After establishing a once-secure record, Colorado volleyball has endured a bit of a losing streak. This past weekend, the Colorado Buffaloes fell to the #20 Oregon Ducks and experienced a surprising loss against the Oregon State Beavers. Colorado falls to 13-7 and 5-5 in Pac-12 play.
Buffaloes vs. Beavers
The first matchup of the road trip was against the Oregon State Beavers on Oct. 21. Before the matchup, the Beavers stood at 6-12 overall and 3-4 in home games. Hopes were high as the Buffaloes entered this matchup with a 13-5 record in the Pac-12. Unfortunately, the Buffaloes lost 3-1 against the Beavers, who ended their three-game losing streak. Head coach Jesse Mahoney commented on the Buffaloes’ circumstances and standings.
“Everyone in the Pac-12 is good, regardless of their record and we’ve got to understand that,” said Mahoney. “When we’re in at anybody’s house, we have to come ready to play whether they’re at the top of the standings or the bottom of the standings. For where we are and what we want to accomplish this season, this just means we’ve got to steal one. We’ve got to win one at the top half if you lose one in the bottom.”
During the first set, the Beavers established dominance by gaining the first scoring run of the match, putting up a six-point lead against the Buffaloes, 8-2. The Buffs tried to catch up throughout the game but never managed to match or put up a lead against the Beavers. Late in the set, outside hitter Maya Tabron had a four-point service run, but Colorado’s momentum quickly halted when Oregon State’s middle blocker Kinley Swan smashed a kill. The Beavers had a consistent six-point lead against the Buffaloes at all times, which was extremely costly. The Buffs could not show up offensively, which led to the Beavers winning the first set 25-19.
The beginning of set two was rapid, with both teams trading points. Each team exchanged points consistently until the Buffs found their groove. Less than 16 serves in, and Colorado had a five-point lead at 10-5. The Buffs exhibited numerous scoring runs, showing off their offensive abilities. CU controlled set two, winning with an eight-point lead over the Beavers 25-17. Tabron had six kills throughout the second set, leading Colorado in kills at the end of the match with 12.
With the set score even at 1-1, the Buffaloes entered set three confidently, grabbing an early 3-2 lead. Oregon State went on a four-point scoring run furthering their lead against Colorado. At this point, scoring runs became few and far between, but Colorado never caught up. Oregon State managed to maintain a three-point lead at all times. The set remained in the hands of the Beavers with an end score of 25-19.
Set four came down to the wire. Oregon State gained a one-point lead less than four serves into the set. It remained a close match until Oregon State etched out a three-point lead. Oregon State and Colorado remained neck-in-neck, reaching a 20-20 point match. The Beavers ended the set with a five-point scoring run winning 25-20.
“We came back and played well in the second set and then I felt like okay, we’re going to settle in and that didn’t really happen,” said Mahoney. “We gave them some free points, certainly from the service line, in set four to make them comfortable every time we had a mini-run, we let them off on our own.”
Buffaloes vs. Ducks
The Oregon Ducks were undefeated at home with a 6-0 record before the Oct. 23 matchup. Going into this matchup, the Buffaloes had already lost one conference matchup while the Oregon Ducks had won their last two. The Ducks put up another conference win, putting them on a three-game winning streak during a three-set sweep of the Buffaloes. Overall, the Ducks were a tough competitor, undefeated at home, and had only lost three total sets.
The Buffs started strong with a four-point scoring run putting up a three-point lead against the Ducks. The Oregon Ducks played catch-up for six serves before the Buffaloes put up another four-point scoring run. Outside hitter Lexi Hadrych had seven kills leading the Buffs offensively this set. Multiple times the Ducks tied the set but were quickly shut down by a scoring run by the Buffaloes. Colorado’s lead quickly diminished when Oregon put up five points and tied the set. Slowly the Ducks gained the lead at 20-18. The Buffaloes tried to fight, but the Ducks shut down any potential scoring runs, winning the set 25-23.
Oregon prevailed early in set two with a three-point run to make it 3-0. Oregon had four three-point scoring runs, never allowing the Buffaloes to get within seven points of them. Colorado tried to regain dominance by putting up a four-point scoring run, but Oregon retaliated with three consecutive points. The Ducks closed the set with a four-point scoring run, winning 25-17.
The pressure was on the Buffaloes as they had not won a single set. The Ducks did not allow Colorado to reach the 20-point mark until they had a comfortable four-point lead. At set point, the score was 24-20 in favor of the Ducks before the Buffs attempted a comeback. Colorado put up two points, but Oregon came out on top, scoring the final point and winning 25-22. Hadrych and Tabron combined for nine kills, but it was not enough for the Buffaloes to come out on top.
“Oregon put a lot of pressure on us – they were in-system all match – but I thought we slowed them down enough to give ourselves a chance,” said Mahoney. “However, we were uncharacteristically high error from an attack standpoint.”
The Colorado Buffaloes will try to bounce back from back-to-back defeats when they take on UCLA on Friday, Oct. 28, at 6 p.m. at the CU Events Center.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Malaina Humphreys at email@example.com.