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The volleyball team had a double header weekend against Saint Mary’s College, playing them on Friday and Saturday nights at home.
The Buffs lost to the Saint Mary’s Gaels in four sets (25-17, 25-16, 22-25, 25-19) for their first game of the season on Friday, Aug. 30 at Coors Events Center.
Redshirt senior outside hitter Kerra Schroeder returned to the court after getting injured in the 2012 season. In the 2011 season, she led the Buffs with 3.95 kills per set.
The Buffs started with Schroeder, sophomore setter Nicole Edelman, senior middle blocker Nikki Lindow, junior middle blocker Kelsey English, freshman middle blocker Joslyn Hayes and defensive specialist Elysse Richardson.
The team started strong with a quick lead of 6-3 in the first set, but some mistakes allowed Saint Mary’s to even the score at 8-8. The score would go back and forth until the Gaels started to pull away near the end of the set because of some errors by the Buffs. Saint Mary’s had 17 kills in the first set, with Colorado only three behind with 14 kills. Colorado led in kills by Lindow and outside hitter Taylor Simpson, who each contributed four. Saint Mary’s won the first set 25-17.
“Taylor carried a big load for us tonight,” head coach Liz Kritza said. “I think she would like to have a much higher hitting percentage moving forward, and I am sure she will. I am pleased. She is a nice addition to the program.”
Hayes saw playing time in all four sets. She was the only freshman to play all four sets for Colorado. Freshman defensive specialist Cierra Simpson also saw playing time in the third and fourth sets.
Saint Mary’s took control fast in the second set. The Buffs were only ahead in the beginning (5-4). Throughout the rest of the set, the Gaels dominated play. They would take a lead on the Buffs quickly (14-9). They stayed in front of Colorado throughout the remaining set and would win the second set 25-16. Saint Mary’s had five aces in the second set, with three errors. Colorado had one ace and two errors.
Colorado stayed close with the Gaels throughout the third, only trailing by three throughout the set. By the end of the set, the Gaels were up 20-17, and after some great hustle by the Buffs, Colorado fought back to take the lead (23-20). They closed out the set 25-22 to take it to a fourth set. Colorado had more kills in this set, with 14 kills. Saint Mary’s only had 11 kills.
The Gaels got some early kills in the fourth set to give them a 13-9 lead in the fourth. Some big kills by senior Jordan Shaw gave Saint Mary’s an even larger lead (20-12). The Gaels would win the fourth 25-19.
The Gaels were led by Shaw and senior Kristina Graven in kills. Each one ended the match in double digits for kills.
“Today was a good test for us to see where we stand as a team,” Lindow said. “I think we really need to work with each other to come together and get the ball rolling. As a team, I think tomorrow is going to be a dramatic change. It is going to be really exciting to see that improvement tomorrow.”
Lindow was right, as the CU volleyball team was able to find a way to beat Saint Mary’s in four sets Saturday night (21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-22).
Sophomore outside hitter Alexis Austin led the team with 13 kills and junior outside hitter Simpson contributed 10 kills. The Buffs had four players with nine or more kills.
Lindow had nine blocks to help her team. Together, Colorado had 13.0 blocks.
The volleyball team leaves for New York to face Stony Brook, Oakland, Rutgers and Syracuse. They will not be home again until the end of September, when they will play UCLA on Sep. 27.
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Jillian Arja at Jillian.Arja@colorado.edu.