At the CU Events Center, the University of Colorado Boulder women’s volleyball team needed a win against UCLA after losing the last three games, including being upset by Oregon State. Colorado closed the match with three sets to one in a close matchup despite dropping a set.
The Buffs looked better early and opened a 5-0 lead but were pulled back to 5-5. Colorado looked the stronger of the two teams and started pulling ahead. Defensively junior outside hitter Maya Tabron, who led the team in kills with 14, made a couple of great digs, and another outside hitter, senior Jill Schneggenburger’s ace, made it 17-9. Reaching the end of the set, the Buffaloes held a 22-15 lead, and UCLA called for a timeout, from which they came out swinging, getting a 5-point scoring run and forcing CU into a timeout. The pressure from the last game created doubt, but the Buffaloes kept their cool and closed out the first set 25-23.
The first set was comfortable for CU, but the Buffs looked too comfortable in the second set. The Buffs looked like the better team on the court for most of the set, but never extended their lead. UCLA came into the game halfway through the set, taking the lead and, after a long rally extending it to 15-12. When the score reached 19-16 for the Bruins, Colorado called a timeout, but the Bruins’ lead was increased, and Colorado dropped the set 25-18 making it a tie on the night.
Colorado had an excellent blocking night, led by redshirt junior middle blocker Alexia Kuehl who registered six blocks and graduate middle blocker Meegan Hart who had an awe-inspiring second half of the game with five blocks to go alongside her .455 hit percentage.
“I’ve been here a while, and I feel like in those moments I felt the pressure, and I just know you don’t do anything crazy, just confidence and just managing the ball,” said Hart after another decisive night for the Buffs.
The third set was CU at its best. After a long rally, Kuehl made a huge block, met by a big reaction from the crowd of 1,084, initially deemed a point for the Bruins. A challenge overturned the decision and made it 18-12 for the Buffs. Hart closed the third set for the Buffaloes 25-15 with her eighth match kill. The reaction for Colorado after dropping a set was significant, and the difference of 10 points was the highest of the night.
“We’ve lost three matches in a row, and then we have a great week of practice,” explained head coach Jesse Mahoney. “No one feels sorry for themselves, and we have a really good game plan.”
In the last set of the match, the Bruins took the early lead. Down 6-1, Colorado called for a timeout and again looked nowhere near where they were just one set ago. The timeout had an effect, and the Buffaloes caught up quickly, making it 7-7. After a spell of both teams fighting hard for points, Colorado was behind again 14-10 and had to fight their way back. A huge solo block by graduate outside hitter Lexy Hadrych pulled it back to a deficit of one, and another block by Schneggenburger made it 16-16. Colorado called a timeout down 21-19 and finally took the lead with an ace from senior libero Katie Lougeay. After a couple of attempts, a Bruins’ attack error ended the game 26-24.
“Passing was great, and blocking was out of this world. I think it was a great night energy wise we managed to get that out of a quiet second set and finish it as loud as we could,” said Hadrych.
The Colorado women’s volleyball team closed out the weekend with another win against USC and now looks ahead to a challenging trip to California, where they will play the Cal Bears on Nov. 4 and No. 8 Stanford on Nov. 6.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Vittorio Bongioanni at Vittorio.Bongioanni@colorado.edu.