BOULDER, Colo. -- Another strong start had Saint Mary's in good position after one set Saturday but Colorado would rally to win the next three as the host Buffaloes knocked off the Gaels 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-22 to earn a split for the weekend.
Jordan Shaw put away 18 kills and added 13 digs for Saint Mary's. Dalas Dodd had 43 assists and 14 digs and Kristina Graven chipped in with 14 kills and 11 digs. Alexis Austin led Colorado with 13 kills.
Saint Mary's (1-1) won Friday's match in four sets, and the Gaels expected a hungry bunch of Buffaloes to take the court Saturday in Boulder.
That was certainly the case, but the momentum of a night earlier carried over into the first set for Saint Mary's. A service error by Colorado provided the final point of the set, giving the Gaels the early lead.
Colorado (1-1) began to win the battle at the net in the second set, using a strong set of blockers to build a 17-11 lead. The Gaels battled back, going on a 10-2 run to take a 21-19 lead. A kill by Natalie Loos and a block by Rachel Gillcrist capped the run, giving Saint Mary's the two-point advantage. The Buffaloes managed to shift the set back in their favor, and a kill by Taylor Simpson punctuated a 6-2 run and gave Colorado the 25-23 set victory.
"It did not come as a surprise to us that Colorado played much better tonight," Saint Mary's coach Rob Browning said. "We really got them on their heels last night but they responded the way we expected them to and tonight's match was much more competitive throughout. They received serve much better tonight and we struggled in that area, especially the first half of the match. Kristina, Jordan and Sarah (Reams) settled down and passed much better later in the match. We seemed a little tight early on but we played better as the match went on."
In the third, Colorado took control midway through the set, building an 18-12 lead. Again, the Gaels responded. Danica Mendivil would score five of six Saint Mary's points at one point, closing the deficit to to 21-20. Colorado closed out the set from there, with Alexis Austin's kill giving the Buffaloes a 25-21 win.
The teams went back and forth again in the fourth, and remained tied at 22 late in the set. The final three points went Colorado's way, and a block by the Buffaloes gave them the final point and match victory.
"This is more about Colorado playing much better tonight than us not playing well," Browning said. "If Colorado had played like they did last night we probably would've won in three or four again. We are good and we are going to get better. That's why we schedule matches like this and the others we have ahead of us."
Saint Mary's returns home this week and will host Miami on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the Gaels' home opener. Air Force visits McKeon Pavilion on Saturday at 7 p.m. to wrap up the two-match weekend. For tickets, visit the Tickets link on SMCGaels.com or call the SMC Athletic Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.