Things began in the favor of the University of Colorado women’s volleyball team Friday evening in Seattle, but the tides turned as No.13-ranked Washington powered its way past No.23 Colorado in four sets (23-25, 25-20, 20-25, 16-25).
Colorado had a lead late in the opening set and let that slip from them, but they rallied back to take the second set in a tight-niche match. The first half tale was summed up as a tight battle with more than a dozen CU blocks compared to six Washington aces. Both teams had similar kills, attacks and digs, with CU owning less attack errors with less attack attempts.
CU added just three more blocks in the next two sets combined, while Washington went off for 18 kills in each set with CU mustering only 13 kills in both sets combined. The Huskies’ serving and Colorado’s passing was the major difference, as Washington put down a dozen aces and consistently put the Buffs out of system and scrambling. Washington had 23 more kills that CU in the final two sets and 25 more attack attempts, virtually pounding the ball through CU’s blocks for the win.
Despite the loss, numerous Buffs came out early in dominant fashion.
Danielle Price had nine blocks through two sets, while Alexa Smith had nine kills. Both would only be allowed to add a single more tally to their respective stat lines the rest of the match. Brynna DeLuzio finished with a team-high 15 assists while Jenna Ewert added 15.
Defensively, Anyse Smith joined Price with six block assists while Alexa Smith added five and Naghede Abu and Lauren Dorrell chipped in four blocks apiece. In the backrow, Justine Spann had a team-high 10 digs, with DeLuzio finishing just a dig shy from a double-double.
Washington’s outside weapons were part of the difference, with Sam Drechsel earning 18 kills from the outside and Kara Bajema with 16. The Huskies defense was also putting a lot of the CU attacks back in the air effectively, led by Shayne McPherson with 18 digs and Bajema with 11.
“I’m definitely proud of the effort we put out, especially in the first three sets,” said Head Coach Jesse Mahoney. “I feel like the first set could have gone either way, we gave up 11 points in serve/pass and outhit Washington and found a way to lose that one. That being said, when the ball was in play I thought we did really good things, especially blocking wise in the first several sets. Sets three and four Washington got into a real groove offensively and we struggled to slow down their attack on the right side. I thought we served well enough to get them out of system, just didn’t convert on some transition opportunities that we had. It’s a really good team in a really good home environment and we will learn from it and move on to Washington State.”