After a rocky start and five hard-fought sets, the Colorado Buffalo volleyball team pulled out a victory over conference foes, the Arizona State University Sun Devils, on Friday at the Coors Events Center in Boulder.
The first two sets of the night saw the Buffs go down 25-17. Team play was scattered and the Sun Devils looked to be in complete control of the net.
As the Buffs went into the halftime break, head coach Liz Kritza knew she had to light a fire under her team if they were going to get it together.
“Our team was so frustrated because we knew we were missing tons of opportunities,” Kritza said. “I just reminded them that the changes they need to make were very small. They just needed to stop giving points away.”
The volleyball team celebrates after winning the final point and match against ASU Friday night. (CU Indpendent/Amy Leder)
And that’s exactly what the ladies did. In the final three sets the Buffs only committed nine errors on 66 swings.
“We were struggling the first and second set.” said middle blocker Nikki Lindow. “We were making shots, but we were missing our points and kept erroring. It was frustrating because we all felt good but kept erroring.”
Coming out of the half, the Buffs won the third set in a dramatic fashion, going down 1-7 in the first few possessions, before turning on a 10-1 scoring run and never looking back. The Buffs won the set 25-18.
“We’d never had that many student fans at a game, and letting them know that we’re good and we can beat teams, and letting them know we’re here,” said Emily Alexis, sophomore outside hitter.
With the third set victory the attitude in the arena took a shift. More and more fans were filing in due to the Buff Madness that was to take place afterward, giving the Coors Events Center enough buzz for a comeback.
“We fed off of them,” Lindow said. ”We need to thank our fans because it helps a lot.”
The fourth set was a decisive blow to the Sun Devils’ morale.The Buffs grabbed an early lead, and just when ASU was beginning to gain momentum, a dead ball shattered their resolve. That, along with a few key blocks coming from Lindow and Ana Pantovic, gave the Buffs the edge as they won 25-21.
With nearly 2,000 fans in the stands, the Buffs took to the court set on making it quick.
The Sun Devils wasted no time in racking up five errors to the Buffaloes one, as CU tallied nine kills on 20 total attempts, winning the set in an easy 15-9.
“We needed to win,” Alexis said. ”It was a great confidence boost.”
As a team the Buffs had 59 kills and 28 errors on 163 total attempts. Lindow had a big defensive game racking up a total of 10 blocks and nine kills. Alexis Austin also had a big game, putting 16 kills into the floor on 51 swings.
With this win the Buffs move to 3-4 in conference play.
Buffalo volleyball will be in action again at home this Sunday against the University of Arizona Wildcats at 5 p.m.
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Ryan Sterner at Ryan.email@example.com.
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