The band played merrily, the crowd cheered vivaciously, and the Colorado Buffaloes volleyball team lost for the 15th time in Big 12 Conference play. But losses can be deceiving.
It was a loud Saturday night at the Coors Events Center as the Buffs (7-19, 2-15 Big 12) lost their second consecutive Big 12 match, falling to the Missouri Tigers (17-11, 8-8 Big 12) in four close sets, 29-27, 25-23, 19-25, 25-19.
Colorado was relentless in their defensive technique during the first set, countering Missouri enough times to assure a high score line. Despite losing the set, the Buffs would lead in kills, 19 to 18.
Sophomore outside hitter Becah Fogle said the Buffs played very well defensively.
“We’ve been working on defense all week in practice, it’s kind of a mentality, more of an effort thing,” Fogle said. “It’s keeping the ball off the floor, you just have to know in your head that there’s nothing that’s going to let the ball drop.”
The second set wouldn’t be as close, but it was proof that the Buffs were improving. They allowed 12 Missouri kills while notching 18 kills themselves. However, Missouri took advantage of the Buffs’ mistakes to earn the second set victory.
The Buffs led in kills in every set except for the final one, and kept the Tigers to 10 kills in the third set.
“Previously, we’ve had those moments of great play, but we put it together in a longer streams of points,” Fogle said. “So I think we did a good job of keeping up our intensity.”
The third set was a constant stalemate, with both squads sharing the same score line at multiple occasions before the Buffs took off under the attack of freshman outside hitter Kerra Schroeder, registering four kills in the 25-19 set win.
Schroder, who had a career high 16 kills, led the Buffs in attacks during the game with 49.
Pushing the game into a fourth set, the Buffs had a much more difficult time gaining an upper hand over the Tigers, and fell to the Mizzou attacking onslaught.
The Buffs rampant defense kept the crowd energized, which Schroeder said can be beneficial.
“I think it always helps to have a big supporting group,” Schroeder said.
CU head coach Liz Kritza said Saturday’s performance was defensive minded, but improvement is still necessary.
“There was clearly a focus on keeping the ball off the floor, if you look at the points scored by both teams — tells us it came down to errors,” Kritza said. “So having more service errors and attacking errors means that our offense was still not balanced enough.”
The Buffs will have a week of rest before they travel to Manhattan, Kan. to face the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Esteban L. Hernandez at Esteban.firstname.lastname@example.org.