CU volleyball beats rival CSU as Alexa Smith eclipses 1,000 kills

The University of Colorado volleyball team closed out the 2018 Colorado Classic Saturday evening with a four-set (28-26, 26-24, 19-25, 25-22) victory over in-state rivals Colorado State University in a packed CU Event Center. In the win senior Alexa Smith became the 16th member of the 1,000-kill club for CU, becoming just the second Colorado native to accomplish the feat.

Team play once again was the key to success for the Buffs, as four women hit double-digit kills. Even more extraordinary was that three CU players marked double-doubles, led by Tournament Most Valuable Player Naghede Abu with 10 kills and 10 blocks while hitting .500. She was joined by Justine Spann with 10 kills and a team-high 12 digs, and freshman Jenna Ewert with 20 assists and 11 digs. Alexa Smith led the team with a dozen kills, while Anyse Smith added in 10 kills.

The other key to the match was the Colorado front row. Six different Buffs combined for a season-high 16 total blocks, led by Abu who notched a pair of solo blocks and eight block assists. She was joined by Danielle Price and Spann with five block assists, while Anyse Smith added four total blocks. Any balls that made it through were cleaned up by Spann and Ewert, while Alexa Smith and Rachel Whipple added in nine digs apiece.

Also for the Buffs, Brynna DeLuzio had a team-high 21 assists, while Whipple had a pair of aces.

In front of a crowd of more than 2,000 the Buffs shined in a tight match. There were 30 ties and 13 lead changes in the match, as two sets went to extra points. Each team found themselves with large leads in the third and fourth sets, but the first two were as back-and-forth as possible, with each team taking and losing leads throughout the early sets. The opening two sets before the break featured 29 of the 30 ties as well as 12 of the 13 lead changes. The Buffs’ late set charges led the team to success, as they were down in both sets before coming back to take the 2-0 lead.

Naghede Abu was named the Colorado Classic MVP after leading the Buffs to a perfect weekend. She had 26 kills, hitting greater than .400 in all three matches. She also had 14 total blocks in her first weekend back for the team after missing the majority of non-conference play. Alexa Smith and Anyse Smith were named to the All-Tournament team after combining for 63 kills and 10 blocks. Alexa led the team with 38 total kills, including 19 in a three-set match against Indiana State. She also had 29 digs and five blocks, recording one double-double in the win over Indiana State. Anyse had 25 kills and five blocks.

Colorado senior Alexa Smith matched a career-high in three-set match kills with 19 as she led the Buffs to the sweep (25-16, 25-18, 25-23) against Indiana State on Saturday.