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CU Drops Five-Set Thriller vs. No. 14 Oregon

Nov 10, 2022
Colorado huddles after the disappointing loss

BOULDER  — The University of Colorado women's volleyball took No. 14 Oregon to five sets (25-13, 25-20, 22-25, 24-26, 12-15) here Thursday night.
 
The Buffaloes (16-9, 5-4 Pac-12) handily won the first two sets but couldn't maintain their lead as the Ducks (18-5, 12-3 Pac-12) rallied back late in the match.
 
For CU, Jill Schneggenburger led the squad in attack percentage, achieving .400 from 10 kills on 25 attempts without a single error. Lexi Hadrych notched 22 kills, a career high, and hit .356. As a team, the Buffs outhit Oregon .293 to .187, with the Ducks making twice the number of attack errors at 32 compared to Colorado's 16.
 
Setter Brynna DeLuzio earned a double-double with 17 assists and 13 digs while Taylor Simpson achieved 38 assists.
 
Defensively, Savannah Perry tied DeLuzio with 13 digs while Katie Lougeay and Maya Tabron each earned 12 digs. Colorado had 13 total blocks, eight of which were earned by Meegan Hart.
 
The Duck's Mimi Colyer notched 20 kills, but the Buffs held her to a .100 hitting percentage. However, Gloria Mutiri played a significant role in Oregon's victory as she had an outstanding night with 17 kills and hit .441.
 
Colorado will look to rebound against Oregon State University Saturday at 7 p.m. MT.
 
HOW IT HAPPENED: 
 
SET ONE
 
The teams traded points evenly back and forth until DeLuzio went on a six-point serving run to place Colorado ahead at 13-7, forcing Oregon to call their first timeout. CU responded strongly after the timeout with a kill from Sterling Parker.
 
The Buffs continued to build on their lead and Tabron's first block of the match caused the Ducks to use their second timeout at 16-8. Colorado's strong offensive showing proved too much for the Ducks as CU extended their lead 22-11. A kill from Hadrych gave the Buffs set point at 24-13.
 
From the service line, DeLuzio caused an Oregon overpass that resulted in a blocking error for the Ducks as Tabron won a joist at the net, giving CU a 25-13 set win.
 
SET TWO
 
After the Ducks jumped out to an early 8-4 lead, an attack error by Oregon broke the squad's four-point run. From there, the Buffs took advantage of the error, battling back off the serve of Schneggenburger. Back-to-back kills by Hadrych gave the Buffs their first lead of the set, and a slide kill by Alexia Kuehl forced Oregon to call their first timeout of the set at 10-8.
 
From there, the Buffs maintained their lead for the rest of the set. Colorado coach Jesse Mahoney used his second challenge of the match at 14-13, but the initial ruling held. As a result, CU was out of challenges until entering the fifth set.
 
Despite the lost challenge, the Buffs held their lead. Oregon came within one-point again at 19-18, but back-to-back blocks by CU held off the Oregon offensive. Tabron earned her seventh kill of the match to put the Buffs at 22-19, and Schneggenburger notched her fourth kill of the match to place the Buffs at set point. Colorado took the set 25-20 from a block by Hart and Hadrych, giving CU the two-set lead.
 
SET THREE
Oregon bounced back after the set break, jumping to a 4-0 lead off a serving run by Elise Agi. Although CU battled back throughout the game and never fell more than five points behind the Ducks, Oregon comfortably held their lead the whole set after starting strong.
 
Colorado managed to close the gap to 22-20 off a blocking error by Oregon, but the Ducks quickly sided-out and reached set point at 24-21. Another Hadrych kill held off an Oregon win, but the Ducks ultimately took the set 25-22.
 
SET FOUR
 
In the fourth set, Colorado started off strong, with Schneggenburger earning her ninth kill of the match to put the Buffs at 3-0. The Buffs continued their momentum even after a Brooke Nuneviller kill, and Hart earned her fifth block of the match, forcing Oregon to call a timeout at 6-1.
 
A Simpson and Kuehl block, followed by a service ace from Schneggenburger, forced the Ducks to use their second timeout early  in the set at 10-3.
 
From there, Colorado's momentum held strong and the team reached an 18-8 lead off of Hart's sixth block.
 
Unfortunately, the Ducks began to slowly chip away at the Buffs' lead. Colyer, Hannah Pukis, and Nuneviller all strung together four-point serving runs late in the set, giving Oregon set point at 24-23. A kill by Parker broke Nuneviller's serving streak, but the Ducks sided-out and won the set 26-24 off a kill from Karson Bacon.
 
SET FIVE
 
The Ducks built on their momentum from the fourth set and built a 4-0 lead off of Nuneviller's serve again, forcing the Buffs to call a timeout after an ace. She followed-up the timeout with another ace.
 
The Buffs proceeded to fall behind 8-3, but Hadrych earned consecutive kills to close CU's gap to 6-10. From there Colorado rallied back late in the set, and a long rally resulted in Kuehl killing an overpass to tie the set at 11-11.
 
The Ducks bounced back though and reached match point at 14-12. A miscommunication from the Buffs ended the match in Oregon's favor at 15-12.
 
QUOTES:
 
Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
 
On The Overall Match
 
"I was really proud of what we did tonight. I know we didn't get the win, but we played really high-level volleyball. We hit over .300 as a group, and we held them to under .175 as a group. Unfortunately, volleyball is split by sets, and we struggled toward the end of set four and set five.
 
"However, I thought that we got a lot of people involved in the offense. It was good to see Jill (Schneggenburger) and Sterling (Parker) have really good nights. I thought our setting was exceptional and that our decision-making was exceptional.
 
"Unfortunately, some of that might disappear based on the result, but hopefully, we can hold onto it a little bit as we go into the last five matches of the conference season."
 
On The Quick Turn Around Before Playing Oregon State
 
"At this point, our routine is pretty set. We're going to take a little time to allow ourselves to be frustrated about tonight, because it's an opportunity lost, but we can't let that be a part of what we do tomorrow or what we do on Saturday. We'll go through our scout tomorrow and go through our routine on Saturday. Obviously, we need to win some games to make it to the NCAA tournament. We want to win every game we play, and then we feel like we let one slip on the road to Oregon State, so I think we'll be pretty motivated to play hard Saturday night."
 
Opposite Jill Schneggenburger
 
On Earning 12 Kills Against A Top-15 Team
 
"I had the mindset that I have nothing to lose at this point; these are the last five games of my senior year, so why not go out with a bang. I think I tend to get in my head a lot, especially when I start off with some hitting errors, but I didn't let that affect me tonight. I think that mindset helps not only myself, but it also helps the team. We keep having energy throughout all the sets even if we're down."
 
Middle Blocker Meegan Hart
 
On Achieving Seven Blocks
 
"When we played them before, that was not us. Going into this game, we recognized that we're at home and it was more about energy in a sense. We scouted them [the last time we played], and that wasn't the problem. I just tried my best to go in with the right energy and the right mindset this time around."