Just about everything went wrong in the University of Northern Colorado’s volleyball match Friday night.
UNC (5-5) fell to Cal Poly (2-7) in a three set sweep (22-25, 23-25, 20-25) that was riddled with errors and miscommunication. In all phases of play, UNC combined for 35 total errors.
“They were not controlling the controllables, and that is frustrating as a coach,” UNC head coach Lyndsey Oates said. “I know the team’s frustrated, too — it’s not at them, it’s with them — that we are not taking care of the things that we need to take charge of.”
Twenty-one errors came on the attack, which was the second-highest for a match this season, seven from the service line and multiple on receptions.
Sophomore hitter Annette Baker and graduate hitter Kailey Jo Ince finished with six and seven attacking errors, respectively. Ince, who typically leads the squad on the attack, finished with six kills and seven errors for a negative hitting percentage. She also accounted for three of the team’s four reception errors.
Baker and Ince can’t shoulder the blame, though. Almost every player who saw the floor committed at least one error.
Plus, there were plays that were scored as kills or aces for the Mustangs but might have been considered mistakes in the Bears’ eyes.
Oates can’t attribute those lapses to just one thing, and they were mostly self-inflicted. There were times when Northern Colorado played soft and had communication breakdowns. The passing and setting wasn’t as clean as it’s been before. UNC didn’t always give enough effort to get the ball up and extend the play, either.
“It’s several different things,” Oates said. “We just weren’t good enough in any aspect, quite honestly. We weren’t the more aggressive team. You’ve got to give credit to Cal Poly, but we certainly didn’t put up our best match.”
UNC finished with a hitting percentage of just .156 compared to Cal Poly’s .292.
The Mustangs only finished with 40 kills to the Bears’ 38, but they had fewer errors, as well. It was the second-fewest kills for UNC in a match this season.
On the block, Northern Colorado finished with just three versus nine.
Despite picking up some impressive early wins against North Carolina and Colorado State, the Bears have gone through a recent skid. In past seasons, UNC has gone through short rough periods, but this is different.
“I would say it is unusual that we are going through this long of a stretch where we can’t quite figure it out as a group,” Oates said. “We’ve just got to keep at it, though. It’s early in the season. We’ve just got to keep at it to be playing our best volleyball in November. We have the talent. We haven’t put it together yet.”
UNC will be back in action against Santa Clara on Saturday. First serve is scheduled for 6 pm at Bank of Colorado Arena.