The CU volleyball team took on No. 6 UCLA in its second-to-last home match on Friday night, but the Buffs were dominated, losing in three: 25-15, 25-22, 25-12.
The first set started with the score bouncing back and forth, but UCLA gained a slight advantage and went up 3-2. Then the Bruins would go on a 4-0 run after some CU hitting errors and would force the Buffs to call their first timeout. The Buffs would score the first point after the timeout, but UCLA responded to make the score 8-3. Sophomore outside hitter Neira Ortiz Ruiz momentarily stopped UCLA’s run by blocking a ball, but the Bruins took another run and went up 20-11. CU called its second timeout of the set, and UCLA eventually won it 25-15.
Colorado took a small 3-2 lead to start the second set, but UCLA fought back, and a Bruins ace gave them a 6-4 lead. The score stayed close throughout the set as it tied again at 12-12, and then the Buffs took the lead again to go up 17-15. UCLA then went on a run, gaining a lead of its own that grew to 21-17. The Buffs hadn’t given up the set yet though, as they fought back and won five of the next six points to tie the score at 22-22. The Bruins would take the next three points and the set, however, to win it 25-22.
The third set started well for UCLA with a 6-1 run. Sophomore middle hitter Kelsey English then killed the ball for a side-out and a point for the Buffs. The Bruins would take another run and increase their lead to 10-4 after a net violation by the Buffs. A kill by UCLA gave the Bruins a larger lead of 13-6 and forced CU to call a timeout. The Buffs would fight back, but it was not enough as the Bruins won the match 25-12.
This loss gives the Buffs a record of 14-13 overall, 4-11 in the Pac-12 Conference. UCLA’s record improved to 19-5, 11-4 in conference play.
Colorado head coach Liz Kritza said a lack of efficiency on the offense was one of the Buffs’ biggest weaknesses against UCLA.
“When you can’t keep pace in the side-out game, or in transition, then it is very hard to play against a team of this caliber,” Kritza said. “For us, we are outsized. It is no secret. You can see that in the warm-up. So, for us, we have to run an offense that is much more efficient.”
Ortiz Ruiz said the offense wasn’t as focused as it should have been.
“It’s our job to stay there mentally and side-out the first ball,” Ruiz said. “We need to keep working on that because we need to get that first ball.”
Ruiz also said she thought her team missed some scoring chances and did not convert on some opportunities.
“I think we put ourselves down more than they did,” Ruiz said. “We missed a lot of opportunites. We are not scared of them. We were never scared of them. If we lost points, it was because we put ourselves down.”
The Buffs will play their last home match on Saturday, Nov. 10 against the University of Southern California.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Jillian Arja at Jillian.Arja@colorado.edu.