Hotly contested beginnings of sets weren’t enough for the CU volleyball team to get their first Big 12 win of the season as they fell against conference challenger Oklahoma.
This was the Buffaloes (5-8, 0-4 Big 12) fourth consecutive and overall loss in the Big 12 Conference. Colorado fell in three sets to the Sooners, 17-25, 16-25, and 14-25, on Saturday night at Coors Events Center.
CU volleyball head coach Liz Kritza said her team needs to go through these types of losses to quality teams so they can learn the game better.
However, Kritza gives all the credit to the Sooners (10-3, 3-1 Big 12) in the win.
“I take nothing away from [OU] at all,” Kritza said after the game.
Early blocking helped the Buffs keep the score close early in the first set. A kill by sophomore outside hitter Rosie Steinhaus raised the score to 17-11 after a series of errors by CU.
Steinhaus’ spiking ability helped the team get their next point after a CU timeout.
CU then began to fall behind, after a few unsuccessful attempts at running for the ball that included a collision by two Buffs.
Poor blocking and a point called out on the Sooners allowed Colorado to get the game close at 6-4.
Late in the first set, CU called another timeout and saved two Sooner set points, but it wasn’t enough to come back.
The opening of the second set consisted of two CU service errors.
The Buffs started to come back after OU hit the ball out four times, narrowing the Sooners lead to 7-6. However, Oklahoma quickly took this away, scoring 11 of the next 14 points.
A long rally that ended in an OU error and a kill by freshman outside hitter Kerra Schroeder allowed the team to start closing the gap.
Once again, CU took advantage of their two timeouts in this set, one of which was called at set point. However, it didn’t accomplish much as the Buffs lost the second set.
The third set began with the two teams in a seesaw-like state, with both squads tying five times early on.
Good blocking, kills and serves that just barely made it in the line helped Oklahoma gain a hefty lead throughout the set.
This type of play proved that volleyball is, as senior setter Kaitlyn Burkett described, a “game of momentum.”
The Buffs saved two set points in third, but a short serve was the nail in the coffin, making the third set the biggest loss of the match for CU.
Junior middle blocker Schylur Edelman returned to the court after a high ankle sprain kept her out for six weeks.
Burkett said the return of Edelman helped the team in the match.
“We did well with what we had,” Burkett said.
Kritza acknowledged the discontinuity of Edelman’s game, but attributed the loss to the inexperience of the team.
“We need experienced players who know the phases of the game,” Kritza said.
Junior outside hitter Sofia Lindroth agrees.
“This year’s such a new team,” Lindroth said.
Lindroth said she remains very positive for the rest of the season, and hopes her teammates do the same.
As for their next conference game Wednesday at Kansas, Kritza believes it’s never too late for a Big 12 win.
“We’ll continue until we get it,” Kritza said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Marlee Horn at Marlee.email@example.com.