The University of Colorado Buffaloes volleyball team beat the University of Utah Utes in three sets to one on Thursday night at the CU Events Center. The team now has a 9-3 record and has won both of the Pac-12 games they’ve played.
Coming off a 3-2 set win against CSU on Sept. 15 and a 3-1 set win over the University of Denver on Sunday afternoon, Colorado volleyball looks to be in good form heading into the most important part of their season as conference play begins. After their win on Thursday, the Buffs are currently first in the Pac-12 conference, ahead of powerhouse teams this year like Arizona State University, Washington State University and Stanford University.
The Buffaloes found success early against the Utes, as their front line was able to kill and block a large majority of Utah’s plays. Colorado decisively won the first two sets 25-15 and 25-19, as their front row middle blocker Skyy Howard and outside hitters Lily Dwinell and Maya Tabron made it difficult for the Utes to get any momentum going. After going up two sets to none, the Buffs looked tough and confident. They made few mistakes and capitalized on the errors Utah made.
Coming out of the break in the beginning of the third set, the Utah Utes came back out on the court with something to prove. After CU started the third set, up 9-1, the Utes came back firing, forcing Colorado mistakes and miscommunications which led to a load of points being scored on them. Throughout the set Utah was able to hang around and keep themselves alive, and after seven tiebreaker points, the Utes won the third set 30-28.
After losing the third set in very close margins, Colorado’s confidence seemed to dwindle as they looked far different than the team that won the first two sets in dominating fashion. Utah came out of the gates for the fourth set strong once again, but seemed to run out of gas by the middle of the set. After being down 10-5, the Buffs won 13 of the last 16 points of the game, closing out the third set up 25-19, and winning the match three sets to one.
Maya Tabron was the star of the show for CU on Thursday night, as the senior finished with 14 kills, 34 attacks and a career high 19 digs, leading the Buffs in all three of the categories. Outside hitters Lexi Hadrych and Lily Dwinell combined for 18 kills and 43 attacks, and middle blocker Skyy Howard had seven kills and a team high six total blocks, as the front row of the Buffaloes seemed to command the game all night.
Colorado finished with 12 aces in the 3-1 win. The team also had 11 less errors than the Utes, and outscored them 103-83 over the course of the match. Though they looked strong against their Pac-12 rival, Utah is now only 5-6 and 0-1 Pac-12 for the season and sits at the bottom of the conference standings.
With the Pac-12 looking like one of the top volleyball conferences in the country, Colorado is sure to face stronger and stiffer competition as the season goes on. After winning their last three games, the CU volleyball team looks to play their toughest game yet as No. 4 Stanford comes to Boulder. The game will be at the CU Events Center on Sunday, Sept. 24 at 12pm MST.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Eli Gregorski at email@example.com