With just one game left in the regular season, NCAA tournament hopes are alive and well for the Colorado volleyball team.
Faced with a must-win situation in their last away game of the regular season, the Buffaloes responded with a 3-1 win in Arizona on Wednesday afternoon, beating the Wildcats 25-19, 24-26, 25-22, 25-17. CU began 46th on the RPI for the week and couldn’t afford a setback against Arizona, which is ranked 10th in the Pac-12 Conference and 99th in the RPI.
The Buffs had only won 3-26 in Pac-12 away games for the past three seasons, but Wednesday’s win saw CU finish league away games this year 5-5. If the Buffs can get the job done at home to Utah in Friday’s (3 p.m., Pac-12 Mountain) regular-season finals, CU has a good chance of clinching a seat in an NCAA tournament for the first time since 2018.
CU (19-10, 11-8 Pac-12) had lost seven of their last eight games against Arizona and went into the game on a four-game losing streak against the Wildcats. The Buffs had also lost on their previous five visits to Tucson.
The Buffs posted an excellent .333 batting average and recorded just 13 attacking errors in four sets. After dividing the first two sets, CU held off the Wildcats in the third set and secured the win by scoring six of the last seven points in the fourth set.
Lexi Hadrych accelerated CU’s attack with 20 kills, her third 20-kill attempt of the season, while Meegan Hart had 12 kills. Maya Tabron put on a solid all-around game with 12 kills, 13 digs and four aces, as did setter Taylor Simpson (33 assists, 15 digs).
Jill Schneggenburger (15 digs) and Alexia Kuehl (five blocks) also shaped CU’s defense efforts.
The Buffs hit the .500 mark in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2017, but it will take a win over Utah on Friday to keep Colorado on the steadier side of the NCAA tournament bubble.
“From an offensive perspective, I think we played at a very high level,” said CU head coach Jesse Mahoney. “Except for a break in the second set, we passed extremely well and Taylor and Brynna (DeLuzio) did great [setting] choices.
“We’re definitely on the bubble for NCAA selection and this win puts us on the right page. We look forward to coming home and playing another game in front of our fans on Friday.”
Colorado 3, Arizona 1
WE 25 24 25 25
UA 19 26 22 17
kills — Colorado: Hadrych 20, Hart 12, Tabron 10. Arizona: Maldonado 15, Fellows 11.
assists — Colorado: Simpson 32, DeLuzio 17. Arizona: Herman 33.
aces — Colorado: Tabron 4, Simpson 3, Lougeay 3. Arizona: Maldonado 4, Herman 4.
blocks — Colorado: Kuehl 5, Hadrych 3. Arizona: Fellows 6, Maldonado 4.
excavations — Colorado: Simpson 15, Schneggenburger 15, Tabron 13, Lougeay 12. Arizona: Hiapo 17, Herman 13, Maldonado 11.