The Buffs look to build their momentum early
The Buffs are hittin’ the beach with hopes of success and sunny skies as
the CU women’s volleyball team competes in the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic Sept. 1-3.
The weekend invitational is an early test for the Buffs, looking to build their momentum for the season in a competitive atmosphere.
With a strong season opener Aug. 25 against the University of Denver Pioneers, the Buffs displayed pride on their home court against the in-state rivals with a three-game shutout. An impressive offensive front brought the Buffs from behind in all three games, taking full advantage of the power of outside hitters Amber Sutherland and Mallori Gibson. Gibson, a sophomore from Bakersfield, California, seemed unaffected by an injury suffered in 2005 and stepped up her play to a personal best with 14 kills.
The Buffs field a promising team this season, with three freshman and three transfers rounding out the lineup. Head Coach Pi’i Aiu is looking to “spread it around on the floor,” utilizing the strength of all the players and balancing the talent with a variety of play strategies and solid defense.
Setting up a strong offensive front is senior setter Ashley Nu’u, recently selected to the 2006 Preseason All-Big 12 Conference Volleyball Team and is ranked 17th in the NCAA. Moving into her final season, Nu’u is focused on running a “balanced, even offense,” and is looking towards the upcoming tournament as “a challenge and a great opportunity,” she said.
The Buffs finished fifth in the league last season and were ranked sixth in the 2006 preseason coaches’ poll.
The Buffs can use the upcoming tournaments to gain their competitive edge and possibly up their ranking. Coming into the weekend with a 1-0 record, the Buffs play three top-10 teams, a challenge that will hopefully prepare them for the Colorado Invitational on the weekend of Sept. 7. Tonight the Buffs start off against UCLA and face Hawaii on Saturday. The tournament concludes with a match against Florida on Sunday.
The Buffs will be back at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7, at Coors Event Center to play against Cincinnati to lead off the Colorado Invitational.
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