After jumping out to a big lead early in the match, the University of Colorado volleyball team was unable to put away Northwestern in the Buffs' season opener and dropped the contest in five sets in Dekalb, Illinois. Despite being within two points of taking a straight-set victory, CU was forced to settle for a 3-2 loss (20-25, 17-25, 26-24, 25-17, 17-15) in its season opener.
Colorado took the first two sets relatively handily, but NU refused to fold. After a back-and-forth affair late in the third set, the Buffs won a point to make the score of the game 24-24. The Wildcats, however, took the next two points to make it 2-1.
NU cruised through much of the fourth frame, tying things up at two games and setting up the decisive fifth game. CU went up 12-9 there, but allowed Northwestern to come back and tie things at 14. The Wildcats then went on to win three of the next four points and secure the victory.
"Tonight was a hard fought battle against a solid opponent, and while we are not walking away with the win we expected, we gained a lot in experience, and being challenged tonight will result in a lot of positives moving forward," coach Liz Kritza said.
Senior Taylor Simpson and freshman Gabby Simpson combined for 29 kills to lead the Buffs' attack. Taylor Simpson tallied 15 kills and had just three errors on 43 swings. The elder Simpson had two aces, while the frosh had a team-high five. Gabby Simpson also recorded 14 kills and three errors on 30 attacks.
Senior Kelsey English collected 13 kills and posted a block.
CU will play its remaining two opponents of the season-opening trip on Saturday, facing host Northern Illinois at 11 a.m. and Presbyterian at 4 p.m.