Despite having 17 less kills and 11 less digs, the University of Colorado women’s volleyball team leaves Eugene, Ore., with a victory against the No.16-ranked team in the nation in five sets (19-25, 25-22, 25-21, 20-25, 16-14) Friday evening.
Redshirt freshman Anyse Smith took the fifth set and said enough at a 4-4 mark. She put down three straight kills to give CU a 7-4 lead and force Oregon into a timeout. Smith accounted for the next two CU points as well with a block assists and a kill. In total the freshman accounted for five kills and a block in the final set while hitting .625. She was joined by Alexa Smith and Naghede Abu as both had three kills and hit .280 or better in the last act.
It was a critical win for the Buffs in their quest to return to the NCAA Tournament. They will look to complete a sweep through the state of Oregon at Oregon State at noon Sunday.
“It was a really hard-fought match,” said Head Coach Jesse Mahoney. “I thought both teams had very high-level play at times. The first set I think we weren’t as prepared as we could’ve been to match their energy, but I thought we did a nice job settling in towards the end of the set and played really good volleyball in sets two and three. Set four we got in a hole, but I was proud of how we recovered from how we played in fourth set and played a really good five-set match in a tough atmosphere and gutted it out in the end. It was a match we needed and maybe the type of match that we haven’t won a couple times this season. This team can play at a high level, we know that, we just have to do it every time out.”
With the victory Colorado improves to 16-12 overall with an 8-9 record in conference play. The Ducks fall to 18-10 with a 11-7 conference record as the Buffs spoil senior night.
The trio that came together for all the kills in the fifth tallied 15 total kills apiece throughout the match. Anyse led the first set with three kills, then Abu took over with five in the second. Abu and Alexa each had four in the third with Abu going four-for-four in kills per attempt. Alexa continued to power in to the fourth with four kills, earning her 11 errorless kills in sets two through four.