UCLA transfer Lexi Hadrych makes quick impact with CU Buffs volleyball

·4 min read

Aug. 26—Lexi Hadrych arrived in Colorado only about two months ago. It took her all of two sets for her to make a game-changing impact on the Buffaloes' volleyball team.

CU opened the 2022 campaign on Friday morning in the first match of the Buffs Invitational and made quick work of Green Bay, posting a 25-10, 26-24, 25-20 sweep at the CU Events Center.

The Buffs continued a tough weekend by downing Western Michigan in four sets on Friday night and are set to cap the tournament with a battle against Denver on Saturday (6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks). Saturday's match will be the first meeting between the state rivals since 2009. It also will be the first time CU head coach Jesse Mahoney will face the Pioneers since he moved to CU from DU following the 2015 season.

A graduate transfer from UCLA, Hadrych took the spotlight late in the second set against Green Bay, as she helped the Buffs rally from a near-certain loss that would have resulted in a split of the first two sets and allowed CU to make quick work of Green Bay to start the busy weekend.

"I've loved it ever since I came here. It's been really exciting," said Hadrych, a native of Murrieta, California. "I love the mountains, the academics, the athletics. I knew Jesse and the whole coaching staff when I was younger in high school and the recruiting kind of thing. I just fell in love with the campus, and this team is amazing. Everybody is so nice."

If Hadrych has been slow to make friends at all, she certainly changed that with her performance on Friday morning. CU scored 15 of the final 18 points in the opening against Green Bay set but were pushed to the brink in the second, with Green Bay sitting at set point with a 24-20 lead.

Hadrych began the comeback with a pair of kills and added the tying kill following a point from Meegan Hart. The Buffs took the lead on a Green Bay serving error and completed the comeback on a kill from Jill Schneggenburger. The Buffs never trailed in the third set but had to hold off a late Green Bay charge by scoring six of the final seven points.

Hart finished with a team-high 14 kills, followed by 13 from Hadrych and 10 from Maya Tabron. Schneggenburger recorded 12 digs.

"It was a good match to get going," Mahoney said. "I thought it was a little stop and go for us. We played so well in the first set. That's about as clean a volleyball set as you can have. Not that I like to be behind in the second set, but it was a good opportunity to fight back and really dial-in and play well. That's hard to do, no matter who you're playing."

Although the Buffs played without Jahara Campbell (concussion) and Sterling Parker, Mahoney substituted liberally with his team facing three matches in about 32 hours. Senior Katie Lougeay got the start at libero but frequently gave way to fellow senior Savannah Perry. Taylor Simpson got the start at setter and finished with 27 assists, though she also shared time with Brynna DeLuzio (11 assists).

Parker has been fully cleared in her recovery from shoulder surgery about 11 months ago, and while Mahoney said she would be brought along slowly, he also said he hoped to get her on the floor before the end of the weekend. She did play off the bench in the win against Western Michigan.

"We've got a lot of depth, and it kind of cuts both ways," Mahoney said. "There are a lot of people fighting and doing good things at practice who deserve opportunities in matches. But there's only so many kids that can be out on the floor. This match and maybe some others this weekend, we're going to try to reward some kids that are still in the mix for some spots."

Colorado 3, Green Bay 0

Green Bay 10 24 20

Colorado 25 26 25

LEADERS

Kills — Green Bay: Coughlin 8, Paalman 5. Colorado: Hart 14, Hadrych 13, Tabron 10.

Assists — Green Bay: Johnson 14, Gentry 11. Colorado: Simpson 27, DeLuzio 11.

Aces — Green Bay: Gentry 2. Colorado: Tabron 2, Schneggenburger 2.

Blocks — Green Bay: Gromos 4, Coughlin 3. Colorado: Kuehl 7, Simpson 4.

Digs — Green Bay: Zakutney 12, Lass 8. Colorado: Schneggenburger 12, Tabron 9, Lougeay 6.

Colorado 3, Western Michigan 1

W. Michigan 25 24 18 17

Colorado 22 25 25 25

LEADERS

Kills — Western Michigan: Marr 17, King 12. Colorado: Hart 14, Tabron 11, Hadrych 10.

Assists — Western Michigan: Case 43. Colorado: Simpson 40.

Aces — Western Michigan: King 3. Colorado: Tabron 3.

Blocks — Western Michigan: Wilcoxson 5, Glanton 5. Colorado: Hart 5, Kuehl 4.

Digs — Western Michigan: Simkins 13, Boyer 10. Colorado: Lougeay 17, Tabron 12.