Behind Mosser’s 28 Kills, #18 UCLA Rallies to Beat Colorado in Boulder

  0 Brandon Johnson | October 21st, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12

Match Info

  • #18 UCLA at Colorado (PAC-12 Match)
  • Boulder, CO
  • UCLA improves to 13-6 (6-4 PAC-12); Colorado drops to 15-6 (5-5 PAC-12)
  • Attendance: 1,587
  • Box Score

A night after suffering a tough four set loss to Utah, #18 rallied from a 2-1 set deficit to stun the host Buffaloes of Colorado late Saturday night in Boulder. Playing without standout freshman Mac May, the Bruins fought off five match points in the final two sets to pull out a hard fought five set victory. Set scores were 25-17, 15-25, 18-25, 28-26, 16-14.

Freshman Jenny Mosser set a new career high with 28 kills while Senior Reily Buechler chipped in 23 kills. Senior Setter Sarah Sponcil dished out a career high 62 assists to go along with 25 digs, while libero Zana Muno led the defense with 28 digs. Madeleine Gates, who returned from injury this weekend, posted 10 kills and 3 blocks.

With the win, UCLA improves to 13-6 (6-4 PAC-12) and will return to action on Friday, October 27th when they travel to face Washington State.

Overall, it was a very even match with the Bruins leading in kills 69-66, digs 92-88, and assists 68-60, while Colorado led in blocks 14-13 and aces 5-2.

Although they were unable to sweep the weekend series from the L.A. schools, it was a strong weekend for Colorado who already has more wins this year than in 2016. Alexa Smith had 27 kills and 17 digs while Frankie Shebby collected 16 kills and 16 digs. Brynna DeLuzio dished out 55 assists to go along with her 12 digs while Gabby Carta-Samuels paced the defense with 25 digs.

With the loss, Colorado drops to 15-6 (5-5 PAC-12) and will return to the court on Friday, October 27th when they travel to meet Oregon.


Press Release:

Courtesy of UCLA Athletics

BOULDER, Colo. – Freshman Jenny Mosser recorded a career-best 28 kills, hitting .400 with six digs, senior Sarah Sponcil posted personal highs with 63 assists, 25 digs and six blocks and senior Reily Buechler notched a season-best 23 kills to go with 12 digs, as the 13th-ranked Bruins saved four match point and defeated Colorado in five sets on Saturday at the Coors Events Center. Set scores were 25-17, 15-25, 18-25, 28-26, 16-14.

Junior Zana Muno tallied 28 digs, while sophomore Savvy Simo had 15. Sophomore Madeleine Gates recorded 10 kills and junior Kyra Rogers had six kills and six blocks. The Bruins (13-6, 6-4 Pac-12) hit .194 for the match.

The Bruins fell behind early 10-6 in set one, but scored eight straight points and went on to take the opener. Buechler was a part of four of the points on two kills and two solo blocks, while Mosser added a kill and an ace, Rogers and freshman Sabrina Smith combined on a block and Colorado committed an error. Leading 20-14, the Bruins netted three straight kills by Gates, Mosser and Rogers to take a set-best advantage of nine. Mosser’s eighth kill of the opening set closed out a 25-17 victory. Buechler added four kills, while Muno recorded 12 digs, as the Bruins out-hit the Buffaloes .262 to .105.

Colorado (15-6, 5-5 Pac-12) led throughout set two to even the match heading into intermission, scoring nine of the first 12 and not looking back. Three in a row for UCLA on a Mosser kill, a Rogers/Sponcil block and a Rogers kill cut the deficit to three at 9-6, but the Buffs reeled off the next five to go up by eight, eventually winning the second by a score of 25-15. Buechler led the Bruins with four kills, while Mosser and Rogers each had three. Muno added seven digs and Sponcil posted six. The Bruins were out-hit .375 to .179.

The teams traded the first six points, but the Buffaloes would score the next three, and despite a few more ties, Colorado didn’t trail for the rest of the set. Down 11-8, a CU service error, a Sponcil/Gates block and a Buechler kill evened things at 11. UCLA would tie things up five more times in the set, but could not re-take the lead. At 18-17 CU, the home team scored seven of the last eight to win the third 25-18. Buechler led the way with five kills, while Gates and Mosser both had three. Buechler added six digs and Simo posted five. The Bruins were out-hit .286 to .167.

Set four featured 11 ties and seven lead changes. Colorado led early 5-2, but the Bruins responded with a 6-1 run to go up 8-6. Colorado would re-take the lead and see it get to as many as five at 19-14 before a 7-1 Bruin run put the visitors back ahead. Kills by Buechler, Mosser and Gates made it 19-17, and after a CU sideout, a Mosser kill, a Sponcil solo block and a Rogers/Sponcil block made it 21-20 UCLA.

Even at 23, the Buffaloes scored two straight to earn a match point, the first of three in the set. Mosser saved the first one, a block by Rogers and sophomore Jamie Robbins made it 25-all and a Buechler kill tied things at 26. A Gates/Sponcil block gave the Bruins a set point and Buechler closed out the fourth with a kill to win it 28-26. Mosser had eight kills in the fourth, while Buechler added six. Sponcil had 12 digs and four blocks and Simo recorded five digs. The Bruins out-hit the Buffaloes .086 to .073.

The deciding fifth set had six ties and three lead changes. Colorado led by as much as three as late as 10-7 before the Bruins scored four in a row on Gates and Buechler kills and two CU errors to go ahead 11-10. The match would be tied again at 11, 12 and 13 before the Buffaloes earned a fourth match point by going up 14-13. Back-to-back Mosser kills not only saved a fourth match point, but gave the Bruins their first match point, with a Colorado attack error closing out a 16-14 Bruin victory. Mosser was 6-for-12 with no errors in the fifth, while Buechler added four kills, as the Bruins out-hit the Buffaloes .385 to .320.

The Bruins’ four-match road trip takes them to Washington State next Friday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. The match will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.


Press Release:

Courtesy of Colorado Athletics

BOULDER — Facing their second straight top-20 opponent in as many nights, the Colorado Buffaloes looked to be on the verge of another upset after taking a 2-1 lead (17-25, 25-15, 25-18) against the No. 13 UCLA Bruins. But UCLA did not give up and took the final two sets (28-26, 16-14) to hold off the surging Buffs on Saturday night at the Coors Events Center.

With the loss, CU finished the first half of Pac-12 play with a 5-5 record, but is also 15-6 overall. The Bruins improved to 6-4 in conference action and are 13-6 overall.

WHAT HAPPENED: The Buffaloes gave UCLA everything they had including a career-high 27 kills from junior Alexa Smith. Smith took 72 swings on the night and hit .250 while adding 17 digs.

The Buffs had two other players with double-digits kills. Frankie Shebby was second on the team with 16 kills and Naghede Abu tallied 12. Abu hit a team-best .409 with only three errors on 22 attacks.

Colorado’s block started off strong and finished the match with 14.0 team blocks. Shebby and Abu each posted seven blocks, while Joslyn Hayes added another six. Anna Pfefferle added five and Lauren Dorrell posted one.

The Buffs’ passing game was also strong. Gabby Carta-Samuels led the team with 25 digs. Shebby added 16 digs and Brynna DeLuzio had 12 digs. In addition to Smith’s 17 digs, four other Buffs combined for 18 digs.

For the Bruins, Jenny Mosser led the way with 28 kills and Reilly Butchler added 23 kills.

SET 1: The Buffs led the set 10-6 before UCLA strung together eight straight points to take a 14-10 lead. The Buffs were able to side-out on the following point, but the Bruins took the next two points and increased the advantage to seven at 20-13. The Buffs attempted to get back into the set, but the Bruins’ lead was too great to overcome as UCLA won 25-17.

SET 2: Colorado got out to a 9-3 lead in the second frame and increased it to 13-6, at which point the Bruins called a timeout. The Buffs picked up where they left off after the break with a kill from DeLuzio before UCLA was able to side-out (14-7). CU kept attacking and did not let up, taking an 11-point lead at 20-9, before wrapping the game up 25-15.

SET 3: The third set started extremely close, but the Buffs had a slight 15-13 lead at the midway point. UCLA evened the score after the media timeout, but CU used a 5-2 run to go up 20-17, causing the Bruins to spend a timeout. The Buffs increased the advantage to four at 22-18 just three points later, and again UCLA needed to talk things over. Shebby served up an ace following the timeout and after a block by Hayes and Pfefferle, the Buffs had set point. Smith finished the set on the next point with a kill (25-18).

SET 4: In another close set, the Buffs took a 13-10 lead before UCLA took its first timeout. CU increased the lead to five at 19-14, but after a 3-0 run by the Bruins, the Buffs needed to take a timeout (19-17). UCLA served into the net on the following point, but then took the following five points (22-20), causing CU to take its final timeout. A pair of kills from Shebby out of the break tied the set back up. The Buffs would have three match points, but each time the Bruins fought them off and eventually took the set 28-26, forcing a final game.

SET 5: The Buffs led 8-5 at the side-change, but it was all even a short time later at 10-10. The two sides battled, but the Buffs were able to pull ahead at 13-12. UCLA responded with a kill and the set was tied again. CU had match point after a kill from Abu on the following point, but the Bruins scored the next two points to earn their first match point (15-14) and converted on the following point (16-14) to win the match.

NOTES: CU is 7-2 at Coors this season and is 3-5 against ranked opponents…UCLA leads the all-time series 12-3…CU is 4-2 in five-set matches this season…Frankie Shebby‘s seven blocks is a career-high…For the first time since 2015, a Buff recorded 27 kills in a match (Alexa Smith‘s 27)…For the eighth time this season, Brynna DeLuzio recorded 50+ assists.

TEAM STATISTICS: The box score was incredibly close. CU hit .212 with 66 kills and 25 errors on 193 attacks, while UCLA hit .194 with 69 kills and 30 errors on 201 swings. CU recorded five service aces compared to just two for the Bruins. UCLA won the battle in digs (92-88), but the Buffs out-blocked UCLA 14.0-13.0.

NEXT UP: The Buffs start the second half of league play on the road. First they will head to Oregon State (Oct. 27), before taking on Oregon (Oct. 28).   


Head coach Jesse Mahoney


“It hurts to lose a match like that, especially when we had so many match points. That being said, I feel like this weekend we played really high level volleyball. Both teams were here were really good, nationally ranked. I feel like we put ourselves in a position to win the match tonight but we didn’t quite get it done. We had some great performances and some things we can build on as we go into the second half of the season. I thought we played great volleyball and UCLA played great volleyball as well. Someone had to win, I just wish it was us. If we play like that, we’re going to be fine in the second half and if we get better, we’ll be doing really well going into the NCAA Tournament.”

On being at the half-way point of Pac-12 play

“I think seeing everyone once, every one of those matches was really competitive. There are no secrets anymore, so we’re going to go on the road next weekend and the teams that we’ve beaten in the first half are going to be looking to play us really hard. We’ll do a half way point analysis of what we’ve done and where can work to get a little bit better. We’ll adjust some things, see if that’s worthwhile to do, and go out and play some good volleyball.”

Alexa Smith

On not capitalizing on match points

“I don’t think that there was one thing specifically that happened. I think it was a lot of things leading up to that. It is just executing in crunch time especially. Moving forward, I think that is one thing that we really need to focus on on our side of the net.

On setting career high in kills

“I am so honored to play the role that I do on this team. But I owe it all to them for putting me in position, especially the coaches for setting me up that way. I wish the game would have turned a different way but I am honored to play the role that I do.”

On takeaways going into next week

“I think this weekend we played some pretty solid volleyball. I think that we definitely improved from last weekend to this weekend and that is something that we need to continue to do moving forward in the second half of Pac-12. I am really proud of this team, we continue to work together. If one person isn’t playing well one night, another person steps up and that’s what you need on a team.”

Naghede Abu

On not capitalizing on match points

“I can’t really point to one thing as the cause. Again, when it comes to match point, it’s only one point. There were a lot of errors we made leading up to that point. We could have finished the match a lot earlier. So it’s not necessarily that we didn’t finish the game at match point, it is just a matter of how we were playing up to that.”

On making blocks

“The last couple matches I noticed how I have been playing undisciplined. So personally, I went into the match telling myself not to put my hands over the net and focus on what I can take care of. They happened to hit into me, I didn’t have to do anything extraordinary.”

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