Buffs Split Team Scrimmage
BOULDER — The University of Colorado women's volleyball team split its annual black and gold scrimmage with each team taking two sets led by middles Alexia Kuehl and Meegan Hart combining for 32 kills.
"It was nice to get out on the main court under the lights with some people in the stands, adds a little bit of excitement for our players," said head coach Jesse Mahoney. "We've been going pretty hard for two weeks. To do something a little bit different I think is a lot of fun. We tried a lot of different lineups, we've got a lot of talented kids that we're trying to figure out the best fit as we're putting together the puzzle for our starting lineup. So that was good to see. I thought there were some good performances, really from a lot of players so we will have to figure it out this week."
Hart, a sixth-year senior, paced the way on both sides of the ball with 15 kills hitting .322 while also recording a double-double with 10 blocks. Kuehl had an astonishing .413 hitting percentage with a team-high 17 kills. They shined the most on offense along with Maya Tabron's dozen kills on a .200 hitting percentage and Jill Schneggenburger adding 10 kills. Sterling Parker, who is coming off a medical redshirt, had seven kills with a .352 hitting percentage.
"Meegan, this is her sixth year so she's pretty veteran," said Mahoney. "The last year and a half she's really figured out how to be as efficient as she can be. I was really impressed with her. Lex had a little bit of a slow start to camp but the last week she's been pouring it on and I thought she had some of our most impressive swings today. We're excited for them and we've just got to pass a little bit better so we can get them the ball more often."
The teams flipped back-and-forth, even with players flipping in sets themselves. In the end, newcomer Lexi Hadrych, Tabron, Hart, Schneggenburger, Parker and Morgan Riddle all came up with three set victories with their various lineups.
The setter battle was a close one with Brynna DeLuzio dishing up a double-double with a team-high 34 assists and 10 digs. Taylor Simpson had 27 assists while freshman Rian Finley added 16. Finley is set to redshirt this season while Simpson and DeLuzio will continue to compete for the setter position or work together in a 6-2.
"We have a little bit of an embarrassment of riches at the setter position because we have two great ones," said Mahoney. "They've been battling all camp and I thought they battled really well today. Both set a really nice ball. Both of them are great leaders. Both do all the other things besides setting and they serve well and defend well and so that's going to be a tough decision for us as we play next week, and I'm not sure we've made that decision yet."
Defensively, Hart was a wall with her double-double 15 kills and 10 blocks, while Schneggenburger had six blocks. Hadrych and Savannah Perry led the team with a dozen digs apiece, while Tabron picked up a double-double as well with 10 digs.
Three Buffs saw their first action back on the court leaving a redshirt year or heading into one with Parker, Emilea Stepaniuk and Finley.
"Rian's going to be redshirting, coming this spring was good for her," said Mahoney. "I think she's in a really nice place and we're excited for the future. Sterling is just coming back from shoulder surgery and she's excited to be on the floor. Her shoulder is still getting better and she's still getting more velocity on her swing and we're hoping that continues throughout the season, but it's nice to have her leadership back out on the floor. Emilea also redshirted last year and we've got a lot of really nice defensive specialists. She fits in well with that group. We've got a veteran group. We've got a lot of really good players."
The team finished the defensively-favored battle with a .131 combined hitting percentage with 23 recorded blocks between the two teams.
"We've been serving and passing really well in the preseason," said Mahoney. "I think we struggled passing today. That's a function of being out playing in this environment. So it was good for us to do this because I think the next time we're out there we are going to be a little bit more comfortable. Serving and passing wins games at every level. We've got to get a little bit better at that. We've got to fit together the best lineup that we can and put people in the right spots. We've got a lot of time to figure out how to leverage it the best way."
Colorado will have one more week to fine-tune the lineup before the season begins Friday, Aug. 26, with CU facing Green Bay at home at 10 a.m. followed by a 7 p.m. match against Western Michigan. They close out the Buffs Invitational facing Mahoney's former team, Denver, for the first time in his career as a Buff.
We've played them in the spring a couple times since I've been here," said Mahoney. "It's a really good program. I know the staff really well. They're a great RPI matchup for us, that's one of the reasons we're excited to play them. They are very good, they'll be one of the best teams we play in the preseason."
Alexia Kuehl 17 kills
Meegan Hart 15 kills
Maya Tabron 12 kills
Jill Schneggenburger 10 kills
Alexia Kuehl .413
Sterling Parker .352
Meegan Hart .322
Maya Tabron .200
Brynna DeLuzio 34 assists
Taylor Simpson 27 assists
Rian Finley 16 assists
Katie Lougeay 4 aces
Savannah Perry 3 aces
Lexi Hadrych 12 digs
Savannah Perry 12 digs
Brynna DeLuzio 10 digs
Maya Tabron 10 digs
Meegan Hart 10 blocks
Jill Schneggenburger 6 blocks
Alexia Kuehl 4 blocks
Bella Simkus 4 blocks
Meegan Hart 22 points
Alexia Kuehl 19 points
Jill Schneggenburger 14.5 points
Maya Tabron 14 points