At the midpoint of the Pac-12 Conference volleyball schedule, the Colorado Buffaloes figured it was a good time to regroup.
Earlier this week, the Buffs gathered for a team meeting to reassert their goals — goals that remain well within reach despite an up-and-down run through the first 10 contests of the 20-match league slate.
Though 12-8 overall with a number of quality wins, the Buffs have compiled a 4-6 mark so far in the Pac-12 despite getting six of their first 10 matches at home. CU now has to turn around and play six of the final 10 on the road, a run that begins Friday at No. 12 UCLA and continues Saturday at No. 24 USC.
"We had a pretty good meeting reminding us of our goals and what it's going to take to get into the tournament. Obviously that's a goal of ours," senior Cierra Simpson said. "That was definitely a good refresher for us. Throughout the season you get worn down and that kind of thing, but we know what we have to do to achieve our goals. We really laid that out."
While unranked, CU still boasts an RPI ranking of 40, which puts the Buffs squarely on the desirable side of the NCAA Tournament bubble. CU has built a solid resume thanks to impressive home wins against Penn State, Illinois, and UCLA, in addition to a quality road win at Washington State, which was ranked 13th at the time.
Yet too often the Buffs have squandered chances to string together wins. A loss at Cal (2-8 in Pac-12) was glaring, and after defeating Oregon State at home last Friday, the Buffs couldn't complete the sweep a night later against No. 23 Oregon. The Ducks also were playing on back-to-back nights but were doing so on the road at altitude, having won in five sets at Utah the night before.
"I like the team that can beat Penn State, and the team that can beat UCLA, and the team that can beat Washington State," head coach Jesse Mahoney said. "It's not like we need reminders of how good we can be. We have plenty of those. We had a good team meeting about the second half and our goals and what it's going to take to achieve those goals. We re-dedicated ourselves to the process of getting it done."
The Buffs' win against UCLA on Oct. 2 was just their third in 13 matches against the Bruins, but USC's win at the Coors Events Center two days earlier left CU with an 0-13 all-time mark against the Trojans.