Colorado Takes Its Perfect Record On The Road
BOULDER — The University of Colorado women's volleyball team will take its perfect 5-0 record on the road to Fayetteville, Ark., this weekend with three matches in the Arkansas Invitational.
The Buffaloes start things off Friday at 11 a.m. MT against Florida International University and finish the day at 4 p.m. MT against Little Rock. Colorado takes Saturday off before facing host school Arkansas at 12 p.m. MT.
CU is off to its fifth 5-0 start in program history and the fourth under head coach Jesse Mahoney, who is poised to win his 100th match at CU needing just three more wins. Mahoney has the Buffs ranked second in the NCAA in blocks per set this young season at 3.28, mostly due to the back-to-back Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week Alexia Kuehl who is second in the NCAA with 1.89 blocks per set.
The defense is holding opponents to .150 hitting, good for 40th in the NCAA. That pairs well with the offense that has exploded with the 12th-best hitting percentage in the NCAA at .309. Meegan Hart is a major factor as she owns the third-best NCAA hitting percentage at .535 and setter Taylor Simpson that is 37th in the NCAA in assists per set and has CU as a team 24th in the category. The Buffs are also ranked 18th in the NCAA in kills per set at 14.22.
Lexi Hadrych has been a force on the pin for CU with 65 kills and a .357 hitting percentage. She is coming off a Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge MVP title and is averaging 3.61 kills per set. Maya Tabron is just a few kills behind at 59 while hitting .212, followed by Hart's 57 kills on just four errors. The three have combined for 71 percent of CU's kills and are hitting .345 as a trio.
In the backrow, Katie Lougeay has a team-best 62 digs from the libero position while Tabron has 42. Tabron and Savannah Perry each lead the team with five aces with Lougeay close behind with four.
Neither of Friday's matches will be televised or streamed, but the match will be available on the SECN+ against Arkansas.
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY
FIU is winless this season with six losses. They began the season in a four-set loss to Iowa and have since lost to Gonzaga, Oklahoma, ASU, Dayton and No.5 Georgia Tech. The Panthers are hitting .135 while allowing opponents to hit .241. Emily Meyer leads the team with 3.09 kills per set in the 6-2 system. Their libero Katie Turner leads the team with 87 digs.
The Trojans are 2-4 this season with wins over Jackson State and Mississippi Valley State. The team is coming off a sweep to Alabama Birmingham on the road and will face FIU Thursday evening. LR is hitting .151 and holding opponents to just a .156 hitting percentage. The team doesn't have a hitter with more than 2.5 kills per set but has seven different hitters averaging one or more kills per set. Libero Livia Kimura has 13 service aces already and leads the team with 67 digs.
Arkansas brings a 4-1 record to their tournament with their lone loss as a back-to-back four setter against No.8 Washington. They started the season downing the Huskies in four sets. Arkansas was in Colorado last weekend at the CSU Tournament where they won nine-straight sets to sweep CSU, Alabama State and Florida Golf Coast. The Razorbacks are receiving votes in the AVCA poll.
Arkansas is hitting an outstanding .326 while holding opponents to a .211 hitting percentage while averaging 2.47 blocks per set. Taylor Head leads the team with 3.63 kills per set and a .409 hitting percentage. She is joined by Jillian Gillen at 3.53 kills per set and a .261 hitting percentage. The Razorbacks run a 6-2 system with Hannah Hogue and Gracie Ryan and feed their three hitters in Head, Gillen and Maggie Cartwright more than 68 percent of the time.