Some nights, the Colorado Buffaloes volleyball team leaves little doubt it can compete toe-to-toe with any of the top programs in the nation. The Buffs have shown as much with a home win against UCLA and last week's road victory against Washington State, both of which were top-13 programs.
Yet on other nights the Buffs often seem to miss a spark, as evidenced by a home loss against Utah and road sweeps handed to them by San Diego and Washington — elite programs for certain, but ones the Buffs expect to compete against.
With the Pac-12 Conference schedule nearing its halfway point, head coach Jesse Mahoney's club still is striving for consistency. The Buffs will look to put together winning efforts on consecutive nights then they host Oregon State on Friday and No. 23 Oregon on Saturday.
"It was good to see us playing at a high level (at Washington State) after the last weekend," Mahoney said. "The Washington matches...that's kind of the reverse of it. We were bad in every phase. It's perplexing how we can play so well at one point and then not two days later.
"We're working every day to try and get a little bit better and raise our level of play and keep it at a high level. We can compete at a really high level, we just need everyone to be really good at the same time. We've been able to do that off and on in the season and we're looking for ways to make so we're all playing our best when it matters down the stretch."
Through the first eight league games the Buffs have been unable to string consecutive wins together, going 2-2 in an opening Pac-12 run of four home dates before going 1-3 in the recently completed stretch of four straight road games.
The Buffs split matches with Oregon last year, with a win at home ending an eight-match losing streak against the Ducks. In the opener Friday night CU takes on an Oregon State program it has defeated six consecutive times, but quickly taking care of an OSU squad that brings a 1-7 league mark to Boulder could prove critical the following night against the 23rd-ranked Ducks.
Oregon also will play on consecutive nights while traveling between matches after playing at No. 20 Utah on Friday.
"I'm not a big fan of the back-to-back, but it is what it is," Mahoney said. "But when you're home it's certainly better than when you're on the road."