The Colorado volleyball team knocked off No. 17 Utah with a thrilling five-set victory (25-19, 16-25, 25-20, 20-25, 15-13) to finish the 2016 season on Friday in Salt Lake City.
With the win, the Buffs snapped a five-match losing streak to end the season with a 14-16 overall record and a 6-14 Pac-12 mark. Utah is now 20-11 overall, 11-9 in the Pac-12.
Colorado sophomore Alexa Smith recorded her 13th double-double this season with a team best 13 kills and 16 digs while adding a pair of blocks in the win.
Colorado's seniors all shined in their final match. Katelyn Cuff was second on the team with 11 kills and hit a match-high .526 with just one error on 19 attacks. Cuff also played well on defense, posting six blocks. Kiara McKibben and Marie Zimmerman both set very well. McKibben handed out 27 assists and recorded 10 digs for her seventh double-double this season and Zimmerman recorded 21 assists, tying a season-best, and added six digs. Cierra Simpson was second on the team with 15 digs in the win.
I'm happy for our players and especially for our seniors to finish the season playing their hearts out and beating a top-25 team. It wasn't always pretty today but we found a way to win," head coach Jesse Mahoney said. "Katelyn Cuff and Naghede Abu were unstoppable in the middle and came up with big kills in set five."
This is the Buffs' first win in Salt Lake City, since joining the Pac-12.
Cierra Simpson finished her career with 1,840 digs, which is CU's all-time digs record. She is also the rally-scoring era leader in sets played at 493.
"I'm proud of the fight this team showed in the last third of the season — they kept playing hard even though the wins weren't coming. It's something to build on heading into the spring, " Mahoney said.