Buffs Claim Second Straight Tournament Title

The University of Colorado volleyball team continued to try to distance itself from their most disappointing part of their season thus far; not too bad considering it was represented by a single non-conference loss. Less than a week after the Buffaloes dropped a 3-1 contest to in-state rival Colorado State last Tuesday, CU has more than redeemed itself, sweeping the remainder of its non-conference schedule and winning the Colorado Invitational.

The tournament win was the second Colorado had claimed on the season after wins over Central Florida, Illinois State, and Denver earned CU the win in the Pioneer Invitational in Denver last week.

The Buffs' strong point on the afternoon shone through when Colorado was forced onto the defensive, an area the team has struggled with at times this season. Sophomore Nicole Carr had 15 digs to go along with three solo blocks. Additionally, Freshman Austin Zimmerman had nine defensive saves while junior Allison Barnes and senior Monica Vesanovic had eight a piece. The two have combined for 78 digs and 12 blocks on the season.

Adding to the CU sweep, three Buffs recorded double-digit kills on the afternoon, a trend becoming beautifully familiar to CU fans early this season. Sophomore Allie Griffin led all players with 14 kills and also had seven digs. Senior middle blocker Monique Gerlach had 12 kills and Carr had 10.

"Today we really out served and out passed them," CU head coach Pi'i Aiu said. "We put them into a lot of passing trouble and that led to a bunch of our points."

"(Villanova) had a lot of errors today which really seemed to get them out of their rhythm," Gerlach said. "We were able to serve extremely well and we put them back on their heels."

Gerlach earned tournament MVP honors hitting .340 (24 kills-6 errors-53 attacks) and averaging four kills and 1.5 digs per game over sweep-shortened tournamnet. The all-time team leader in several statistical categories has earned tournamnet MVP honors in each of the three the team has participated in this season.

CU, which defeated Oregon in three games Friday in the first game of the Invitational, moved to 8-2 overall in 2003. The Buffaloes begin Big 12 Conference play in Boulder on Wednesday, Sept. 17, against Texas Tech.

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