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CU Volleyball 2015?

Discussion in 'University of Colorado News and Olympic Sports' started by 90sBuff, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. 90sBuff

    90sBuff Club Member Club Member

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    Anyone have any insight into how our team looks for 2015? Nicole Edelman will be great again. We have Gabby Simpson and Cierra too-both of whom are top notch. Katelyn Cuff and Pffefferle look to be great competitors that will be fun to watch.

    who can replace Taylor Simpson? Do you all have any thoughts of whether Alexis Austin can have a stellar senior season and keep us moving up? How do the outside hitters look for next year from the freshman class?

    We we had a great season. So what's next for Coach Kritza and the 2015 team? I'm already looking forward to the sweet 16 in 2015!
     
  2. Uncle Ken

    Uncle Ken Orr no morr Club Member

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    I'll be interested in seeing how the setting battle progresses between Nicole and Gabby. Nicole is extremely precise, in my observation, but Gabby brings an entire new dimension to the game with her ability to hit from the right side.

    Austin is a great hitter. But she doesn't have the defensive credibility that we'll lose with Taylor.Sierra should stay busy at libero, as I imagine she'll have to compensate a bit for her sister's loss.

    A year's growth with our young players doesn't quite compensate for Taylor's loss. I'm mostly talking out my ass here--so I hope to be wrong--but I think we take a small step back next season.
     
  3. hokiehead

    hokiehead Gobbler on the Mountain Club Member

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    Alexis' service errors worry me, but she's a great rally player
     
  4. 90sBuff

    90sBuff Club Member Club Member

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    I noticed watching on Saturday that she seemed to lack confidence with her serve.

    our team has been so fun to watch the past 2 seasons. It's exciting to see how far we have come. Hopefully there is no drop off and we begin to stock our roster each season with stars.

    How ow is our recruiting?? Any hope for landing some top notch recruits??

     
  5. Uncle Ken

    Uncle Ken Orr no morr Club Member

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    Which player lacked confidence in her serves?

    I think our recruiting has really picked up. For starters, we're a much bigger team than we were just a few years ago. Also, look at the number of frosh. who are playing--it's a testament to our rising talent.
     
  6. 90sBuff

    90sBuff Club Member Club Member

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    I thought Alexis looked uncomfortable serving the ball. Which didn't make sense to me, because she is such a fierce competitor. Maybe it was just me, reading too much into it. I think she is fun to watch. I'm rooting for her to have a stellar 2015!

    Rising talent. Absolutely. Pffefferle is a great example.

     
  7. GoBuffs88

    GoBuffs88 Active Member

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  8. AztecBuff

    AztecBuff Club Member Club Member

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    With my usual disclosure that I have no idea what I’m talking about, I would guess the volleyball team can be seen as being roughly in the same position next year that Men's basketball was at the beginning of this year (and maybe still is?)- definitely reason for optimism with many crucial and talented pieces (many still young) still there, but having questions due to losing the "big gun" (whether Taylor Simpson or the Mayor).

    Again, I don’t know volleyball that well technically, so definitely will appreciate any corrections to the below, and please consider this more a starting point for discussion as opposed to any expert analysis.


    As is often said in sports when a star leaves (unless you’re one of the few “super” schools in whatever sport- Kentucky and Duke basketball, for example, that seem to just go from star to star), I assume next year will need to be even more a collaborative team effort than this year. (And, volleyball seems such a collaborative sport anyway- if any one of the passing, setting or hitting aspects is off, EVERYTHING is off.) No ONE player will probably be able to replace the departing seniors’ (esp. T. Simpson’s) offensive AND defensive production, but hopefully ALL the other players will improve enough so that COLLECTIVELY the team is stable with or ideally improves from this year. There are definitely reasons for optimism that this can happen.

    Below is my as usual OVERLY EXHAUSTIVE look at the vball Buffs. Of course, these are just a few highlights from an ignorant volleyball fan. ANY player on the roster can make a jump year to year, especially with the youth of many of them, and so could become keys to overall team improvement next year. And, as an up and coming program, I could also see the Buffs as being potentially more likely to either gain or lose transfers. (We did lose two transfers last year who could have helped defensively.) In addition, I’d say this coaching staff makes as many match to match and game to game adjustments as any, so the lineups could be very fluid.

    _________________________________________

    Without considering the incoming freshmen, I’d say the three known offensive pieces that will need to improve (and definitely have “upside” so it’s easily conceivable- in no particular order):

    · With all her physical tools (size, strength, quickness, hops, etc.), Gabby Simpson should become a much more effective/ terminal hitter sooner rather than later as she gains experience and repetitions during the off-season and next pre-season.
    (For anyone who doesn’t know her volleyball background, she’s always been a full time setter. Therefore she probably had, as a FRESHMAN, THE hardest on-court challenge of any Buff this year- being less experienced than even typical freshmen in some skills (hitting, serve return) she probably didn't practice much in high school or club, and having to work on those skills while playing in the toughest conference in the country. AND, she still of course had to develop as all freshmen do to take her more experienced skills, (especially) setting (the "quarterback" of volleyball), serving, blocking, etc., to be competitive at the top collegiate level.)
    Especially in the last few matches of the year, her jump serve also seemed to become much more accurate, and could become a big weapon for the Buffs in the coming years.

    · Both of this year’s middles (Anna Pfefferle and Katelyn Cuff) were inexperienced at the college level ((One a sophomore lightly used as a freshman, and a freshman who, in addition to inexperience at a college level, had her hitting hand wrapped almost all year due to what I assume was a finger break/ sprain(?).) Their defensive performance (blocking) was above my expectations. With another year’s experience, the defense should continue to improve, and hopefully the offense also. (Again, not a surprise given their youth, but even with the Buff’s major overall improvement offensively, this year’s 2 main middles totaled ~1 kill less per set than last year’s two experienced starters in conference play while hitting at a lower %. Of course, in addition to their youth, some of that may also have been caused by (a) the outside hitters often being hard to stop, so they got some of the best scoring opportunity sets which in prior years might have gone to the middles. (b) Also, since they were both younger, it may be the setters (one of whom was also a freshman) still need to refine how to set these middles most effectively. (c) AND, in prior year’s, one of the big go-to and high % plays for the middles was the slide play to the outside by middle K. English. That play can’t be run in the same way in a 6-2 formation.) Edit- Assume incoming freshman Aiden Lea, who will have the benefit of starting early at CU (Starting the semester beginning next month) will also be in the mix for earning playing time.

    · Alexis Austin continued improvement. She already had a very good offensive season and showed lots of improvement as a junior, shown in her earning All Pac-12 1[SUP]st[/SUP] team honors, so will be a great leader of the offense. From her junior to senior year, T. Simpson went from hitting at a .162 average/ 3.8 kills per set in conference to .284/4.6K/ set. And, A. Austin also improved a lot this year, going from .177/ 2.45k/set last year as a sophomore to .248/ 3.42K/set as a junior, even with a slow start in conference as she didn’t play much in non-conference. If Ms. Austin has an extra gear to shift to next year as a senior like Ms. Simpson did this year, and she definitely has the talent and sounds to have the work ethic to do it, she could easily get to 4+ kills per set next year as the main go-to Buff target.)

    As I’ve seen others mention, it will be a big help if she can continue to improve defensively. (Ms. Austin did look a lot better this year, but defense could be the area we miss T. Simpson even more than offensively, as she was a pretty elite level defensive player for an outside hitter her senior year.)

    _______________________________________


    Then, it’s also a question of who takes over the 2 open positions (leftside hitter for T. Simpson, mainly rightside for N. Ortiz Ruiz).

    · On the leftside:
    o Before SHE was lost to injury for the year during the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] conference match, it was Sophomore Joslyn Hayes who was playing in place of A. Austin while the team nursed HER injury during non-conference. Hopefully Ms. Hayes will be back to 100% next season. (Wonder if they try to get her a medical redshirt for this year so she’ll still be a sophomore next year?)

    o Also, current freshman Stephanie Shadley mainly got time as a defensive and serving specialist this year, but I assume will get chances to contribute as a hitter and/ or defensive specialist in the years to come. (Always hard if not impossible for me to gauge how freshmen will progress in later years, and obviously any of them can make huge jumps from freshman to sophomore year as they get a full year of practice with the team, college level strength and conditioning, etc.)

    o Both from an indication from Asst. Coach Jagd that it was a possibility in his interview at the time of announcing the Buff’s 2015 recruiting class, and just with her being a BIG leaper (as I mentioned in the recruiting thread, one website said she has a 48” vertical jump) like Alexis Austin (who was also a middle blocker coming out of high school), I’d expect the Buffs to give incoming freshman middle Naghede Abu a look at BOTH outside hitter as well as her current middle blocker position.

    · On the right side:

    o If my always suspect memory is accurate, what playing time Joslyn Hayes received as a freshman was often as a right side, so assume she can also be in the discussion for this position.

    o Incoming freshman Taylor Joachim is a natural 6'4" rightside hitter. (Like G. Simpson, she is one of the gods' chosen- a lefty.) Although typically teams don’t want to rely on freshmen, CU obviously wasn’t shy in starting 2 this year, so she definitely could be in the mix. (As I mentioned in another thread, interesting that in Coach Jagd's interview after the freshmen were announced, it sounds like one scenario for the Buffs (although NOT next year) is that Ms. Joachim may also be groomed to be a 6-2 formation setter like G. Simpson, and might become the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] setter in the 6-2 after N. Edelman graduates.)


    o I’d consider it a last case scenario, but did also just want to throw Cierra Simpson’s name up here also. At 6’ tall, she’s tall enough to be an offensive player. Being such a good and improving libero, the only scenario where I could see where she’d be in the offensive mix is (a) obviously, she needs to be able to hit and block at a Pac 12 level (totally unknown to us fans as she obviously hasn't done either as a libero during matches), (b) none of the other outside hitters are doing well enough defensively to be 6 rotation players (you typically want (or need?) due to substitution rules at least two 6 rotation offensive players, with G. Simpson being the sure one for the Buffs right now) and (c) there are at least two other defensive players who the coaches are confident who can take over at the libero and defensive specialist positions.

    ________________________________________

    Defensively:

    · Continued improvement by Cierra Simpson in her junior year. (Looked a lot better this year, AND she was already solid as a freshman.) Hopefully will become more and more assertive back there- a vball magnet who takes anything close to her.

    · The other Defensive Specialists- 1[SUP]st[/SUP]- just want them to stay healthy!

    · As noted above, one of the front row players (other than G. Simpson) will need to become a solid 6 rotation player. (If this doesn’t consistently occur, the Buffs might be forced to use some other scenarios at different times- the Cierra Simpson to 6 rotation outside hitter scenario I mentioned above? Might they have to use a 5-1 setter configuration more often so that G. Simpson is used in the back row for defense rather than as a setter?)

    · Defense is also one area I assume we may also eventually hear of two-three more “still to be announced” freshmen coming in. Since as I understand it only premier DS’s typically receive scholarships, at least as freshmen, the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] time we may hear of some or all of the new DS’s is when the 2015 roster comes out or the Buffs announce something late in the summer. (As is noted in the allbuffs recruiting thread, libero Gabriella Carta-Samuels from California State Champs Archbishop Mitty (also unofficially Maxpreps #8 (in their Xcellent 25) and #1 (computer) ranked team in the country) is listed as possibly coming to the Buffs, but she hasn’t officially signed so who knows at this point if that will happen or not.)

    ____________________________________________________

    A few general wildcard elements I can think of that could help the Buff’s this year in the off-season if they occur:

    1) T. Simpson seemed to benefit and improve A LOT by getting to practice with the National Team training squad and being part of the Pac 12 All Star Team that went to China. Hopefully one or more Buffs will get to practice and train with some sort of all-star team over the off season.

    2) Totally off the wall, but I can’t remember the volleyball team having gone on an international summer tour in many years. (I believe it’s allowed by the NCAA every 4 years or so? I know both basketball teams have had one in the last 2-3 years.) If they are planning on doing this the next year or two, they’re allowed to have some extra summer practices during the year of the tour, as well as getting some additional (no pressure) practice matches. I’d assume this could especially be a BIG help for the incoming freshmen. (I have NO inside information if there are any plans on this actually happening or not.)

    3) Assume it’s obvious for all sports, but of course injuries will play a major role one way or the other. As the difference in the Buff’s play between this past non-conference vs. conference performance showed, the (smart) nursing of A. Austin and N. Edelman injuries by the coaches in non-conference meant we didn’t get a true picture of the Buff’s abilities until conference. This put them a little behind in RPI. Also, I assume the team wasn’t as ready as it would have been come conference play if they’d both been healthy. Hopefully this coming year everyone’s healthy so the Buffs can schedule evermore high RPI AND challenging non-conference teams to help their own RPI, as well as make them as ready as possible for Pac play. (This tougher scheduling has already been happening- last year’s non-conference was probably the toughest in many years.)

    ___________________________________________


    Finally, I wanted to note (and always need to remind myself as a nervous fan) that, of course, the Buffs won’t be the only team with questions next year from losing their star(s) - it’s the nature of college athletics. Off the top of my head, the following Pac 12 teams are also graduating “stars”- Arizona (M. Kingdon), Utah (losing 6 seniors, including their top two kill leaders and one of two main setters), Oregon (L. Brenner and one of two main setters), UCLA (conference kill leader K. Lowe and both of the main setters who've played this year), and of course Washington (Losing two- time Pac 12, and defending national, player of the year K. Vansant, as well as their #2 hitter K. Nelson).
    (Note re Washington- They, Stanford and typically (although they were off this year, relatively at least) USC are the 3 main Pac 12 schools which seem to just re-load as needed with Top 10 to 25 recruits every year or two. Therefore, Washington will I’m sure be fine next year (although maybe not a national champion contender for a year or so?), even without Ms.’s Vansant and Nelson.)

    Anyway- Go Buffs!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014
    buffgal and Uncle Ken like this.
  9. FChairbanks

    FChairbanks muthaka slayer Club Member

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    holy ****...if this isn't rep-worthy material I don't know what is. great work aztec
     
  10. AztecBuff

    AztecBuff Club Member Club Member

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    No life ='s a lot of time for this kind of foolishness!
     
  11. 90sBuff

    90sBuff Club Member Club Member

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    Aztec..... You describe yourself as an ignorant fan. Seriously??? Your post is excellent and very informative! I'd say you definitely have volleyball expertise!

    i did check out the player you mentioned online and it on the AVCA site, colorado is listed as her college choice. I hope that's the case.

    I do think it's fun that we all can talk volleyball and discuss CU's success. I hope coach Kritza stays with us a long, long time. Great things yet to come!!!

     
  12. buffgal

    buffgal Club Member Club Member

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    One thing that hurt the team all season was service errors and attack errors. Those were being made by freshmen and seniors. Need to work on cutting those down. A service error is giving points to the other team.
     
  13. BeBe

    BeBe Club Member Club Member

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    A few random observations that (I think) don't duplicate any of Aztec's great comments:

    Alexis Austin: We have to remember that she came to CU as a Middle Blocker. As a freshman, she was converted to an Outside Hitter and she spent most of that season just learning how to play that position in the front line. Last season she was pretty good in the front row as a hitter. This season, after recovering from her several injuries at the start of the season, she really blossomed as a hitter and, late in the season, we saw her getting more playing time as a 6 rotation OH. Last year, when she was in the back on serve receive, I would cringe because you knew the other team would target her and you also knew that the chances of her shanking the ball were pretty high. This season, although not stellar, she was a decent passer on serve receive more often than not. She was still being targeted by the other teams server but the resulting pass was often pretty good. Her back row defense still needs to improve but she has made good strides each season so I am optimistic she will continue to improve her serve and her defensive coverage.

    Joslyn Hayes : She is eligible for a medical redshirt and should be back full go next season (barring anything else happening.) I expect to see her in the role Ortiz Ruiz had this season.

    The most intriguing of the freshmen, to me, is Naghede Abu. She is a very raw talent as she only has 2 years of playing competitive volleyball. In her first year, she earned all league honors. She also is a high jumper like Kelsey English and, as a basketball player, she led her conference in rebounds and blocks. So we know she can jump and has good timing instincts., We might see her being developed as an outside hitter rather than a middle blocker since I suspect Aiden Lea will remain at middle and the teams greatest remaining unfilled need will be some depth at pin hitter.

    Serving: Coach Kritza seems to be a strong believer in "serving tough". Unfortunately, the flip side of that is you will see more serving errors with that philosophy. I would love to see them cut down on those errors but I will be pleasantly surprised if that actually happens.
     
  14. buffgal

    buffgal Club Member Club Member

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    Saw some of the serving tough errors yesterday in those 4 NCAA tourney matches.

    We also make a lot of attack errors.
     
  15. cmgoods

    cmgoods Olympic Sports Mod Club Member

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    I think that next season is really going to come down to how well everyone reacts to probably not having a player be able to carry the team like Taylor did.
     

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