Every season has to come to an end at some point, and that point for the Colorado Buffaloes came on Friday afternoon in Lexington, Ky., against No. 5 Nebraska (25-19, 25-11, 25-21) in the round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
The Buffs finish the year with an impressive 24-10 record — the third most wins in a single season in program history. Nebraska, which will face Kentucky in the Elite Eight on Saturday, improved to 29-4.
Thank you. First of all, I want to say thank you to the University of Kentucky for hosting us this weekend," Colorado head coach Jesse Mahoney said. "It was definitely — everything was first rate and it was a championship experience for our players and we certainly appreciate that. Congratulations to Nebraska. That's a very good team on the other side of the net. They put a lot of pressure on you in a lot of different ways and they definitely deserve to advance to the next round. I'm sure they will be very competitive in the rest of this tournament."
Junior Alexa Smith led the Buffs with nine kills and eight digs, in addition to one block solo, while Frankie Shebby had eight kills and recorded a match-high 15 digs while adding three blocks assists and an ace.
Senior Joslyn Hayes hit a CU high .333 with six kills and just one error on 15 attacks. Senior Anna Pfefferle posted three block assists, one kill and one dig. Both played their final game at Colorado.
"Adding onto that, really just super thankful for the coaches, the support staff, obviously my teammates, and my seniors," Hayes said. "We're all really good friends and we had a really awesome season. It's definitely bittersweet to end the way that we ended, but looking at the entire experience it was all well worth it. I am very happy with how this last year went."
Annika Albrecht led the NU attack with 13 kills and hit .344 with nine digs. Briana Holman led the block with six block assists and Jazz Sweet hit nine kills and posted four block assists.
"I think they're just a really solid defensive team," Pfefferle said. "I think that when we're out of system, when any team is out of system, it's harder to score at a high level. I think that they did a great job serving and like I said, they obviously scattered us and knew our tendencies like we did for them. I think that they played really solid defense and I think also our serve pass game just wasn't quite on point as it was last weekend."
Colorado is 13-19 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a 0-4 record in the Sweet 16. ... This was the first time CU and NU have faced since both left the Big 12 after the 2010-11 season. CU is 6-1 against former Big 12 rivals. ... Head coach Jesse Mahoney is 2-1 in the NCAA Tournament as CU's head coach.
Nebraska 3, Colorado 0Colorado 19 11 21
Nebraska 25 25 25
Kills — CU: Smith 9, Shebby 8; NU: Albrecht 13, Sweet 9.
Blocks — CU: Shebby 3, Pfefferle 3; NU: Holman 6, Sweet 4
Assists — CU: DeLuzio 23; NU: Hunter 35.
Aces — CU: Shebby 1, Spann 1; NU: Foecke 2, Hunter 2, Maloney 2.
Digs — CU: Shebby 15, Smith 8, Spann 8; NU: Townsend 14, Maloney 11, Hunter 10.