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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Colorado volleyball team continued its undefeated start to the 2021 season on Saturday, winning the first two sets and then eventually defeating tournament host Illinois, 3-2, to cap their Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge run.

The Buffs will head home for a three-match set at the Buffs Invitational next week with plenty of momentum after also beating Iowa on Friday and moving to 4-0.

CU won the match against the Illini by scores of 25-21, 25-18, 16-25, 22-25, 18-16. In it, the Buffs fought off a pair of Illinois match points in the fifth set. This is the third straight season Colorado has opened 4-0 as a team and the fourth time in head coach Jesse Mahoney’s six seasons.

Leah Clayton led all hitters in the match with 19 kills on a .213 hitting clip. She was joined by Maya Tabron who had 16 kills and Jill Schneggenburger with 10 kills. All three women captured double-doubles with 11 digs.

Defensively, Brynna DeLuzio put up a career-high 28 digs, becoming just the second player in the Mahoney era to achieve that mark and 17th in school history to do so or better. Up front, Alexia Kuehl had a team-best six blocks while Meegan Hart had five.

Also for Colorado, Jenna Ewert had 44 assists while DeLuzio had both of CU’s service aces.

The Buffs Invitational for CU begins Friday with a 10 a.m. match against Texas Tech. San Jose State and Northern Colorado are also involved.

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