The Colorado volleyball team did all it could during the final weekend of the regular season to polish its somewhat shaky NCAA tournament credentials.
Now all the Buffaloes can do is wait.
Despite a slow start Friday in CU's regular-season finale, the Buffs were able to put together a four-set victory against Utah, topping the Utes 19-25, 25-21, 25-15, 25-17 at the Coors Events Center.
CU entered the weekend situated at No. 66 in the all-important RPI rankings, which squarely puts the Buffs on the bubble for the 64-team NCAA tournament field. With wins against Washington State on Wednesday and Utah on Friday, CU made certain to give the tournament selection committee one final positive review before Sunday night's selection show.
"We talked about controlling what we can, and these kids did everything they can to make sure that in these last couple matches we solidify our resume," said CU coach Liz Kritza, whose team has competed in the past two NCAA tournaments. "It is still a huge question mark. It will be until the brackets come out Sunday night.
"The RPI is an interesting thing. I've coached teams that have benefited from it. I've coached teams that have not benefited from it. What we count on the NCAA selection committee to do is put together a tournament that showcases the best volleyball in the country. If they do that, I'm very confident."
A sweep in their final homestand left the Buffs in sole possession of fifth place in the rugged Pac-12 Conference, an accomplishment that surely will play to CU's credit in the tournament selection process. As will a 3-1 mark against two league foes in far better standing in the RPI in Arizona and Oregon, along with quality wins against Stanford, Florida State and Arizona State.
"I'm going to try and not think about it too much or I'll drive myself crazy," senior setter Nicole Edelman said. "I think we've done all we could. We've controlled what we can control. Now it's just a waiting game."
Utah entered Friday's match with just four wins in league play, yet one of those occurred against the Buffs, and the Utes clearly were not intimidated on CU's home floor after recording a 25-19 win in the first set.
The Buffs committed 10 hitting errors in that opening frame but quickly cleaned up their act, committing just five more over the next three sets combined. The Buffaloes quickly pulled away in the second set and were never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
The 500th victory in the history of the CU program also was the final home match for Edelman and fellow senior Alexis Austin, two key figures in the Buffs' return to national prominence over the past few seasons.
Austin finished with 14 kills and sophomore Gabby Simpson paced the offense with 17 kills. Edelman recorded 38 assists and nine digs, while freshman Naghede Abu led the defense with nine blocks.
Over the final two home games Edelman moved into fourth place among CU's all-time leaders in assists (4,278) and Austin ranks fourth in kills (1,443). The duo will have to wait two days to see if they will have an opportunity to add to those totals.
"It was great to play our final match and get that win," Austin said.
Colorado 3, Utah 1
At Coors Events CenterUtah (10-21, 4-16) 25 21 15 17 CU (19-13, 11-9) 19 25 25 25
Kills — Utah: Anae 21, Oblad 6, Katoa 6, Trueman 6; Colorado: G. Simpson 17, Austin 14, Hayes 9.
Blocks — Utah: Kirst 3, Oblad 3, Anae 3, DeYoung 3; Colorado: Abu 9, Pfefferle 4, Edelman 4, G. Simpson 4.
Assists — Utah: Cygan 25, Jorgensen 16; Colorado: Edelman 38.
Aces — Utah: Shughrou 2; Colorado: Edelman 3, C. Simpson 2, Hayes 2.
Digs — Utah: Cygan 15, Anae 10; Colorado: C. Simpson 11, Edelman 9, Herring 8, Austin 7.