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CU volleyball’s upset bid falls short against No. 10 Washington

Colorado volleyball redshirt senior Leah Clayton made her Boulder debut something to remember, posting 29 kills and a .333 hitting percentage in a 3-2 five-set loss (22-25, 26-24, 23-25, 25-20, 15-13) to No.10-ranked Washington Friday afternoon at the CU Events Center.

The Buffs (4-3) drop their third-straight match despite posting more blocks, kills and aces than the Huskies (7-2). Colorado posted six aces, 11 blocks and 73 kills in the tightly contested match that came down to the wire. One kill, one assist, one service error and one dig were all the difference in the stats between the two teams.

“That was a really high-level volleyball match. I thought both teams played well. Both teams hit around .300, offensively. It was a pretty good match on both sides. Both teams served and passed well. I think the difference in the match was maybe three points total in five sets so pretty evenly matched,” head coach Jesse Mahoney said. “We had our chances. We had our chances in set two and then it’s a sweep. We had our chances in set five and made a couple unforced errors in crunch time. We’ll regroup. We have a day in between and we’ll get ready for Sunday. We’ll make sure we take care of our bodies and we’re all ready to go.”

Clayton’s debut marks her down as the 12th Buff to ever hit for 29 or more kills in a match. She is just the third player in the modern rally scoring era to hit that mark, joining Taylor Simpson who last did it in 2014 and Kerra Schroeder, the first in the 25-point era in 2010. Clayton finished with a .333 hitting percentage and her first double-double for CU with 14 digs. She also added a pair of blocks and handled 33 receptions with only one error.

“I mean it’s not too successful if we don’t win, but I think that it’s fine,” Clayton said about her debut. “It’s a team game and I’m glad that I was able to do my job today.  Hopefully I’ll be able to do it again on Sunday, and just keep on fighting with my team.  I’ll keep on making the right choices for them and come out with the win.”

It was a heavy setter battle as Jenna Ewert and Washington’s Ella May Powell both hit the 60 assist mark. Both also posted a pair of aces and had double-doubles as Ewert was third on the team with 14 digs. Outside of Clayton’s 29 kills on 66 swings, Elissa Alcantara and Sterling Parker both had 14 kills. Parker led with a .263 hitting percentage.

The rematch for these teams comes Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. MT.

Washington 3, Colorado 2

Washington 22 26 23 25 15
Colorado 25 24 25 20 13

Kills – UW:  Drechsel, Samantha (19), Hoffman, Claire (18), Endsley, Madi (14); CU: Clayton, Leah (29), Alcantara, Elissa (14), Parker, Sterling (14)
Aces – UW: Crenshaw, Shannon (2), Powell, Ella May (2); CU: Ewert, Jenna (2), Schneggenburger, Jill (2), DeLuzio, Brynna (1)
Blocks – UW: Drechsel, Samantha (4), Sanders, Lauren (4), Grote, Marin (4); CU: Alcantara, Elissa (6), Hart, Meegan (5), Fara, Rachael (5)
Assists – UW: Powell, Ella May (60), Crenshaw, Shannon (5), Grote, Marin (1); CU: Ewert, Jenna (60), DeLuzio, Brynna (7), Hart, Meegan (1)
Digs – UW: Crenshaw, Shannon (21), Drechsel, Samantha (17), Calle, Emma (16); CU: DeLuzio, Brynna (19), Schneggenburger, Jill (18), Ewert, Jenna (14)