Colorado Loses Close Match to No. 8 Stanford

BOULDER — Colorado women’s volleyball suffered a competitive four-set match loss (25-13, 20-25, 25-20, 25-23) to No. 8-ranked Stanford here Friday night, its first loss at home this season.

The Buffaloes (11-4, 3-2 Pac12) lost their second conference matchup of the season despite committing six fewer turnovers than the Cardinal (9-4, 4-1 Pac12).

Lexi Hadrych led CU with 15 total kills, six of which came in the second set, and four blocks. Maya Tabron and Alexia Kuehl each had eight kills in the match and Kuehl matched Hadrych’s four blocks. Kuehl also had a solid hitting percentage of .412 which ranked first among players with more than one kill.

Taylor Simpson had 22 assists which helped Colorado to have nine players record a kill on offense. She also had 11 digs to record a double-double and Brynna DeLuzio led the team in digs with 13.

For Stanford, Kendall Kipp had 22 kills while hitting .395. She also had three blocks and four service aces in the win. Kami Miner averaged 13 assists per set.

The biggest advantage for the Cardinal came in the assist column, recording 66 compared to Colorado’s 39 which helped Stanford to outhit CU .277 to .200.

The Buffaloes will continue their weekend at home when they take on Cal on Sunday at noon for their Pride match.

HOW IT HAPPENED

SET ONE: Colorado took a two-point lead at 6-4 early in the set. Stanford thought it tied things up at seven all before a CU game challenge reversed the call and gave the Buffs an 8-6 lead. Tabron got a kill to go up three before the Cardinal went on a 6-0 scoring run to take a 12-9 lead and force a Colorado timeout. After the break, the scoring run continued to 13 before CU took its second and final timeout of the set. Levaggi ended the Stanford 14-point scoring run with her first kill of the night. Rubin racked up her seventh kill to give the Cardinal set point. Francis got her sixth kill to win the set 25-13. Stanford outhit the Buffs .333 to .055 in the set.

SET TWO: After the Cardinal went on a three-point scoring run, Colorado scored back-to-back points to tie everything at seven all. CU scored four unanswered points to go up 12-10. Hadrych picked up her fifth kill of the set which forced a Stanford timeout as the Buffs led 15-13. Colorado extended its lead to four at 20-16, leading to another timeout from the Cardinal. A Stanford hitting error set up CU set point before Tabron’s fourth kill of the match gave the Buffs the set 25-20.

SET THREE: Both teams battled back-and-forth to start the set before Stanford went on a 4-0 scoring run to take an 8-6 lead. After trailing by three, Colorado came within one at 12-11 following a combined block between Hart and Hadrych. The one-point CU deficit continued to 14-13 as Hadrych reached double-digit kills. A Stanford attack error tied things up at 14 all. The Buffs called their first timeout of the set while trailing 20-17 following Rubin’s 11th kill. Shortly after, the Cardinal reached set point before Colorado called its final timeout of the set. Stanford took the set 25-20, finishing on a three-point scoring run after Francis’ eighth kill while hitting .400.

SET FOUR: Colorado and Stanford jumped out to a 5-5 tie before the Buffs went on a three-point scoring run to take an 8-5 advantage. Later on, CU put together another three-point scoring run to go up 12-8. After leading 15-10, Colorado suffered four unanswered points before taking its first timeout. Hadrych picked up her 15th kill to tie everything up at 18 all. A CU game challenge reversed the call and tied it again at 19-19. The Buffs called their second timeout after trailing 22-19. Out of the break, Colorado responded with a three-point scoring run of its own and forced a Stanford timeout at 22 all. Simpson’s third straight service ace gave CU a 23-22 lead. The Cardinal fought back and reached set point following Baird’s 10th kill. A Stanford service ace won the set 25-23 as the Cardinal took the match.

Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
On The Match
“Well, I mean obviously Stanford’s a very good team, one of the best in the country. Outside of that first set, where we got stuck in rotation one for 10 or 11 points, I really felt like we played well and we went to to toe and the match could have gone either way. I thought, at the end of the fourth set, Taylor served us better back into contention and we had a couple of opportunities there to close it out and get it into the fifth, but that didn’t happen. That being said, a lot of really good stuff. I thought we served in the past particularly well. When one of our main scorers struggles someone else has to step up, we’re still looking for that spark a little bit . But for the most part, happy with our efforts and happy with how we played. If we continue to play like that, I feel like we’re getting better as the season has gone on. And if we continue to turn the right way , we’re going to be in a really good place come the second half of the pack. So, we got to put this behind us and go a nd prepare for Cal.”

On Stopping Runs
“There’s a lot of great players on both sides. And sometimes things have to do with matchups. Sometimes it has to do with momentum. Usually, it has to do with a really good server on the service line. I think you’re going to see all those things. We got caught in set one in a bad matchup blocking-wise and one of our rotations. Frankly, we got a little unlucky. We took some really good swings. There was a call that I thought wasn’t the best call I’ve seen and if we get out of one of those then it kind of feels like a normal set. So, it’s hard to say, when you’re playing a high-level sport, and someone can get on a roll, it can happen.”

On If There Is Something Missing On The Team
“Everyone’s got to do their job and everyone’s got to continue to get a little bit better at their job. I don’t think there is a magic pill or a switch. We’re going to turn like, we know the things that we work on. As I said, if we played ourselves today versus August 26, this team would crush that team. So, we have to just continue to get a little bit better every day. We need to find one more point scorer on this team . Meagan Hart is not always going to hit 500 for us and someone else’s got to step up a little bit. Everyone’s loaded up on Meegan. So, she’s in a little bit of a slump, but we got to spread things out and get her back, get some better open looks.”

On How They Are Doing Better
“We have a lot of veterans on this team. And kind of everyone knows what to do as we as we get into the kind of more the thick of the season. We’re refining what we’re doing from a system standpoint.. I think both of our left-side hitters have grown as left-side hitters and are better out of the system than they were early in the season. Sterling is getting a little bit healthier. And when she comes in the match she has the opportunity to impact us a little bit. And I think Taylor is getting better kind of each week out there and getting more comfortable with what she’s doing. Like a week ago, we lose a match because we have 15 service errors. Then we’ve had a couple of matches where we’re down at 4% service error. We can recognize what we need to get better at. And we’ve done that.”

QUOTES
Head Coach Jesse Mahoney
On The Match
“Well, I mean obviously Stanford’s a very good team, one of the best in the country. Outside of that first set, where we got stuck in rotation one for 10 or 11 points, I really felt like we played well and we went to to toe and the match could have gone either way. I thought, at the end of the fourth set, Taylor served us better back into contention and we had a couple of opportunities there to close it out and get it into the fifth, but that didn’t happen. That being said, a lot of really good stuff. I thought we served in the past particularly well. When one of our main scorers struggles someone else has to step up, we’re still looking for that spark a little bit . But for the most part, happy with our efforts and happy with how we played. If we continue to play like that, I feel like we’re getting better as the season has gone on. And if we continue to turn the right way , we’re going to be in a really good place come the second half of the pack. So, we got to put this behind us and go a nd prepare for Cal.”

On Stopping Runs
“There’s a lot of great players on both sides. And sometimes things have to do with matchups. Sometimes it has to do with momentum. Usually, it has to do with a really good server on the service line. I think you’re going to see all those things. We got caught in set one in a bad matchup blocking-wise and one of our rotations. Frankly, we got a little unlucky. We took some really good swings. There was a call that I thought wasn’t the best call I’ve seen and if we get out of one of those then it kind of feels like a normal set. So, it’s hard to say, when you’re playing a high-level sport, and someone can get on a roll, it can happen.”

On If There Is Something Missing On The Team
“Everyone’s got to do their job and everyone’s got to continue to get a little bit better at their job. I don’t think there is a magic pill or a switch. We’re going to turn like, we know the things that we work on. As I said, if we played ourselves today versus August 26, this team would crush that team. So, we have to just continue to get a little bit better every day. We need to find one more point scorer on this team . Meagan Hart is not always going to hit 500 for us and someone else’s got to step up a little bit. Everyone’s loaded up on Meegan. So, she’s in a little bit of a slump, but we got to spread things out and get her back, get some better open looks.”

On How They Are Doing Better
“We have a lot of veterans on this team. And kind of everyone knows what to do as we as we get into the kind of more the thick of the season. We’re refining what we’re doing from a system standpoint.. I think both of our left-side hitters have grown as left-side hitters and are better out of the system than they were early in the season. Sterling is getting a little bit healthier. And when she comes in the match she has the opportunity to impact us a little bit. And I think Taylor is getting better kind of each week out there and getting more comfortable with what she’s doing. Like a week ago, we lose a match because we have 15 service errors. Then we’ve had a couple of matches where we’re down at 4% service error. We can recognize what we need to get better at. And we’ve done that.”

Graduate Student Lexi Hadrych
On The Toughness Of Stanford’s Offense
“They’re definitely fast hitters. You got to get there really fast, and if you don’t, your fingers are just going to get caught. But I think as long as you get up there soon, you can get a good touch block on them. We did have a few good blocks tonight and a few really good touch blocks to slow down the ball.”

Sophomores Taylor Simpson
On The Consistency Of The Offense
“They obviously were very physical team. It’s a big block on everyone. I think spreading it out makes it just a teensy bit harder for them to kind of guess where I’m going to go. That’s really helpful. Also, having people that I can trust to put the ball down even if there is a big block.”

On Three Straight Aces
“I’m just thinking I want to win, and if that’s the way we’re going to win, then that’s what I need to do. It’s unfortunate that we did it but I think overall that was just a tiny part of getting us back into the game.”

On Losing At Home
“It sucks to lose. It sucks to lose that home. But I don’t really view this match as a tough loss. Stanford’s a very good team and I think we played really well against them besides the first set. I think we did a lot of good things, and I really think it could have been anyone’s game. At the end of the day, we lost that fourth set by two points. It sucks, but I think it’s a little bit of confidence for us that we can stay neck and neck with a top 10 team.”