Buffs Lose at Home for First Time to K-State

Having completed nearly its entire conference schedule, it ended up taking the University of Colorado volleyball team better than two full months to lose a match at home; and it took one of the best teams in the country Saturday night to fell that most impressive streak that has kept the Buffaloes afloat in the highly competitive Big 12 conference.

CU (15-6 overall; 7-8 Big 12) dropped its first home match of the season as No. 7 Kansas State (22-3; 12-1) defeated the Buffaloes 30-24, 20-30, 30-26, 30-22 Saturday night at the Coors Events Conference Center.

The loss interrupts a two-game win streak Colorado had established with their most recent victories; a pair of 3-2 decisions over Kansas and Iowa State on Oct. 24 and Oct. 29, respectively. The Buffs had suffered back-to-back losses to K-State and No. 24 Missouri in the week before that.

"I thought we played well and fought hard, but we're going to have to play a little better to beat a team like (Kansas State)," CU head coach Pi'i Aiu said.

Trailing by a game early in the match, CU took advantage of six Kansas State hitting errors in the first 10 points of game two to build a 9-1 lead. The Buffs never looked back in game two, leading by as many as 15 before finishing the game out at 30-20. CU held the Wildcats to a .000 hitting percentage in a commanding win of the set's second game.

However, as the teams battled in the final two games, Colorado fell off its momentum on defense while the ever-lethal Wildcat attack improved its hitting. State hit .287 from the second game on compared to just .138 for the Buffs.

Even in losing, there is space for positive reflection as Colorado prepares for a stretch run of the season's remaining seven games that will help to determine the group's fate at the Big 12 tournament begins on Dec. 4. Colorado blocked uncharacteristically well as a team Saturday night. Freshman Austin Zimmerman, sophomore Allie Griffin and senior captain Monique Gerlach each had five to account for the team total of 15.

"We made a few mistakes that were key and once the started pushing points it was hard to come back," Griffin said after the match.

Colorado will continue Big 12 action on Wednesday, against Baylor (11-15; 3-10) at 7 p.m. at the CECC in Boulder.

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