Colorado Heads To LA
BOULDER — The University of Colorado women's volleyball team heads to Los Angeles this weekend to take on USC Friday at 8 p.m. MT and UCLA Sunday at 1 p.m. MT.
The Buffaloes (10-2, 2-0 Pac-12) are in a three-way tie in the Pac-12 with Washington and Oregon and face a historically tough road weekend that includes a trip to USC where CU has never won.
Colorado has been led by its incredible middles, Meegan Hart and Alexia Kuehl, who have combined for three of the five Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors this season. Hart, the defending player of the week, leads the NCAA with a .500 hitting percentage this season. Both middles are ranked in the top-50 of all NCAA players in blocks per set with Kuehl 26th at 1.38 and Hart 50th at 1.24. Together, they have helped CU to rank seventh in the NCAA in blocks per set at 2.86.
The Buffaloes have a strong three-headed attack led by Maya Tabron with 136 kills this season, Hart with 125 and Lexi Hadrych with 124. The three hitters combine for 52 percent of the kills on the team with a combined .279 hitting percentage. Hadrych, a transfer from UCLA, will return to play her former team for the first time in the black and gold.
The defensive front has been the strength of the Buffs, assisted by strong backrow play out of Katie Lougeay with 3.4 digs per set. She is joined by Tabron, Taylor Simpson and Brynna DeLuzio who are all averaging more than two digs per set.
Friday's match will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks with Sunday's match being streamed by UCLA.
The Trojans (9-4, 1-1 Pac-12) are 6-1 at home this season with a lone five-set loss to Washington State last Saturday. USC's four losses have come in a pair of five-set matches to WSU and Hawaii, as well as a four-set loss to No.17 Creighton and a sweep to No.16 Kentucky. USC's strongest wins this season were a pair of four-set victories against Hawaii and UCLA, both on the road.
Southern Cal is hitting .284 this season led by Skylar Fields with 4.47 kills per set hitting .308. The Trojans also have a pair of strong servers in Emilia Weske and Mia Tuaniga who have 17 and 22 aces this season, respectfully. The defense is spread between three players with 30 or more blocks, while the backrow cleanup duties have fallen to Gala Trubint with four digs per set this season.
The Bruins (6-5, 0-2 Pac-12) have losses to Utah State, Loyola Marymount and San Diego this season. The team is on a three-match skid starting with the San Diego loss, then a pair of four-set matches to USC and Washington. The strongest win this season was a five-set match at Hawaii.
UCLA is hitting .210 this season with elan McCall and Iman Ndiaye both just eclipsing the 100 kills mark this past weekend. Francesca Alupei leads the front with 1.48 blocks per set this season while Mackenzie Cole has 126 digs, averaging 3.23 digs per set.