The University of Colorado Boulder women’s volleyball team aims to finish strong and qualify for the NCAA tournament in December as the end of the regular season approaches. Last week, Colorado (17-9 overall and 9-7 in the Pac-12) lost against the Oregon Ducks (19-5 overall and 12-2 in the Pac-12) on Nov. 10 and then bounced back against the Oregon State Beavers (7-19 overall and 2-14 in the Pac-12) on Nov. 12 in a week of mixed results for the Buffs.
Given Colorado’s previous defeats away against both Oregon teams in late October, this double rematch at the CU Events Center provided an opportunity for the Buffs to redeem themselves.
For their first game, Colorado faced a disappointing loss against No.14 Oregon. After opening a two-set lead against the second-best record in the Pac-12 conference, the Buffs played well and seemed on track to win. Graduate outside hitter Lexi Hadrych, who led in kills with a career-high 22, gave an excellent performance, and CU had great blocking.
However, unfortunately, the following three sets ended in defeat. Oregon reverse swept Colorado and crushed them in the fourth set, with Colorado losing a 10-point lead. In the fifth set, Colorado clawed back a six-point deficit, only to fall behind again. Though Colorado had a good performance, the final results undermined this, according to head coach Jesse Mahoney.
“I was really proud of what we did tonight,” Mahoney said. “I know we didn’t win, but we played high-level volleyball. Unfortunately, some of that might disappear based on the result, but hopefully, we can hold onto [the good performances] a little bit as we go into the last five matches of the conference season.”
For their next game two days later, CU held on to that high level of play. Though the Buffaloes had previously lost against Oregon State on Oct. 21, this time Colorado came out strong and swept their opponents comfortably.
“I’m happy with the sweep,” Mahoney said. “I’m impressed with our team for bouncing back from what was a devastating loss for us on Thursday.”
From the start, Colorado seemed poised to win against Oregon State, showing much better defensive display and better individual performances. Several players stood out, including graduate middle blocker Meegan Hart, who hit a .571 percentage to go alongside six blocks, and senior libero Katie Lougeay.
Following this win, Colorado’s goal is to have a solid finish to the regular season and go for a spot in the NCAA tournament.
“This year, we’re in a different sport than some other years because we weren’t in contention for the NCAA tournament then,” Lougeay said. “But now we are, and our main focus is on winning the games we need to win to make it into the tournament.”
The Buffs will face their next challenges for three away games. CU’s first test will come against the Washington Huskies at 8 p.m. MST on Friday, Nov. 18, followed by away games at Washington State at 1 p.m. MST on Nov. 20 and Arizona at 1 p.m. MST on Nov. 23. Then, CU will return for the last home game of the regular season at 3 p.m. MST on Nov. 25 against Utah.