Junior Richi Bigelow (8) tries to block a spkike from Duke's Christiana Gray (11) during the CU versus Duke match at Coor's Events Center on Saturday. The Buffs lost, 2-3. (CU Independent/Stephanie Davis)
The CU women volleyball team’s loss to Duke was a tale of two teams.
First, there was the CU team that shined in the second and third sets. Then, there was the CU team that was simply out-played by a taller and faster Duke.
The Buffaloes fell in five sets 25-18, 26-28, 18-25, 25-16 and 15-10.
The first set was not the Buffs’ finest. Colorado kept Duke’s lead between four and seven points and made the score 21-16 late in the set.
But that is as close as they came. Despite solid blocking by the Buffaloes, Duke’s physicality and play towards the outside lines was too much for CU to handle, and the Buffs fell 25-18.
In the second set, an ace by sophomore outside hitter Kerra Schroeder tied the game at 21. Then, at set point, Duke gave the set to the Buffs, 28-26, after hitting the ball out of play.
The third set belonged to the Buffs from the beginning. Duke would only trail 15-13 in the middle of the set, but thanks to the strong CU offense, that is as close as they would get.
A block by junior outside hitter Anicia Santos raised the Buffs’ lead to 20-13, and the Buffs closed out the set 25-18.
“We’re not a huge team,” Santos said. “We don’t have girls who are 6 feet 6 inches just crushing the ball in front of the ten foot line. Our strength is in our system and the fact that we work well together as a team.”
Unfortunately for the Buffs, the fourth set was the tale of another team.
Despite back-to-back kills by Schroeder, the Buffs could not make up for their lack of communication on the floor. Duke won the set 25-16.
The fifth set never was completely out-of-reach for the Buffs, but, just like that, the match was over with Duke winning the final set 15-10.
“I don’t think we gave up at all the whole time,” Schroeder said. “I mean, we fought throughout the match.”
Coach Kritza believes that her team’s fighting spirit will help them learn from their mistakes and become a better team for the remainder of the season.
“These were important lessons that we needed to learn,” Kritza said. “If you lose, you better have some purpose and some positive result for your program. And that’s what we’re intending to do.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Marlee Horn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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