#16 Utah Tops #21 Colorado in Final Push for NCAA Tournament Seeding

  0 Bill Stadick | November 25th, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12


With seeding implications on the line for both schools, the #16 Utah Utes overcame a sluggish opening frame to defeat the #21 Colorado Buffaloes in four sets on Friday night. Utah ranked 13th in the latest RPI, while the Buffaloes entered the final week of the regular season in the 22nd slot.

“First of all, congratulations to Utah on a great season,” stated Colorado head coach Jesse Mahoney. “The Pac-12 can be brutal. They certainly had some big wins throughout the year and they’re going to have an opportunity to host in the first round of the NCAA tournament.”

Both teams will learn their 2017 NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday night at 7 p.m. MT when the NCAA Selection Show airs on ESPNU. Colorado last made the NCAA Tournament in 2014.

In Friday’s match, Utah senior outside Adora Anae, registered a double-double (19 kills, 11 digs), while junior outside Lauga Gauta recorded a career-best 14 kills. Sophomore Bailey Choy tallied 37 assists and senior middle Tawnee Luafalemana had a team-high five blocks.

Colorado received key contributions for junior outside Alexa Smith (20 kills, 10 digs), junior outside Frankie Shebby (17 kills), freshman setter Brynn DeLuzio (47 assists) and junior libero Gabby Carta-Samuels (15 digs).

“I don’t know if this loss helps or not,” said Mahoney. “I think that’s our tenth loss on the year, we know what losing feels like. We’re playing hard every time we go out there. As we enter the NCAA tournament we know that every team we play is a conference champion or a great team from a very good league. Every game we play is going to be a survive and advance situation.”


Courtesy: Utah Athletics

#15 Utah Picks Up Win Over Colorado in Regular-Season Finale

BOULDER, Colo. – After dropping the first set, the No. 15-ranked Utah Utes (22-9, 13-7 Pac-12) took the next three sets to down the Colorado Buffaloes (22-9, 12-8) in four sets (13-25, 25-19, 25-22, 26-24) in the regular season finale on Friday night at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colo.

Utah struggled to settle into the match during the first set and posted a .031 hitting percentage, while Colorado’s offense was clicking on all cylinders, recording a .407 clip in the opening frame. Tied 5-5, the Buffaloes scored seven straight points to take an early lead over the Utes. Colorado put together a 7-2 run later in the set to take a commanding 20-9 lead, and rolled to a 25-13 first-set win.

Trailing Colorado 6-3 in the second set, Utah went on a 7-1 run to take the lead 10-7. Colorado tied the set at 10-10, but the Utes scored five consecutive points to lead 15-10 midway through the second set. Colorado pulled within just two points late in the frame at 20-18, but Utah closed out the set on a 5-1 run to take the set 25-19 and even the match at 1-1.

Out of intermission, both teams traded points at the start of the third set, but Utah would find themselves behind 12-6 following a 6-1 run from Colorado. With the Buffalo lead at 17-14, a kill from Lauga Gauta began 6-1 run for Utah, which would force Colorado to take a timeout after the Utes taking the lead 20-18. Later leading 23-22, Torre Glasker recorded a service ace to give the Utes set point and forced Colorado to use its final timeout. Out of the timeout, Adora Anae notched the set-winning kill to give the Utes the third set 25-22.

After going back-and-forth during the fourth set, Colorado used a 5-0 run to push its lead to 16-11 midway through the frame. Utah chipped away at the lead but after two straight points from the Buffaloes, Utah was forced to call timeout with Colorado leading 23-20. A kill from Dani Barton and two straight kills from Gauta tied the set at 23-23, but Colorado would register a kill to earn set point. The Utes evened the set with a block from Tawnee Luafalemana and Dani Barton, and then would earn match point off a Colorado hitting error. Another block from Luafalemana, who teamed up this time with Kenzie Koerber, would lead the Utes to the fourth set win, 26-24.

Anae notched 19 kills and 11 digs on the night to record her 19th double-double of the season. Gauta registered a career-high 14 kills, while Koerber added in seven kills on a .438 hitting percentage. Koerber also notched seven digs and three blocks for Utah.

Bailey Choy tallied 37 assists in the four-set win and also recorded nine digs. Camryn Machado added in 14 assists for the Utes. Torre Glasker finished the night tying her season-high dig mark with 11 digs and Luafalemana led the team with five total blocks and also pitched in six kills on a .462 hitting clip.

Utah will now await word for an at-large bid for the 2017 NCAA Tournament, with selections set to be released this Sunday evening at 7 p.m. MST. The selection show will be aired live on ESPNU.

Courtesy: Colorado Athletics

Buffs Fall To Utah On Senior Night

BOULDER – With the possibility of hosting on the line, the University of Colorado volleyball team fell 3-1 (25-13, 19-25, 23-25, 24-26) to No. 16 Utah on Senior Day in the final regular season match of the season to finish the regular season at 22-9 overall and 12-8 in the Pac-12 Conference.

Utah finished the regular season at 22-9 and 13-7 in the Pac-12.  The Buffs will finish no worse than a tie for fifth in the Pac-12 standings, the 12-8 record the Buffs best in the six-year history of the league.  The Buffs will finish in sole possession of fifth if USC beats UCLA on Saturday.

WHAT HAPPENED: The Buffs jumped all over Utah in the first set and easily won it, 25-13.  Utah rebounded and won the second set by six points and then the third and fourth were both two-point affairs with Utah taking both with late-set rallies.
CU’s left side duo of Alexa Smith (20 kills, 10 digs) and Frankie Shebby (17 kills, 10 digs) recorded 37 of the Buffs 55 kills as the Buffs had issues getting the middles involved offensively.  They did have a solid defensive match with Naghede Abu coming up with five blocks and Anna Pfefferle four.  Brynna Deluzio had a solid match with 47 assists, seven digs and four blocks of her own and Joslyn Hayes hit .400 with seven kills and four blocks of her own on the right side.  Gabby Carta-Samuels led the Buffs digging effort with a match-high 15 on the night.

SET 1: CU came out on fire and went on a 7-0 run to open up a 12-5 lead, forcing a Utah when the score was 11-5.  After that timeout, the Buffs scored 11 of the next 16 points, as well, to push their lead to 22-10 before closing out the set, 25-13.  In the set, the Buffs hit .407 (13-2-27) to just .031 (8-7-32) for the Utes, and out-blocked Utah 5-0.  Alexa Smith led the Buffs with four kills with Frankie Shebby and Anna Pfefferle each getting three.  Naghede Abu had four blocks and Brynna DeLuzio had 11 assists and three blocks of her own.

SET 2: Colorado opened up a 6-3 lead early in Set 2 before Utah rattled off five straight to take an 8-6 lead.  With the match tied at 10-10 after three straight points for the Buffs, the Utes responded with a 5-0 run to take a 15-10 lead.  Utah held its big lead of the set at 19-13 before the Buffs rattled off five of the next six points to pull within two at 20-18, but the Utes won five of the set’s final six points to take the 25-19 win.  Utah rebounded to hit .220 (17-8-41) in the second set with four blocks while the Buffs hit .083 (10-7-36) and recorded two blocks.  Smith had six of the Buffs 10 kills in the second set to get into double figures with 10 kills through two sets.

SET 3: The Buffs led most of the third set, opening up as big as a six point lead at 12-6 after going on a 4-0 run.  The Buffs head onto that lead until late with Utah tying the set at 18-18, the first tie since 3-3 early in the set, and then took a 20-18 lead.  The Buffs tied the match at 22-22 on a Shebby kill and ace, and then Utah went up 24-22 and sided out to win, 25-23. Shebby recorded seven kills in the set to hit double figures and Smith added five more in the set as the left side duo combined for 12 of the Buffs 15 kills in the set.  Colorado hit .265 (15-6-34) with two aces and two blocks while Utah hit .333 (16-5-33) with two aces and one block.

SET 4: The fourth was tied five times in the first 11 points for either team as neither team had more than a two-point lead in the first part of the set.  Tied at 11-11, Colorado went on a 5-0 run to seemingly take control of the set at 16-11, but Utah slowly whittled away at the lead and came within one of the Buffs at 21-20.  CU then took a 23-20 lead but Utah rallied to win six of the last seven points of the set to take it, 26-24, and the match 3-1.

NOTES: Utah now leads the series 11-9, including 9-5 in Pac-12 play.  The Utes swept the seasons series for the second time, the other coming in 2011 in the first year for both teams in the Pac-12.  The two teams split the season series the previous five seasons.
Smith’s 20 kills gives her double figures for the 22nd time this season and fifth straight match, and 20-plus kills for the eighth time this season. She now has 453 kills on the season and she moved into the Top 10 and all the way to eighth place for most kills in a season. She passed Rachel Wacholder (438, 1995), Karrie Downey (440, 1991) and Tina Murray (449, 1989).  Wacholder’s total of 456 ranks seventh.  Her total is also fifth most in the rally scoring era.
Deluzio’s 47 assists gives her 1,317 for the season and she moved into third place in the rally scoring era, moving past Kaitlyn Burkett (1,285, 2007) and Elizabeth Gower (1,312, 2001).  Only Only Ashley Nu’u’s totals of 1,352 in 2006 and 1,448 in 2005 are ahead of Deluzio in the rally scoring era.
Abu’s five blocks gives her 143 on the season and she moved into third place in the rally scoring era behind her total of 153 last year and Meghan Barkman’s total of 151 in 2001.  She now has three of the top four marks in the rally scoring era, passing her own total of 142 from 2015.  Overall, she’s in seventh place, one behind Ali Koepke’s total of 144 in sixth place.

TEAM STATISTICS: Colorado hit .219 (55-23-146) in the match, assisting in 53 of those 55 kills and recording 53 digs, 11 blocks and 5 aces.  Utah hit .226 (58-25-146), assisting on 56 of those 58 kills with 56 digs, eight blocks and three aces.

NEXT UP: Colorado now awaits its 2017 NCAA Tournament fate. The NCAA Division I Volleyball Selection Show will take place Sunday at 7 p.m. and be televised by ESPNU.  The Buffs have made the NCAA Tournament 18 times and haven’t been selected to the NCAA Tournament since 2014.


Head coach Jesse Mahoney

“First of all, congratulations to Utah on a great season. The Pac-12 can be brutal. They certainly had some big wins throughout the year and they’re going to have an opportunity to host in the first round of the NCAA tournament. That’s a very good team. It was a very hard fought match. I almost wish we wouldn’t have won the first set as big as we did. I think that woke them up a little bit. After that first set, I still felt like our teams were pretty evenly matched. We relied on our outsides a lot and they took a lot of really good swings. Utah’s block wore us down a little bit towards the end of the last couple sets. That being said, I feel like they played particularly well tonight. Utah has so many offensive options and I think we got a little spread thin defensively. We weren’t able to hold our leads, especially in the last set. I’m very proud of our effort and I am very proud of our season.”

On the value of this game going into the post-season

“I don’t know if this loss helps or not. I think that’s our tenth loss on the year, we know what losing feels like. We’re playing hard every time we go out there. As we enter the NCAA tournament we know that every team we play is a conference champion or a great team from a very good league. Every game we play is going to be a survive and advance situation. We’re going to take a couple days to recover. The Pac-12 season is done and we’re moving onto the next season. We’re going to go as far as we can and we feel that we have both the talent and drive. We’re going to go out and play hard.”

On the seniors
“I don’t think you can find three better representatives of the University of Colorado and certainly our volleyball program. Stephanie ShadleyJoslyn Hayes and Anna Pfefferle, I’ve only had the opportunity to coach them for two years but the two years that I’ve had them have been special for me. They do a lot of the stuff that everyone sees, the blocking, the attack, the serve, and all that kind of stuff. They do that at a really high level. The stuff that people don’t see in the locker room and at practice or their level of commitment to this program at this university is really special. They’re what we call, ‘culture kids’. We’re going to miss them. They’ve meant a lot to the culture of this team and they meant a lot on the court for this team. All three kids are so giving to the community and they always have a smile on their faces. I was hoping that we could have them back here in Coors for another week but we’re going to go out a put the show on the road. We’re definitely going to miss them when this is all over.”

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