TUCSON — After a poor first set performance the Colorado women’s volleyball team cranked things into another gear, but ultimately came up short against Arizona in a 3-0 (25-13, 27-25, 26-24) match in Tucson on Sunday afternoon.
Colorado (8-6, 0-4 Pac-12) finishes the long road stretch to open conference play as the only team without a win after Arizona (11-5, 1-3 Pac-12) picked up its first Pac-12 win.
Senior Justine Spann led the charge for Colorado with 13 kills and a .282 hitting percentage. She also added nine digs and a pair of blocks.
“Justine woke up in the second and third sets and took care of the ball much better, passed and defended well,” coach Jesse Mahoney said. “She is our only pin that is really scoring for us right now.”
Spann was joined by Sterling Parker who had seven kills and a .375 hitting percentage and Jill Schneggenburger with six kills and 10 digs. Setter Jenna Ewert dished out 25 assists in the effort.
Senior libero Rachel Whipple had a strong third set performance with 10 of her match-high 17 digs. Up front, Spann, Lillie Klemmer and Meegan Hart all led the way with a pair of block assists.
The Wildcats were firing on all cylinders as the team had a .429 hitting percentage in the second set to win the close matchup. The team also closed out the match with a six-point run after facing four set-points. Setter Julia Patterson had five kills in the first set and dished out 42 assists. She also had 11 digs and three blocks to lead Arizona. Paige Whipple came on strong late with a match-high 14 kills while Katie Smoot finished with 13 kills. Devyn Cross finished the match with nine kills without an error for a match-high .643 hitting percentage.
The Buffaloes return home next weekend for the first time in conference play with a matchup against USC and UCLA next Friday and Sunday, respectfully. Neither Los Angeles team was ranked in the AVCA polls this past weekend but UCLA started the conference season 3-0 and USC upset No.8 Washington on Friday in a four-set match.
“We are excited to play at home but we are playing two top-25 level teams so we will have to have a good week of preparation and buy in, formulate a game plan and follow it,” Mahoney said. “We will need to play really, really hard to put ourselves in a position to win those games.”
Arizona 3, Colorado 0
Colorado 13 25 24
Arizona 25 27 26
Kills — CU: Spann, Justine (13), Parker, Sterling (7), Schneggenburger, Jill (6); UA: Whipple, Paige (14), Smoot, Katie (13), Shelton, Elizabeth (10)
Aces — CU: Hart, Meegan (1); UA: Patterson, Julia (2), Smoot, Katie (1), Whipple, Paige (1)
Blocks — CU: Klemmer, Lillie (2), Spann, Justine (2), Hart, Meegan (2); UA: Patterson, Julia (3), Fellows, Zyonna (3)
Assists — CU: Ewert, Jenna (25), Perry, Savannah (2), DeMure, Emily (1); UA: Patterson, Julia (42), Ua, Malina Kalei (5), Pua’a, Emi (4)
Digs — CU: Whipple, Rachel (17), Schneggenburger, Jill (10), Spann, Justine (9); UA: Pua’a, Emi (14), Patterson, Julia (11), Smoot, Katie (11)