic defensively. Maya (Tabron) was really good, not only offensively, but in the lanes. (USC) tried to put a lot of pressure on her. (It's) exciting to get a win. I feel like we are playing better each week we go out and that's really our goal. If we can continue to do that, the wins will come. So, it was a step in the right direction.
On How The UCLA Match Sunday Factors Into The Season
The short answer is yes. Since the start of the season, we (felt like we) were a tournament team. We got off to a really good start. We had a little bit of a bump in the road, personnel wise. After the first half of Pac-12 play, we always take stock and look at things that we can improve on. I think we've attacked that in practice. A lot of it is (that) we have two really young left side hitters. You're going to have ups and downs when you're young in the Pac-12. Maya, if you look at her numbers, has steadily been growing. She's getting a lot of kills. She's a lot more efficient. She's making better choices. That's helped us. We've gotten a little bit healthier over the last two weeks. No one wants to play us right now and no one wants to play us at home as well. We beat UCLA here last year, so we know we can do it and it'll be a great match on Sunday.
On Savannah Perry's Ability To Get Aces
I thought we served particularly well, not just with the aces, but we hit our spots right. Sometimes that leads to a certain type of offense from the other side. Hitting our spots and understanding the block call was really helpful tonight. (Savannah Perry) is a really good server. That's why we bring her in as a serving specialist. It was good to see her have a lot of success. Frankly, I thought she defended well in her opportunities as well. Hopefully, that's a good sign of things to come.
On What's Been Working With 18 Kills In Four Matches
I don't really know, (but) it's been working. I got into a mindset of "if I hit high and if I hit hard, they're not going to stop me." That's really helped me out. I've had my coaches encouraging me in practices and helping me out. I'm trying to get the same feel and every single hit and if it works, then I repeat that every single time over again. It's been working so I'm going to keep on trying to repeat that.
On Being On Both CU Teams That Have Beat USC
It is really cool being part of the only two times (CU) beat USC. I thought we did a great job of executing the game plan. We did well and it turned out nice for us.
On What Worked In Tonight's Game
I think in practice, we were more focused on what (the Trojans) were doing and how we were going to play that defensively and blocking-wise. We did a way better job with our blocking -- getting stops and working on defensively shutting them down. We did a really good job of executing what we wanted to.
On Leading The Pac-12 In Digs Per Set
There's still a lot of balls I can work to get myself to. A lot of times like when our block is nice and set up, it works nice. It's a zone ball right to me. Oftentimes, when the game is that close and that exciting, the adrenaline kicks in. You kind of zone in on the ball.