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The Colorado volleyball team is a much-improved club that coach Jesse Mahoney believes is getting better each week.

Still, the Buffaloes weren’t quite good enough to topple one of the top teams in the nation on Friday night.

CU bounced back from a rough opening set against No. 8 Stanford to give the visiting Cardinal a battle, but Stanford managed to escape the CU Events Center with a four-set win (25-13, 20-25, 25-20, 25-23) in a Pac-12 Conference showdown.

It was the Buffs’ ninth loss in their past 10 matches against ranked foes, with the only win during that span occurring on Sept. 3 at home against an Illinois team that was ranked 19th at the time. It also was CU’s first loss at home this season after a 7-0 start.

The Buffs have lost 12 consecutive matches against the Cardinal, which improved its dominant lead in the all-time series against CU to 25-1.

“Outside of that first set when we got stuck in rotation one for 10 or 11 points, I really felt like we played well and were toe-to-toe and the match could have gone either way,” Mahoney said. “We had a couple opportunities there to close it out (in the fourth set) to close it out and get it into the fifth, but that didn’t happen.

“That being said, a lot of really good stuff. I thought we served and passed particularly well. When one of our main scorers struggles, someone else has to step up. We’re still looking for that spark a little bit.”

Stanford (9-4, 4-1 Pac-12) reeled off 14 consecutive points to post a 25-13 win in the opening set, but the Buffs battled the rest of the way. CU pulled even with a 25-20 win in the second set but couldn’t quite take the match lead in the third, as the Cardinal held off the Buffs by scoring the final three points of the frame.

CU (11-4, 3-2) rallied from a 22-19 deficit late in the fourth set, netting four consecutive points on a kill from Sterling Parker and three straight aces from Taylor Simpson to take a 23-22 lead. Stanford, however, once again scored the final three points to secure the win.

“It sucks to lose and it sucks to lose at home, but I don’t really view this match as a tough loss,” Simpson said. “Stanford is a tough team and I think we played really well against them besides the first set. I think we did a lot of good things and I really think it could’ve been anyone’s game. It sucks, but it’s also I think a little bit of a confidence (boost) for us that we can stay neck-and-neck with a top-10 team.”

The Buffs complete the homestand on Sunday at 1 p.m. against Cal. CU has topped the Bears in five consecutive matches and in nine of the past 10.

No. 8 Stanford 3, Colorado 1

S    25 20 25 25

CU 13 25 20 23


Kills — Stanford: Kipp 22, Rubin 16, Francis 11, Baird 10. CU: Hadrych 15, Tabron 8, Kuehl 8.

Assists — Stanford: Miner 52. CU: Simpson 22.

Aces — Stanford: Kipp 4. CU: Simpson 3.

Blocks — Stanford: Francis 8, Miner 4. CU: Kuehl 4, Hadrych 4.

Digs — Stanford: Oglivie 17, Miner 15, Rubin 11, Baird 10. CU: DeLuzio 13, Simpson 11, Lougeay 10.