PULLMAN, Wash. — The University of Colorado women’s volleyball team found itself in a back-and-forth offensive battle with Washington State Sunday afternoon in Pullman, Wash., eventually falling to the Cougars in four sets (25-21, 30-32, 19-25, 24-26).
The match was an offensive juggernaut with both teams hitting greater than .260 and having four attackers in double-digit digs. The teams kept countering with runs after runs, as both combined for 34 ties and 16 lead changes.
In the end the Cougars came back to win both the second and fourth sets that went into extra points, sealing the victory despite the Buffs hitting .308 as a team.
“I think offensively we did enough to win the match. We hit over .300 in the match,” CU coach Jesse Mahoney said. “We had a lot of kills spread out across a lot of players. I thought Justine (Spann) did a really nice job. She was matched up against their setter early and was able to score well. Lauren (Dorrell also) had some key swings down the stretch in a couple of those sets. Offensively we did enough to win it.”
Anyse Smith was a force to be reckoned with, too, in the first set and half of the match. At one point, the rightside hitter had taken nine swings, converting seven into kills without a single error. She finished the match tied for a team-high 15 kills while hitting .310. She was joined by Spann with 15 kills, with Spann only committing four attack errors for a .314 hitting percentage.
Also for the Buffs on the offensive end, Naghede Abu had some key plays in the middle, leading the team with a match-high .450 hitting percentage with 10 kills and only a single error. Alexa Smith was also a consistent force with a .278 hitting percentage with 13 kills.
The setter duo of Jenna Ewert and Brynna DeLuzio split evenly with 29 assists each. The mark was a career-high for Ewert, while DeLuzio put up a double-double with 11 digs.
On the defensive end of the battle, the Buffs did well to slow down the Washington State attack with a dozen team blocks. Danielle Price led the wall with six block assists, while Dorrell added in five and Abu four.
In the back row Gabby Carta-Samuels had a dozen digs to lead the team, while Rachel Whipple added 10 digs.
Washington State’s Taylor Mims was shut down in the first set by Colorado, with only a single kill and a -.400 hitting percentage. Mims turned it around in the second set, posting 11 of the team’s 20 kills in the set. She finished with a match-high 23 kills and a .250 attack percentage, taking more than 50 swings.
The Buffs are home for the coming weekend with matchups against Cal and No.2-ranked Stanford. The California match is set for 8 p.m., on Friday, at the CU Events Center, with the Stanford match tabbed for Sunday at noon.