It's not often the Coors Events Center hosts an occasion that quite literally has never happened before.
Yet it happened Friday night, as the Colorado volleyball team ended a long run of futility by defeating USC.
While there are plenty of perennial volleyball powers in the Pac-12 Conference, none have proved more troublesome to the Buffs than the Trojans, which brought a 14-0 mark against CU into Friday's showdown.
The Buffaloes finally decided enough was enough, sweeping the 19th-ranked Trojans 25-23, 25-14, and 25-21
CU improved to 3-3 this season against ranked opponents and was able to take care of USC with relative ease, which could help the Buffs with a quick turnaround before Saturday night's home match against No. 13 UCLA. The Bruins lost a four-set match at Utah Friday night before flying to Colorado.
“It's been a while. As in never,” said fifth-year senior Joslyn Hayes. “That was really exciting. We all came out on fire. You just kind of tell the freshmen that we've never beaten this team and they get worked up too. It was very exciting.”
The Buffs were in control from the start, surviving a late 5-1 run by the Trojans in the opening set by scoring the final three points for the win. CU scored seven consecutive points midway through set 2 to pull away and take a two-set edge before outscoring USC 10-4 down the stretch in set 3 to complete the sweep.
“Probably one of the more complete matches we've played all season,” CU coach Jesse Mahoney said. “That's obviously a very good opponent. We managed our side-out game as well as we have all season. Very efficient from the middle and from the right. We followed the game plan very well. And our two middle blockers, Naghede (Abu) and Pfeff (Anna Pfefferle) I thought did a fantastic job reading and closing.”
It was a balanced effort for the Buffs, who had four players post at least eight kills, an effort led by a team-leading 12 from Frankie Shebby. Hayes, Abu, and Alexa Smith all finished with eight kills, with Abu adding five blocks. Freshman setter Brynna DeLuzio recorded 37 assists and seven digs.
USC played without sophomore Khalia Lanier, who leads the Trojans in kills.
“I think everybody was working and doing their job so there was an equal opportunity to score,” Hayes said. “The block was open on the other side and we were being smart and communicating. I think that was really attributed to our ball-handling.”
Saturday's match against No. 13 UCLA begins at 7 p.m. and will be televised on Pac-12 Mountain.
Pat Rooney: email@example.com or twitter.com/prooney07
Colorado 3, No. 19 USC 0
At Coors Events Center
USC (14-6, 6-3) 23 14 21
Colorado (15-5, 5-4) 25 25 25
Kills — USC: Abercrombie 12, Withers 6; CU: Shebby 12, Hayes 8, Abu 8, Smith 8.
Blocks — USC: Geiger 3, Withers 3; CU: Pfefferle 6, Abu 5, Shebby 5.
Assists — USC: Meyer-Whalley 15, Marina 12; CU: DeLuzio 37.
Aces — USC: Meyer-Whalley 1, Welsh 1; CU: Carta-Samuels 1, Spann 1.
Digs — USC: Garrick 7, Meyer-Whalley 7; CU: Carta-Samuels 8, DeLuzio 7, Smith 6.