When walking into the Coors Events Center, it’s easy to think it’s Lincoln, Neb.
In front of a crowd that was predominantly red and white instead of its typical gold and black colors Saturday night, the Colorado Buffaloes volleyball team fell to the No. 8 Nebraska Cornhuskers in straight sets, 25-15, 25-22, 25-13.
The atmosphere felt more like an away game for the Buffs, who fell to 5-6 overall on the season and 0-2 in the Big 12 Conference. Nebraska improved its record to 9-2 overall and 2-0 in conference play.
The Huskers came out of the gate strong, building an early lead with a strong offensive attack led by junior Lindsey Licht, a 6-5 right side hitter with a rocket spike. She had seven kills in the first set.
“We were outmatched size-wise and physically,” said head coach Liz Kritza, who felt the team wasn’t quite able to pick up their defense to keep things close.
The second set was a polar opposite for CU as the Buffs jumped out to an early seven point lead (17-10). But the Huskers went on an 8-1 run to knot things up. They then took the lead on the following point when junior libero Kayla Banworth made a nice diving save into the stands to keep the ball alive. Nebraska carried the momentum the rest of the set to pull it out
“We’re still trying to figure out how we let [the second set] slip away. We just have to keep our game pace up, execute, and capitalize when we have the lead like that,” said sophomore Rosie Steinhaus, who continued her stellar play from her past two matches with five kills and four blocks.
Kritza added, “We have to sustain our level of play. We should’ve been able to play point-for-point with them [in the second set] through to the end of the set. We’re just looking for a little more consistency.”
After the intermission, the Buffs looked deflated and were blown out in the third set, maybe with the heartbreaking second set perhaps still in the back of their heads. Nebraska dominated from start to finish and put the exclamation point on what was a definite top 10 performance.
The match was not without positives for CU, and Kritza was quick to point out what she liked about her team’s performance.
“We were able to gain a lead on a top quality team,” Kritza said. “Anytime we lose, we have an agreement. If you take a loss like we took tonight, you have to make sure it’s worth something. And that’s what we’re going to do.”
When asked if the large Nebraska contingent played a role in the match, the players themselves were quick to dispel such a notion.
“You just have to block it out, ignore the red,” Steinhaus said.
Sophomore outside hitter Becah Fogle led the team with six kills and added, “I like it, I just like having people in the stands [who are cheering].”
Unfortunately, the road doesn’t get any easier for the Buffs. They host the second-ranked and undefeated Texas Longhorns on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer David Starcer at David.firstname.lastname@example.org.