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CU volleyball falls to Washington State in five sets

Rachel Whipple posts career high 28 digs in loss

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Colorado Buffaloes volleyball senior Rachel Whipple posted a career-high 28 digs in a five-set (25-23, 24-26, 13-25, 25-15, 15-9) loss to No.22 Washington State University Sunday afternoon in Pullman.

Colorado (11-15, 3-13 Pac-12) handled the Cougars (22-6, 11-5 Pac-12) in the second set before putting on a show in the third, but eight blocks in the fourth set turned the tides and set WSU up for the comeback. The Cougars doubled up the Buffs with 26 kills in the final two sets compared to just 13 for CU as the team hit a combined .000 hitting percentage in the final two sets.

Whipple was a force for Colorado in the first three sets, posting 28 total digs to become just the fourth CU player in rally scoring era to have more than 26. She recorded nine in the first set, six in the second and seven in the third. The fourth set saw four more digs and numerous more ups off of blocks for the Cougars. She marked her previous career-best through four sets at 26 and then posted two in the final set.

The Buffs were led offensively by Justine Spann and Elissa Alcantara as each had 16 kills. Sterling Parker and Meegan Hart joined in with 11 and 10 kills, respectfully, led by Hart’s .435 hitting percentage. Jenna Ewert recorded another double-double with 45 assists and 12 digs while Spann added to her double-double total with 10 digs.

On the defensive side, Whipple handled the back row, posting two times more digs than any other competitor. Colorado denied numerous slides from the Cougs middles with eight solo blocks led by Parker’s four. Colorado ended up with nine team blocks compared to WSU’s 15.

The Cougars’ Pia Timmer had 16 kills but middle Jocelyn Urias was the star with 15 kills and a .414 hitting percentage. She also had eight total blocks for 22 points. Washington State had four players record 10 or more digs.

The Buffs return home for the final four matches in eight days. They play Cal Friday night before hosting Stanford on Sunday. The team finishes Thanksgiving break with a Wednesday match against Oregon followed by a Saturday senior day against Utah.