Buffs beat Beavers to tie for seventh in Pac-12

The University of Colorado volleyball team fought hard against the Oregon State Beavers and won in four sets (25-20, 15-25, 26-24, 25-22) on Sunday in Boulder.

This win gives the Buffs a 14-10 overall record and a 4-8 Pac-12 record. They now are tied for seventh in the Pac-12.

Head coach Liz Kritza said that this win was very important to her team as it helped separate them in the Pac-12 Conference.

Alexis Austin hits the ball toward Arizona defenders in a Pac-12 game at the Coors Events Center. The Buffs won in four sets on Sunday. (Kai Casey/CU Independent File)

“This is crucial because we are at the stage in the Pac-12 season where teams are starting to shake out as far as from 5-12 in positions,” Kritza said. “For us to be able to separate ourselves is probably the most important thing we have done so far this season.”

Oregon State is now 13-11 and 3-9 in the Pac-12.

CU freshman Chelsey Keoho said the win today occurred because they all worked together and wanted to reach a common goal.

“I think it was just coming together as a team and working for our goal to be in that top five and set ourselves apart from the rest of the Pac-12,” Keoho said.

The Buffs were down in the fourth set, and even had a set point they had to fight off as a team. Freshman outside hitter Alexis Austin said she did not want to go to a fifth set so she tried to minimize her errors and do her job.

“Honestly, I didn’t want to go to a fifth set,” Austin said. “I was trying to stay focused on my serves and just listening to the coaches on where they wanted me to go. And hopefully, the rest of the players would come together at the same time as I was and sure enough we came back and won.”

Austin said it was a great feeling of accomplishment to beat Oregon State today after losing to the team in Oregon in September.

“Even when we were (at Oregon State) we should have beat them,” Austin said. “Since we have progressed, it’s amazing to come back and fight and win.”

The Buffs recorded 51 kills and hit .215 in the match. Austin had a career best 18 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Neira Ortiz Ruiz had 13 kills, only one below her career high, and also hit .303. Sophomore middle hitter Kelsey English had seven kills and Nicole Edelman, Nikki Lindow and Ana Pantovic each recorded four.

Austin said she set a goal for herself to reach by the end of the match and was very pleased when she accomplished it.

“I actually set the goal at the end of the second game when we came back after the break,” Austin said. “I was like, I am at seven kills, now I want to get 14 if we go to four but 18 is my goal, and that’s what I got so I’m excited about that.”

Austin was a big contributor to the Buffs win.

In the first set, the Buffs had a good start, leading 6-3. But after a couple errors by the Buffs and some big kills by OSU, the score tightened as CU only led by one (10-9). With a hitting error by Austin, the score was even and CU called its first timeout. Coming out of the timeout, sophomore middle hitter Kelsey English got a big kill. This would start a Buffalo run from which the Beavers could not recover. CU would win the first set 25-20.

The Beavers started the second set quick with a 5-0 lead, causing CU to call a timeout. The Beavers continued to increase their lead, as the score went up 9-4. The Buffs fought back, however, and tightened the score (11-13) with a big kill by Pantovic. This was not enough as the Beavers won the set 25-15.

The third set started close with the Buffs gaining a small edge (4-3). Then, the Buffs went on a run and increased the gap to 8-4. After a big point, junior middle blocker Nikki Lindow came down hard and had trouble getting up. This was a scare for the Buffs as she stretched it out on the bench. She would return to the game after a few points, but still seemed to be in a little pain. She played an important role for the Buffs and they increased their score to 18-15 after a hit over the blockers. The Beavers would fight back and go up 24-23, causing the Buffs to call a timeout. With a hitting error by the Beavers, the score was tied (24-24). The Buffs would win the next two points and the set 26-24.

The Beavers began the third set with a 6-2 lead, causing the Buffs to call a timeout. The Buffs would have to fight back and eventually tightened the score at 11-14, and OSU called a timeout. The Buffs were down 21-22, but a kill by Ruiz evened the score at 22. CU fought and won the next three points and the set 25-22.

The Buffs’ next games are set for Wednesday, Oct. 31, in Pullman, Washington against Washington State University, and Friday, Nov. 2 when they face the University of Washington.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Jillian Arja at Jillian.Arja@colorado.edu.

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