Despite a dominant third set, the University of Colorado women’s volleyball team fell to the 14th-ranked Oregon Ducks Friday evening in a four-set match (19-25, 30-32, 25-14, 16-25) at home during their annual pink game.
The Buffs put together a nearly flawless third set after dropping a close 32-30 second set to Oregon. The team had 15 kills with only a pair of errors to hit an astonishing .464. The passing was also on point with the team successfully siding out the ball on 13 of 15 attempts for a .86 percentage. The troubles for Colorado in the match came in the first and fourth sets when the team hit less than .100 in both with nearly as many attacking errors (19) as there were kills (25).
“Oregon is a really good team,” Buffs head coach Jesse Mahoney said. “I think that outside of Stanford, they are probably one of the best teams in the league. They have been playing really well offensively and doing a lot of really good things.”
Despite the struggles in the first and last set the Buffs posted decent offensive numbers. Anyse Smith came on strong in the middle sets for CU with five kills in the second and six in the third. She led the team with 18 kills and had a .256 percentage.
Senior middle Naghede Abu was nearly unstoppable in the first two sets with 13 kills and a .524 hitting percentage. Abu finished with 17 kills and a .419 hitting percentage
Also for the Buffs, senior Alexa Smith tallied 13 kills while Justine Spann added nine.
The Buffs passing and setting game continues to evolve throughout the season, which was on full display tonight. The setters Brynna DeLuzio and Jenna Ewert both combined for 58 assists, nearly 15 per set. They helped lead the Buffs to 24 kills in the second set and 15 in the first and third.
On the defense end libero Rachel Whipple had a career-night with 25 digs. The junior was all over the court, especially in the final set when she put up nine digs. Spann was second on the team with 11 digs. In the front row Abu tallied a pair of solo blocks and three block assists. Alexa Smith added a solo blocks of her own and a pair of block assists.
Ducks setter August Raskie was one of the key differences in the match. The senior posted a triple-double against CU with 10 kills on 14 errorless attempts for a .714 hitting percentage. She also had 41 assists and 11 digs.
“They have a really nice setter,” Mahoney said. ” I thought that we were very uneven. We played a really poor first and fourth sets. The line shares of our errors were in those two sets. We had a really clean third set and I thought we played a really good second set. It was played well by both teams. We just couldn’t close it out at the end and we ran out of subs.
“A little bit of the story of our season,” he added, (is) playing at a really high level or a level that isn’t going to get it done for what we want to do.”