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CU volleyball remains winless in Pac-12 after loss to USC

A career-high night from senior Justine Spann wasn’t enough for Colorado women’s volleyball as the team fell in a four-set (26-24, 25-20, 23-25, 25-23) match in Boulder on Friday.

A depleted Colorado (8-7, 0-5 Pac-12) team fell to the Trojans (9-6, 3-2 Pac-12) in a close match with three of the four sets decided by two points. With the loss the team falls to 0-5 in conference play and one game above .500 for the season.

“It is no fun to lose. It was good for us to play four competitive sets. We were in position to win in three of those and couldn’t quite finish, but I was proud of our effort and the fact that we got better as the match went on,” Colorado head coach Jesse Mahoney said. That’s a really good team on the other side of the net. They do a lot of things that stress you out defensively. We did a nice job of following our scout and game plan. If we continue to do those things we will get on the other side of it pretty soon.”

Outside hitter Spann had a career night in an odd fashion. Despite being six kills from her career-high in kills, Spann marked a new best of 25.5 points after putting down 18 kills, a career-high five aces and five block assists. She hit .213 in the match and was targeted in the serving game with 40 receptions.

Spann was the largest beneficiary of setter Jenna Ewert’s double-double night. She recorded more than 10 assists per set with 41 and also had 13 digs. She also contributed six kills. Freshman Elissa Alcantara stepped in for an injured Jill Schneggenburger, posting an impressive 12 kills and .143 hitting percentage in her career start. Both Sterling Parker and Meegan Hart chipped in seven kills.

“Sterling has been out there all season and has been doing a nice job. She can be a streaky player but is super physical and slowed down their outside hitters. This was the first opportunity for Elissa to get a lot of playing time,” Mahoney said. “I thought she did a nice job. There are things she can get better at, but she knows what those are. There Is no way to simulate that type of match it practice. You have to go through it. The next time she is on the floor she will be better and the next time a little better. it was good to see her do a lot of good things tonight.”

On the defensive end, Rachel Whipple led all players with 17 digs. Colorado recorded 11.5 team blocks behind Lillie Klemmer’s seven block assists. Alcantara, Parker and Hart all added three block assists of their own.

Colorado showed out today despite missing two starters. This was the first time the team has hit greater than .200 in the conference play this season at .248. There were 20 ties and eight lead changes in the close battle.

CU will look to recoup quickly as they take on UCLA Sunday at 2 p.m. on ESPN2.

USC 3, Colorado 1

Southern California 26 25 23 25
Colorado 24 20 25 23

Kills — USC: Lanier, Khalia (21), Botkin, Brooke (13), Gross, Jasmine (11); CU: Spann, Justine (18), Alcantara, Elissa (12), Hart, Meegan (7)
Aces — USC:  Weske, Emilia (2), LeGrand, Raegan (1), Lanier, Khalia (1); CU: Spann, Justine (5), Hart, Meegan (2), Neverdowski, Zoe (1)
Blocks — USC: Gross, Jasmine (8), L?zaro, Raquel (4), Lanier, Khalia (3); CU: Klemmer, Lillie (7), Spann, Justine (5), Hart, Meegan (3)
Assists – USC: Lazaro, Raquel (47), LeGrand, Raegan (3), Weske, Emilia (2); CU: Ewert, Jenna (41), Whipple, Rachel (4), Neverdowski, Zoe (1)
Digs — USC: Lazaro, Raquel (15), LeGrand, Raegan (12), Owes, Kalen (7): CU: Whipple, Rachel (17), Ewert, Jenna (13), Neverdowski, Zoe (7)