One of the highlights in what eventually proved to be a disappointing 2016 season for the Colorado volleyball team was a four-set win against a 13th-ranked Penn State team at home.

A year later, the Nittany Lions have a chance for some revenge, as the Buffs take on No. 5-ranked Penn State Friday in Champaign, Ill., in the opening match of the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge. Penn State likely will get a boost when the new rankings are released Monday after defeating No. 1 Stanford on Friday.

CU redshirt freshman Emily DeMure offers a unique perspective from the Buffs' win against the Nittany Lions a year ago. She was a true freshman at Penn State before transferring, and she knows her former teammates will be ready for payback.

"I know that the team has made a lot of changes," DeMure said. "They have a lot of new additions. Being a former player as part of that program, we went into every match with the same mentality, the same competitive mindset. I don't expect anything less from them this match.

"I'm looking forward to seeing some of my friends and former teammates. That will be fun. I think it will be a good match and they always come out with an intense mindset. Hopefully we'll come out just as equally prepared. I think we're very capable."

Omni honors

Despite resting during Sunday's finale of the Omni Invitational, CU junior Alexa Smith still was named the tournament MVP of the after posting 14 kills and five digs in Saturday's sweep of Wake Forest and adding nine kills, five digs, and two blocks Saturday night against Rice.


Smith was joined on the all-tournament team by junior middle blocker Naghede Abu (24 kills and 10 blocks in three matches) and freshman setter Brynna DeLuzio, who averaged 35 assists during the Buffs' three sweeps.


An upset win against No. 5 Penn State on Friday would give CU the first 7-0 start in the program's history...The Buffs do not return home until a Sept. 15 date against Xavier, which is the final home nonconference match before Pac-12 play begins.

Pat Rooney: or