LARAMIE, Wyo. — In their first meeting since 1999, the University of Colorado volleyball team and Wyoming battled it out, but unfortunately for the Buffs, it was the Cowgirls who came away with a tough 3-2 (25-21, 26-24, 14-25, 13-25, 15-11) win on Tuesday night.
"Needless to say, we are very disappointed with the loss tonight, especially coming off a signature win in our last outing," coach Liz Kritza said. "I won't take anything away from Wyoming, they were tenacious and played their best volleyball tonight, but we have to be able to better control our side to avoid this type of inconsistency in play.”
Sophomore Alexis Austin led the Buffs with 17 kills and also hit .382 with just four errors on 34 attacks in the match. Taylor Simpson recorded 14 kills in the effort and Nikki Lindow added 11 kills. Kerra Schroeder earned a double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs.
CU hit .205 in the match with Nicole Edelman tying her career-high with 57 assists. She also added five kills of her own and had 13 digs and one block assist. The Buffs had 18 more kills than the Cowgirls (72-54), but UW had the advantage hitting .213. CU also had six service aces, three from Simpson, two from Kelsey English and one from Schroeder.
Defensively Edelman’s 13 digs led the Buffs and Cierra Simpson had 12 digs. As a team, the Buffs recorded 61 digs and 6.0 team blocks. English had a team-high five blocks (all assists) and Taylor Simpson added three blocks. UW had 63 digs and 9.0 team blocks.
"Unforced errors were our downfall tonight, and taking a loss is the tough way, but we can consider this a lesson learned by this group," Kritza said.
Wyoming was led by Kayla Henderson’s 13 kills and Kayla Slofkiss had 11 kills. Becky Steward picked up a match-high 23 digs and Erin Kirby posted seven blocks (one solo and six assists).
The Buffs are now 9-3 overall (1-1 Pac-12), while the Cowgirls improved to 8-8 overall (0-3 Mountain West).
"This group has shown that they have heart and will not be deterred from our overall team goals, so we will return to form for our next match," Kritza said.
CU used a 6-0 run to take a 12-6 lead in the first set but the Cowgirls came back to even the score at 15-15. The two teams battled, but UW went ahead 21-17 and despite the Buffs best efforts, they were unable to get back in the set and fell 25-21. CU hit .179 and the Cowgirls hit .371 in the frame.
The second set started very close before the Cowgirls took a four-point lead at 14-10 to force CU to spend a timeout. Out of the break, CU took the first four points, which included three kills from Neira Ortiz Ruiz, to even the score at 14-14. The teams exchanged the next six points before UW put together three straight to take a 20-17 lead. The Buffs rallied back and tied the score at 23-23, and then UW decided it was time to take its first timeout. The Cowgirls recorded a kill on the next point, but CU answered back with a kill from Taylor Simpson. Unfortunately Wyoming would take the set with the following two points (26-24).
The Buffs put together a 5-0 run early in the third set to take a 10-4 lead and extended it to 15-6, forcing the Cowgirls to use both of their timeouts early in the set. CU kept rolling and increased the lead to 11 points at 21-10 before finishing the set 25-14. The Buffs hit .429 with 19 kills and held UW to .185 with just 10 kills.
CU took a 12-8 lead in the fourth set, which made Wyoming take its first timeout of the set. The Cowgirls used their second timeout two points later after a block from Taylor Simpson and English and a kill from Simpson. UW took the next three points, but the Buffs answered back with a 5-1 run to take a 19-12 lead. The Cowgirls took the next point, but it would be their last of the set as CU closed out the frame with a 6-0 run (25-13). The Buffs hit .433 and kept the Cowgirls to .040.
UW took a 7-4 lead in set 5, causing the Buffs to take a timeout. The Cowgirls took the following point to take an 8-4 lead at the side change. After the switch, UW used a 5-2 run to go up 12-5, but the Buffs weren’t done fighting and took four of the next five points (13-9). The Cowgirls took the following point to get match point, but the Buffs fought off the first two match points before falling 15-11.
The Buffs return to the Coors Events Center this weekend for a pair of matches. They will host the top-ranked Washington Huskies (10-0, 2-0 Pac-12) at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4 and on Sunday, Oct. 6, the Buffs will host Washington State at 12 p.m. Both matches will be televised live regionally on the Pac-12 Network.
"We have a serious home stand this weekend with two strong Pac-12 foes coming in,” Kritza said. “We will pick ourselves up, get back to work in the gym, and be prepared for the challenge."