The University of Colorado Boulder women’s volleyball team is looking to finish strong and qualify for the NCAA tournament in December as the end of the regular season nears. Last week, Colorado (17-9 overall and 9-7 in Pac-12) lost to the Oregon Ducks (19-5 overall and 12-2 in Pac-12) on November 10 and then rebounded to 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 losses to both Oregon teams in late October, this double rematch at the CU Events Center gave the Buffs a chance to redeem themselves.
For their first game, Colorado faced a disappointing loss to 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. Graduated outside hitter Lexi Hadrych, who was leading with a career-high 22 kills, put on an excellent performance and CU had great blocking. Unfortunately, the following three sets ended in defeat. Oregon swept Colorado backwards and crushed them in the fourth set, with Colorado losing a 10-point lead. In the fifth set, Colorado reclaimed a six-point deficit only to fall behind again. Although Colorado performed well, according to head coach Jesse Mahoney, the final results undermined it.
“I was really proud of what we did tonight,” Mahoney said. “I know we didn’t win, but we played volleyball at a high level. Unfortunately, some of that might go away based on the outcome, but hopefully we can stick with that [the good performances] a little as we go into the last five games of the conference season.”
For their next game two days later, CU maintained that high level of play. Although the Buffaloes previously lost to Oregon State on Oct. 21, this time Colorado came out strong and comfortably swept their opponents.
“I’m happy with the sweep,” Mahoney said. “I’m impressed by our team to bounce back from a devastating loss on Thursday.”
From the start, Colorado appeared poised to win against Oregon State, displaying much better defensive performance and individual performances. Several players stood out, including graduate middle blocker Meegan Hart, who hit a .571 percentage to go next to six blocks, and senior libero Katie Lougeay.
After this win, Colorado’s goal is to finish the regular season solidly and earn a spot in the NCAA tournament.
“This year we’re in a different sport than some other years because we weren’t fighting for the NCAA tournament back then,” Lougeay said. “But now we are and our main focus is to win the games we need to win to make it into the tournament.”
The Buffs face the next challenges in three away games. CU’s first Test will be on Friday, November 18 at 8:00 p.m. MST against the Washington Huskies, followed by away games in Washington State at 1:00 p.m. MST on November 20 and Arizona at 1:00 p.m. MST on November 23rd. Then CU will return for the final home game of the regular season at 3:00 p.m. MST on November 25 against Utah.