Time is running out on the Colorado volleyball team.
With eight games remaining in the regular season, there still are plenty of opportunities for the Buffaloes to solidify what currently is a tenuous position in the NCAA Tournament picture. Mired in a three-game losing streak, the Buffs can take a big step toward helping their own cause with a good showing Friday night in a home date against No. 13 Stanford.
"Everybody in the program is well aware of where we stand in the conference and where we stand in preparation for the NCAAs," head coach Jesse Mahoney said. "Desperation isn't a word I would use. We have eight more matches. Four of them are against top-25 RPI teams. Another is against a top-50 RPI team. We look at those as opportunities to gain some ground back.
"Do we need to win matches? Absolutely. We've got to get to, in my opinion, 17 wins. There's opportunities out there for us. We're good enough to beat really good teams, and we know that. We just have to go out and make it happen."
CU enters the weekend with a 12-8 overall mark and a 4-8 record within the Pac-12 Conference, which leaves the Buffs in ninth-place in the league standings. CU has been unable to string together consecutive victories since completing the nonconference schedule with four straight wins, and last week's defeats at UCLA and USC dropped the Buffs' record against ranked foes to 4-7 — including just a 2-6 mark against ranked opponents in Pac-12 play.
The Buffs will be looking for a similar performance Friday to the one they turned in last year at home against Stanford, when CU erased an 0-14 mark against the Cardinal with a five-set win. Stanford defeated the Buffs in four sets in California a month ago.
CU completes the homestand Sunday against Cal, a team that handed the Buffs one of their more frustrating losses of the season on that same Northern California trip a month ago. Though trailing the Buffs in 10th-place in the league, Cal is coming off an impressive sweep at home of No. 23 Washington State.
"We beat Stanford here last year, but we'll take each one one at a time," said Mahoney, whose club begins the weekend at No. 53 in the NCAA's RPI rankings. "We want to win them all. The two this weekend can set us up to get a little bit closer to our goals."