Colorado volleyball coach Liz Kritza talks to her team during a game last month against USC.
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado volleyball coach Liz Kritza talks to her team during a game last month against USC.

Currently on the outside on the NCAA tournament picture with just six regular-season games remaining, the Colorado Buffaloes volleyball team faces a critical homestand this weekend beginning Thursday against No. 21 Arizona State.

Heading into the weekend the Buffs sit at No. 69 in the RPI rankings, a precarious position when trying to project the 64-team NCAA tournament field. Wins against the Sun Devils and on Saturday against No. 19 Arizona might help the Buffs solidify their postseason footing.

“At this point in the season, everyone is looking at that,” CU coach Liz Kritza said. “You can’t speculate. You can’t control how other teams play. You can’t control how the RPI shakes out. There’s only one thing you can control, and that’s putting forth our best match against Arizona State.”

Inconsistency has plagued the Buffs throughout the season. CU enters the weekend on a three-game losing streak, suffering road losses last week against top-10 teams UCLA and USC. Before that slide CU had recorded wins in three of four matches, including a victory at Arizona and an upset win against No. 6 Stanford. With Arizona State sitting at No. 25 in the RPI and Arizona falling all the way to No. 46 in the RPI, the Buffs are running out of opportunities to improve their tournament credentials.

“We’re all confident in the program we’ve put together and the team we’ve put together,” Kritza said. “We’ve dropped a couple matches but nothing has changed that confidence. We know we can play with anyone in the country, and the players know that. Yes, we need wins, and we need them more than ever. For us, we just have to make the most of the opportunities.”

CU faces a rematch on the road against Stanford next weekend and also visits Cal before finishing the regular season at home against Washington State and Utah.

Pat Rooney: or