No. 25 Colorado volleyball facing tough Los Angeles challenge

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colroado’s Brynna DeLuzio ranks second in the Pac-12 with 11.05 assists per set.

For the third time this season, the Colorado volleyball team has squeaked into the national rankings at No. 25.

The Buffaloes are hoping to make a longer stay in that club the third time around. It certainly won’t be easy.

With wins in seven of their past eight matches, CU has morphed into one of the hottest teams in the Pac-12 Conference with a demanding trip to Los Angeles on the docket over the weekend. After going 0-2 during each of the previous weeks in which the team was ranked, CU will be challenged to reverse that trend with a Thursday date at No. 18 UCLA followed by a Saturday afternoon showdown at No. 17 USC.

Here is a look at the matchup:

No. 25 Colorado volleyball at No. 18 UCLA

WHEN: Thursday, 9 p.m. MST, Pauley Pavilion.

BROADCAST: Pac-12 Network.

RECORDS: CU: 19-6, 9-5 Pac-12 Conference; UCLA 15-8, 8-6.

NOTES: The Bruins, then ranked 13th, edged the Buffaloes in a five-set thriller in Boulder on Oct. 21. Junior Alexa Smith paced CU with a career-best 27 kills. The Buffs have won four consecutive games since that setback … CU is just 1-5 all-time at UCLA … Senior middle blocker Anna Pfefferle needs three blocks to reach 441 in her career and match Alison Koepke for second-place among CU’s all-time leaders … The Buffs are ranked 11th in the RPI…CU begins the week tied with Washington and Utah for third-place in the Pac-12 … Buffs setter Brynna DeLuzio has won the league’s Freshman of the Week award each of the past three weeks. She ranks second in the Pac-12 with 11.05 assists per set … CU Junior middle blocker Naghede Abu ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in hitting percentage (.357) and sixth in blocks per set (1.22) … CU plays USC at 2 p.m. MST on Saturday — the same time the schools’ football teams collide at Folsom Field.

Pat Rooney: or