Oregon State Volleyball loses to Colorado, goes to five sets

OSUVB vs. Buff

Lauren Sluss, News Contributor

Oregon State Volleyball lost to Colorado in five sets this morning, marking their 17th conference loss this season. The Beavers still stand No.12 in the Pac-12 with an 11-18 overall record.

The Beavers came out strong for the first and third sets, but were unable to clinch the win in the fifth, losing 10-15 in the final set.  

“We were aggressive in our attacks. Aggression was good for four sets; I think that was our downfall,” said OSU Head Coach Mark Barnard.

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The match started strong for the Beavers as they were able to gain and maintain a small lead. Junior outside hitter Amy Underdown kicked off the first set hot with seven kills, claiming 17 total for the match.

The second set turned in favor for the Buffaloes. Senior outside hitter Alexa Smith posed a large threat to the Beavers, claiming 22 total kills in the match. Although the Beavers were able to claim multiple kills from redshirt freshman Lindsey Schell and sophomore outside hitter Maddie Goings, they were unable to clinch the final point.

In a volley that drove the score into the low thirties, Smith claimed the final kill and ended the first win for the Buffaloes 33-31.

Schell played to her strengths as middle blocker during the second set, calling for assists from freshman setter Maddie Sheehan.

“I just kept telling my setter to give me the ball,” Schell said. “I’m a hot hitter right now, just keep me going. She just kept giving them to me and it worked out.”

Goings went into the game hoping to work on strategy against Colorado’s defense, allowing her to be the Beavers’ highest scorer with 19 total kills.

“Mainly I was working on my shots this game and looking for open holes,” Goings said. “We knew the defense that they ran so we were just placing it in those holes.”

The outcome of the third set swung back to the Beavers, seeing hitting and blocking contributions from Daniela Vargas, OSU’s senior right side hitter. Vargas ended the game with a career-high kill streak, claiming 13.

“I try to bring the most positive energy to every game and every play that we have, just to bring the best out of everyone,” Vargas said.

The last two sets and the match were claimed by Colorado. Blocking was a deficit for the Beavers, claiming only 13 blocks compared to the Buffaloes’ 23. 

“Next game we are going to work on blocking, I think that’s it,” Vargas said. “I think if we improve on that, we’ll get another win before this season ends.”

The Beavers were able to lead in aces, however, as they saw eight total, five more than the Buffaloes.

Barnard noted his team has a pattern of losing in the fifth set, as OSU saw the same outcome in their match against Utah Friday.

“I think what happens is it’s the great paradox of athletics,” Barnard said. “You play not to lose, and then you lose. Your careful play creates errors or more opportunities for the other team and you end up losing.”

Moving into next game, however, Barnard will have the team focus on blocking in order to overcome Washington State’s height advantage.

“Washington State is huge, so we’re going to work on not getting blocked as much,” Barnard said. “I think one of the things against Washington State is we’re got to get the ball back on them. Out hitters have to be smart because they are a big blocking team.”

The Beavers will challenge the Cougars Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. in Pullman, Wash.