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The CU volleyball team fell to the University of Arizona Wildcats on Sunday night at the Coors Events Center, losing three out of four sets.
With the loss, the Buffs drop to 13-7 overall and 3-5 in the Pac-12. Arizona improves to 11-8, 3-5 in the Pac-12.
At the start of the first set, it appeared the Buffs had things under control. Costly mistakes, however, allowed the Wildcats to close the gap and eventually win the set. Arizona rode that momentum in the second set, controlling it all the way through before winning 25-16.
The Buffs fought hard in the third set. They trailed in the early minutes before finally taking a 21-18 lead towards the end of the set. The Wildcats fought back though, jumping ahead 24-22. Showing a bit of resilience, Colorado managed to fend off two set points before finally winning the set 27-25 and taking Arizona into a fourth set.
In the fourth set, the teams were neck-in-neck until a 6-0 run put the Wildcats up 16-10. The Buffs were only able to score six more points in the set, ultimately dropping the set 25-16 to lose the match.
CU head coach Liz Kritza said her team’s youth is proving to be a disadvantage in the competitive Pac-12 Conference.
“It really is about our team and playing at our level and not giving up so many unforced errors,” Kritza said. “I can attribute it to relative youth. I have a ton of players on the floor that haven’t played a ton, but I’m not letting them use it as an excuse.”
Freshman Alexis Austin led the Buffs in kills with 11. Two other players, sophomores Kelsey English and Neira Ortiz Ruiz, added 10 each. Junior Nikki Lindow contributed 8 of her own.
Colorado was out-blocked by the Wildcats 2 to 9.5 and had only 36 digs compared to Arizona’s 51.
“I’m very disappointed in the way that we played,” CU team captain Nicole Edelman said. “We need to push super hard in practice this week to get ready for what’s coming this weekend.”
One positive to take away from this weekend is the support the team has seen from the community in the form of increased attendance during these past two games.
“Our players feel a connection to the community,” Kritza said. “It’s a great thing when our players are feeling connected to the fans. They want to play hard for those fans. So I think that’s a positive for this weekend, but we need to do our part, and we need to not just put on a show, but we need to come out with victories.”
Colorado will be heading out west to face both the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles next weekend. They take the floor against UCLA on Friday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. and take on USC Sunday, Oct. 21 at 11 a.m.
Contact CU Independent Sports Writer Shay Knolle at Shay.firstname.lastname@example.org.