Head coach Liz Kritza hopes that at some point, the Colorado volleyball team will be able to take down some of the top teams in the country.
Friday wasn't the night. Third-ranked Oregon overpowered the Buffs at Coors Events Center, 25-16, 25-20, 25-23.
"The overall result of the match doesn't reflect the progress that we made," said Kritza, whose team was blitzed by the Ducks in Eugene, Ore., nearly a month ago. "Clearly it's not enough. We will not be satisfied until we are playing at the level of consistency where we can beat a team that is that good."
Colorado (13-10, 3-8 Pac-12) had its moments against the Ducks (19-1, 10-1). They were tied 11-11 in the first set, 10-10 in the second and 23-23 in the third. Oregon just had too many weapons.
Lauren Plum, an honorable mention All-American setter a year ago, was in sync with her hitters most of the night. She registered 39 assists in helping the Ducks to a .262 attack percentage. Alaina Bergsma and Ariana Williams had 11 kills each for the Ducks, and Liz Brenner had 10.
"The firepower is one thing, but the balance in their offense is the really difficult thing to deal with," Kritza said of the Ducks.
Oregon's firepower allowed it to string together points and pull away. The Ducks closed the first set with a 15-5 run and outscored the Buffs 16-10 down the stretch of the second set. Meanwhile, CU struggled all night in generating any momentum. The Buffs scored on just one of their 16 serves in the first set and just nine of 37 through the first two sets.
"We simply cannot get stuck in rotations and give away points that are unearned," Kritza said. "For us, it was those unforced errors that did us in tonight."
Still, the Buffs walked away with some encouragement. They held the Ducks to a .173 hitting percentage during the final two sets. They also mustered up a nice rally in the third set before falling.
It was quite a change from CU's first meeting with the Ducks, on Sept. 29. That day, CU managed just 46 total points and had a season-worst attack percentage of minus-.025. CU hit .150 on Friday, with Alexis Austin posting eight kills and Kelsey English and Ana Pantovic getting seven each.
"When we went to Oregon the first time, we were all kinds of intimidated by the environment and knowing they were No. 1 and undefeated," English said. "When we played them today, it didn't matter who was on the other side of the net. We just kind of played our game and that really helped us out."
Setter Nicole Edelman had 23 assists for the Buffs. ... Sophomore Emily Alexis missed the match with an injury to her right heel. Her status for Sunday was unknown after Friday night. ... The Buffs coaches wore pink and the players had pink ribbons, shoe laces and socks for their Breast Cancer Awareness Night. ... CU has been swept in its last five meetings with Oregon, losing 15 straight sets since sweeping the Ducks on Sept. 12, 2003. ... Colorado will host Oregon State on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.