TEMPE, Ariz. — Down a set and seven points in the second set on the road in a hostile environment on Sunday night, the Colorado women's volleyball team sparked a 12-4 run to swing momentum in the match and ultimately turn the tides in an eventual four-set victory (21-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-20) against Arizona State.
The Buffs dropped the first set and looked to still be struggling in the passing game halfway through the second set when the team was down seven points.
But after a timeout, the Buffs began to claw their way back behind junior Justine Spann. The outside posted four kills in the 12-4 run and after that the Buffs were off and running in dominant fashion. The team posted six blocks in the third to assist hitting only nine kills in the set, then turned it around with 16 kills and a .500 hitting percentage in the fourth to finish off the Sun Devils.
"ASU is a really good team," said CU head coach Jesse Mahoney. "To win on anyone's home court in this conference is hard to come by. They changed their lineup around a little bit so it took us a little while to get into the new patterns they were running. Midway through the second set we got a bead on what they were wanting to do offensively, and our passing got better as well as we made the switch to Gabby Carta-Samuels at libero. From that point on we played with a lot more poise and confidence which was good to see."
Spann led the team in both kills and digs on her way to posting a double-double. She tallied 13 kills on 40 swings with only four errors, while she also had 13 digs on the defensive end and was a key to the passing game.
"I thought J had a really nice match," Mahoney said. "First and foremost she passed really well, which doesn't show up on the stat sheet as much. She took some really smart swings. Her error rate was only 10 percent which is fantastic. She's a super athletic kid, when she's in front of the defensively she is going to make really great plays. It was good to see her play well in front of so many of her hometown fans."
Alexa Smith joined with a dozen kills and a pair of aces, while Anyse Smith had 10 kills and a .444 hitting percentage.
Colorado was without setter Brynna DeLuzio, giving the start to freshman Jenna Ewert in a 5-1 system for the first time in her career. The freshman stepped up to the task with a double-double 34 assists and 12 digs. She also led the team with a .455 hitting percentage with six kills. She added in four block assists to finish third on the team in that category.
Naghede Abu and Danielle Price anchored the front row that turned things around with six blocks in the third set. The duo combined for 13 total blocks, each posting a pair of solo blocks. In the back row, Rachel Whipple and Gabby Carta-Samuels traded off libero duties after the first set. Whipple finished with a dozen digs, while Carta-Samuels had 11.
The fourth set .500 hitting percentage was the second-high this season and the single hitting error that set is the lowest such mark for this season. This is first conference road victory for Colorado this season and their first away victory of the season with the other three victories coming in neutral-site matches.
Colorado will host a pair of ranked teams in Washington (Sunday, noon) and Washington State (Friday, 7 p.m.) next weekend for homecoming.