CU Rebounds in 3-0 Sweep of Texas

<b>Maragda Santillana</b> insists that it was all a coincidence. She, along with everyone else on her University of Colorado volleyball team maintains that the Spanish-born sophomore's 22 year-old birthday played no part in the Buffaloes' 32-30, 30-28, 30-26 sweep of Big 12 rival Texas Saturday night at the Coors Events Center, but it stands to reason that it's at least in the back of a young lady's mind.

"I always play like that, it's just that tonight I got more chances to hit the ball," a jubilant Santillana said after the game. "If you play aggressively, you win. When you play all the way to the last point, you'd be surprised what can happen."

Nicole Carr and Austin Barnes both has personal and season team highs in attacks (34) and assists (51), respectively, in a three-game match in Colorado's first win since the Buffs knocked off Iowa State here in Boulder last Saturday.

Colorado was able to neutralize the ever present outside threat of junior All-American Mira Topic in early action, initially overcoming their inherent height disadvantage and earning a 7-4 lead in the first game before the Longhorns used their first timeout. Texas would prove resilient, though, never falling behind by more than three and tying the match at 12-12 on an impressive sequence that saw 6-2 freshman setter Jenny Andrew earn a pair of blocks on the Buffs' front line. The ensuing possession would result in a Longhorn point and their first lead of the game, forcing CU to take its first timeout. CU freshman Austin Zimmerman broke a four-point Texas run with a crosscourt kill that ricocheted off the Texas defense bringing the Buffs back to within a pair. Zimmerman would then tie the game on a straight block on the net, followed by a Carr kill that gave the Buffs a 24-23 advantage at a key point in the game. Carr gave the Buffs a kill on a tip following CU's second timeout, and then delivered on a topped spike from the left side that tied the game at 27-27. Santillana would come through on the two biggest points of the match, earning a block and then an authoritative spike that put the Buffs in a match point position with a 29-28 lead. The line judge on the Buff side called a tip on a spike that initially appeared to sail wide, giving the Longhorns life and a 29-29 tie. Griffin ended the drama with an authorative kill on an off-balance set to seal a pivotal first game win in the set.

Texas overcame an initial 3-1 deficit to rally, thanks in part to the offensive mistakes of CU, to retake a 6-3 advantage following a 4-0 Longhorn run. Colorado's defense regained the momentum they'd put forth towards the end of the first game, forcing consecutive four-contact fouls on Texas on the way to a 14-8 game advantage behind fiver consecutive serves from Gerlach. As if on cue, the Buffaloes began their own self-destruction, combining on long missed attacks and net violations to allow Texas back to within a single point; 16-15. CU maintained its mid-set advantage thanks in part to a falling away spike from Griffin to give Colorado a three-point lead. The Buffs once again kicked it into high gear, expand on its advantage as a result of excellent defense leading to solid offense. Carr accented the 6-1 run with a service ace that gave CU a 23-18 advantage. Texas looked to steal game two with a 6-1 run down the stretch which saw Colorado use both of their timeouts, and giving Texas a 26-25 comeback advantage. CU thwarted the effort behind a trio of serves by 3, highlighted by a Griffin block that gave the Buffaloes the decisive 28-26 lead they would use to take a 2-0 match lead.

Nicole Carr led the Buffs offensively with a team-high 29 attacks coupled with six kills in Colorado's most recent loss to the Cornhuskers on Oct. 1. Senior team captain Monique Gerlach added to the Buffalo effort, 20 attacks and six kills. Despite the individual accomplishments of several Buffs, including five players recording double-digit attack numbers on the night, Nebraska dominated Colorado on the serve, holding the Buffaloes to a .107 percentage on the night to the Huskers' .279, not to mention their .314 third and final game.

Colorado continues its alternating conference schedule Oct. 11 when they'll travel to Waco to take on Baylor. CU will return home four days later to host Oklahoma, before embarking on the last of a pair of two game road sets against No. 12 Kansas State and Missouri


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