Colorado snaps 5-game losing streak with homecoming victory over Stanford

The Colorado Buffaloes football team hosted the Stanford Cardinal for its 105th homecoming game at Folsom Field in Boulder. In honor of Veterans Day on Monday Nov. 11, Saturday’s matchup against Stanford served as CU’s annual Military Appreciation Day.

For the Buffs, a dreadful effort defensively in the first quarter last week against UCLA put it in a 17-0 hole, which eventually proved too much to overcome. Inconsistent play from redshirt senior quarterback Steven Montez and an inexperienced secondary has plagued Colorado during its 5-game losing streak.

Meanwhile, the return of senior quarterback K.J. Costello last week sparked the Cardinal offense. Costello threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-31 victory over Arizona on Nov. 2. The Buffs would be tested by a balanced Stanford attack that has the ability to stretch the field with Costello at quarterback.

Colorado showed balance of their first drive. Sophomore running back Alex Fontenot carried the ball four times for 34 yards. Fontenot’s success on the ground led to a Montez touchdown rush on a read option keeper around the left side. The redshirt senior recorded 22 yards rushing during the Buffs’ first offensive possession. Following the score, Montez eclipsed 10,000 career all-purpose yards. Colorado led 7-0 early.

Stanford responded with a balanced drive of their own. Costello completed passes to four different receivers, but a tackle for loss from senior outside linebacker Davion Taylor forced the Cardinal to settle for a field goal just outside the red zone. Stanford cut the Colorado lead to four.

Head coach Mel Tucker said after the game in his mind scoring defense vital. No matter the yards gained, as long as you bend but don’t break, that’s a win.

“In order to play good defense, you have to hold people to low numbers,” Tucker said. “The most important stat is scoring defense. To hold a team to 13 points or less is really our goal. We played probably our best defense of the season in that regard. Guys continue to chop wood, play hard, be physical and have relentless effort.”

A holding penalty against the Buffs on fourth down wiped out a muffed punt fumble recovery, which would’ve set up Colorado inside the red zone. Instead, the Cardinal retained possession after the re-punt. The Buffs defense held though after deflecting a Costello pass on third down. Colorado led 7-3 after one quarter.

After a 29-yard reception from junior wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. early in the second quarter, Montez threw an interception on a slant pattern ending a promising Colorado drive. The ensuing Cardinal drive stalled in the red zone and ended in a field goal after freshman safety Mark Perry force a hurried throw from Costello. Stanford trailed 7-6.

The Buffs were unable to find success on offense after Stanford’s second field goal. But, Colorado’s defense stood tall, putting pressure on Costello and forcing a turnover. Junior safety Derrion Rakestraw came up with the interception.

Tucker mentioned and eluded to the idea of “complimentary football” multiple times after the game, something the Buffs executed defensively, maintaining slim leads, forcing turnovers and limiting the big play in order to give the offense a chance.

Montez distributed the ball well on the Buffs’ possession late in the second quarter. The senior completed passes to Shenault Jr., sophomore wide receiver Maurice Bell and junior wide receiver K.D. Nixon. However, the drive ended in a field goal after back-to-back quarterback hurries from the Cardinal defense. The Buffs led 10-6 at the half.

A pass interference penalty on Taylor deep in Stanford territory extended the opening drive of the second half for the Cardinal. Nine plays later, redshirt freshman defensive tackle Jalen Sami came up with a stop on third down in the red zone for Colorado. Stanford missed the ensuing field goal.

The Buffs struggled on offense in the third quarter, but the defense held strong. Junior defensive end Mustafa Johnson and sophomore defensive end Terrance Lang came up with back-to-back sacks and forced a Stanford punt late in the third quarter. Colorado maintained a four-point edge.

Tucker said the plan of attack on defense was to force Stanford into third down and obvious passing situations. Once they did that, Colorado could get after the passer.

“We knew that if we got them to third down, we would be able to attack their protections and get to the quarterback,” Tucker said. “We just really needed our rush and our coverage to work together. The past three or four games on third down we had been able to get to the quarterback. We have been able to hit him. We just needed to have some sound coverage behind it.”

The Cardinal offense finally found the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter. Costello hit sophomore wide receiver Simi Fehoko in stride for a 79-yard scoring strike. Stanford led 13-10. Colorado responded with a balanced drive, which included a conversion of fourth and one deep in Cardinal territory. The Buffs had to settle for a short field goal, tying the game at 13 with just over seven minutes to play.

On the ensuing Stanford possession Taylor came up huge for the Buffs, recording a pass break up and tackle on second and third down consecutively. The Cardinal were forced to punt after three plays in their own territory. Taylor talked about the two consecutive plays.

“The last two plays I had a feeling they were going to get him [Stanford TE Colby Parkinson] to the sticks,” Taylor said. “I tried to make sure there was great eye discipline and focus on the things we predicted this week. The next play was the same thing. Having eye discipline and not looking back at the quarterback and try to make a play.”

The Buffs took over with six minutes left in the contest. Montez and freshman Jaren Mangham used their legs to start the drive. A pass interference call on Stanford helped continue the possession. Later, Colorado handed the ball off to Shenault Jr. on fourth down and one…. I’ll just let the video speak for itself.

Tucker said the play on fourth and one is just another example of Shenault Jr.’s competitive fire and desire to win.

“I’ve said it every week,” Tucker said. “He is a tough kid and cares about this team. He is going to give us what he’s got, and he is going to show up for us. That was a prime example. Big time players make big time plays in the crunch time and that’s what that was.”

The Buffs drove to the 17-yard line and redshirt freshman kicker Evan Price hit a 37-yard walk off field goal to give Colorado the 16-13 win.  Colorado will have the week off following today’s homecoming game against Stanford. The Buffs will host Washington in two weeks on Saturday, Nov. 23. The time has yet to be announced.

 

Freshman Jaylyn Sherrod leads Buffs to victory in exhibition

The Colorado Buffaloes women’s basketball team hosted Regis in an exhibition game Monday night in Boulder at the CU Events Center. Colorado defeated the Rangers 92-45.

Sophomore forward Peanut Tuitele opened the scoring for the Buffs following a three-minute drought to begin the game. Colorado took advantage of the size difference inside, finding junior forward Mya Hollingshed for an easy layup for the Buffs’ second basket.

Despite shooting a low percentage early, the Rangers were persistent of the glass, grabbing multiple offensive rebounds and capitalizing on the inside with second chance points. Freshman guard Jaylyn Sherrod provided a spark for the Buffs, knocking down a three, converting an and-one, and assisting on a fast break layup on three consecutive possessions. Colorado jumped out to a 14-6 lead.

Head coach JR Payne talked about Sherrod’s performance postgame. Payne said even though it’s just an exhibition, it counts in her mind.

“I mean I count that,” Payne said. “I even said in the locker room your (Jaylyn Sherrod’s) first collegiate game: 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists, one turnover, a couple blocks. It’s a great stat line and Jaylyn’s a great player. She’s going to be a great Buff for years to come.”

Regis continued to struggle on the offensive end, finishing the first quarter shooting 17 percent from the field. Sherrod led the Buffs with eight points and four rebounds after the first ten minutes. The Buffs led 20-6.

Sherrod’s playmaking continued in the second quarter, finding freshman guard Zuzanna Kulinska for an and-one to extend the Colorado lead to 16. After struggling early on, sophomore guard Emma Clarke knocked down a three to add to the already commanding lead for the Buffs.

Sherrod found senior guard Quinessa Cayloa-Do for an and-one late in the second quarter to push the Colorado lead to 30. Sherrod pulled up for a jumper with a few seconds left in the half to give the Buffs a 47-12 lead at halftime.

Sherrod admitted that she was nervous to begin the game, but after the first few plays she settled in.

“When I first started I was kind of nervous,” Sherrod said. “I told Aubrey (Knight) that I was so jittery. But, it was just good to get out there and play, being that I haven’t played in a minute, even going back to high school. So, it was just a good opportunity and a good chance to get back out there.”

Redshirt sophomore guard Aubrey Knight knocked down a jumper at the top of the key for open the third quarter scoring for the Buffaloes. A transition layup from Clarke capped a 7-0 run for Colorado. Unselfish play on the offensive end kept the Buffs efficient from the field, shooting 59 percent through three quarters.

Despite holding a 39-point lead early in the fourth quarter Colorado’s activity level remained high on both ends, grabbing multiple offensive rebounds and attacking the rim. Freshman guard Raanee Smith set up Knight for an and-one opportunity after coming up with a steal.

Payne liked the Buffs’ persistence and high energy, which translated into rebounds on both ends.

“I’m just thrilled with our effort tonight,” Payne said. “I thought we played extremely hard. We want to be the toughest, hardest-working, most disciplined team and I thought in a lot of ways we were that team tonight. (I) love our rebounding effort, to out rebound somebody by 25, especially Regis, who’s a very good rebounding team, was great.

Sherrod pushed the ball in transition and found junior forward Annika Jank for a corner three. Colorado led 87-38 late in the fourth quarter. Sherrod attacked the Regis press late and put back her own miss to give the Buffs a 50-point lead. Colorado defeated Regis 92-45.

Sherrod said after the game that she prides herself on her ability to bring a relentless energy and effort to the court and it showed Monday night.

“I pride myself on what I do best is what I bring to the team and if I don’t do my job I let my team down,” Sherrod said. “And my job is energy so bringing that to the team every night is what I pride myself on.”

The Buffs open the regular season Sunday, November 10 against New Jersey Institute of Technology in Boulder. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m. MST.

Colorado falls 35-31 to USC

The Colorado Buffaloes football team fell to the USC Trojans 35-31 on Friday night in Boulder. A lackadaisical performance in the fourth quarter allowed the Trojans to take the lead late and ultimately secure the victory.

Colorado’s defense put up little resistance on USC’s first possession. A 37-yard TD rush from sophomore wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown capped a three-play 75-yard scoring drive to put the Trojans up 7-0 less than a minute into the game. The Buffs responded with a balanced drive that stalled in the red zone and ended with a 22-yard field goal from junior kicker James Stefanou.

Freshman cornerback K.J. Trujillo intercepted USC freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis at the Buffs’ 38-yard line on the Trojans second possession. On the ensuing drive, an 18-yard back shoulder pass from redshirt senior quarterback Steven Montez to senior wide receiver Tony Brown gave the Buffs the ball at the USC two. Junior wide receiver K.D. Nixon capped the Buffs’ second offensive possession with a 7-yard TD reception. Colorado led 10-7. Montez and sophomore running back Alex Fontenot provided an offensive spark with their legs, rushing for 28 and 31 yards respectively through the first quarter.

A sack from Trujillo forced a quick USC three-and-out. The freshman from Buena Park, California stepped up for the Buffs  in the first half. Colorado needed someone to provide a spark in the secondary with junior Mekhi Blackmon out for the season due to shoulder surgery and the overall lack of depth in the secondary. Trujillo talked about the impact the defense had early.

“In the first half we executed really well,” Trujillo said. “We had a lot of three-and-outs, turnover, just a lot of big plays all around. Our d-line and linebackers were putting a lot of pressure on the quarterback allowing the secondary to execute our jobs and make it easier for us.”

The Buffs’ running back duo, Fontenot and freshman Jaren Mangham, got a steady dose of work during Colorado’s first four offensive possessions. In addition, Montez’s effectiveness rushing gave the Colorado offense balance in the first half.

A pair of receptions from junior wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. put the Buffs in scoring position with just over seven minutes left in the second quarter. Nixon put Colorado up 17-7 a few plays later with another 7-yard TD reception (his second of the game). Senior wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and St. Brown provided the response for the Trojans. USC drove down into the red zone. Slovis connected with freshman tailback Kenan Christon for a walk-in touchdown to cut the Buffs’ lead to three (17-14) with just under three minutes left in the first half. Penalties on both sides of the ball for Colorado stalled offensive drives and extended USC possessions through the first two quarters. The Buffs clung to a three point lead at the half.

Shenault Jr. took a 71-yard slant pass to the house to open up the third quarter on the second play of the drive for the Buffs. Colorado extended their lead to ten. The Trojans responded when Slovis connected with redshirt junior wide receiver Tyler Vaugns for a 21-yard touchdown early in the third quarter. Colorado led 24-21.

Shenault Jr. rushed for 17 yards on fourth and two from inside USC territory to keep the Buffs’ second posssession of the third quarter alive. Montez mentioned that early in the game the Trojans were playing man-to-man with Shenault Jr., something the Buffs took advantage of in the first half.

“There were playing a lot of man coverage on him, anybody that knows anything about Laviska, man coverage is not for Laviska because he will tear you apart,” Montez said.

Montez capped a eight play 66-yard drive with a 17-yard TD rush to push the lead to ten. In addition to 45 rushing yards, Montez threw for over 300 yards and 3 TDs. His ability to not only run, but extend passing plays with his legs provided the Colorado offense with a much needed lift. Head coach Mel Tucker talked about Montez’s bounce-back performance following two tough losses on the road.

“It’s not the first time he has played like that this year,” Tucker said. “He has played a lot of good football for us. We had a tough stretch but, like I’ve said before, I feel like he is a good player. We have to help to play better around him. He had to make some better decisions. I have a lot of confidence in him. He works really hard. It’s important to him and he cares. He’s becoming a leader for us. I have a lot of respect for Steven for the way he’s hung in there and handled himself.”

Slovis continued to take advantage of the Buffs’ inexperience in the secondary, using the whole field to drive the football down into the red zone on the Trojans second possession of the third quarter. Freshman safety Mark Perry recorded a tackle-for-loss on a third down to push USC just outside the red zone. The Trojans missed a 40-yard field goal on the ensuing play.

Penalties continued to plague the Buffaloes in the second half, providing the Trojans with free yardage extending their offensive drives and killing the Buffs offensive momentum. Tucker said that it’s tough to win games when a team commits that many penalties.

“But you know when you have 13 penalties for 100 yards, it’s just really hard to win like that,” Tucker said. “I mean every 100 yards is a touchdown. When we don’t turn the ball over and we get takeaways then we always have a chance to win and that was the case. But, we just have to be more disciplined. We got to have less penalties and we got to do our jobs a lot better.”

Colorado held a 31-28 lead with just over eight minutes left in regulation. Montez completed a 19-yard pass to Brown on third and eight to extend the Buffs’ drive. But, Colorado was unable to convert on third and four from just inside USC territory. The Buffs stayed with the air attack for most of the fourth quarter, something some people questioned after the game. When asked about if he should’ve stuck with the ground game late, Tucker said, no.

“I don’t look it like that,” Tucker said. “I thought we called a good game and we were aggressive and they were having a really hard time covering our guys. We took our shots.”

Pittman capped a four minute 90-yard drive for the Trojans with a 37-yard TD reception to give USC a 35-31 lead with 2:15 left in the game. Fontenot came up short on fourth down for the Buffs on the ensuing drive. The Trojans came away with a 35-31 road victory.

Both Tucker and Montez said after the game that, despite the loss, there some things the Buffs did well on both sides of the ball.

“We ran the ball on our terms and we were able to be efficient throwing the football,” Tucker said. “We finished in the red zone, didn’t turn the ball over. So, there were some positives there.”

Montez added that he doesn’t like the idea of a “moral victory.” He said Colorado needed to do a bit more to finish the game and come out on top.

“I mean yeah I’m not real big into moral victories.” Montez said. “I think we did some positive things, some things that we can definitely build on in the future, but just got to do a little bit more and get it done, just plain and simple that’s what it is. (We) got to do a little bit more and get it done.”

Colorado will travel to Los Angeles to play the UCLA Bruins next Saturday Nov. 2. The game time and TV coverage is still TBD.

Jack Johnson: America’s First Pop Culture Icon

Jack Johnson was one the biggest anomalies the sports world had ever seen in the early 20th century. Not only because of his reign as heavyweight champion from 1908 until 1915, but because of his personality both in and outside of the ring. He was “brash, taunted his opponents, dated white women and openly enjoyed the luxuries of his wealth” (Eligon and Thorp). Johnson comported himself this way in a time where a majority of the black population faced frequent, violence, discrimination and lynching during the height of the Jim Crow era. Perhaps it was his cocky disposition that infatuated the media across racial lines even long after his death in a time where blacks were expected “know their place” in society.

Boxing during the early 1900s was incomparable in terms of the amount of people it captivated and the influence it had on overall society. Even today, with the popularity of the NFL and recent traction of the NBA pales in comparison to what boxing meant to America in the early part of the 20th century. Boxing’s positioning in American society put Johnson, inseparable from his race when covered by journalists, in a unique position of power among both whites and blacks while he held the heavyweight championship for seven years (Eligon and Thorp). According to American essayist Dr. Gerald Early and PBS. Org “Not even the most famous race leaders of the day, Booker T. Washington, president of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, and W. E. B. Du Bois, founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and editor of that organization’s magazine, The Crisis, could claim anywhere near the attention Johnson received” (Early). Attention in the sports world translated to power and thus social influence.

It wasn’t just the popularity of the boxing that kept Johnson at the top of the sports world. His defiance of the unspoken rules regarding blacks during the Jim Crow era and blatant disregard for the social hierarchy of the time period, made Johnson, much like any modern-day pop culture icon, the subject of constant media attention. One could make the argument that popular culture as we know it today was very much in its infancy in the early 20th century. Sports (and more specifically boxing), which play a large role in popular culture today, were just beginning to flex their influential muscle in shaping society. Movies, films, and music production were just beginning to become more widespread and eventually begin to impact society. Johnson, in a time where all the aspects that shape popular culture were beginning to gain traction, was the first pop culture celebrity thrust to the forefront of American society. Every part of Johnson’s life, including his sex life, was newsworthy to both colored and white newsrooms. Johnson flaunted his wealth, his automobiles, and his women (Early).

Johnson polarizing nature ensured news coverage would follow. Many whites were perturbed by the idea of the time period’s most iconic white women were “romantically linked” with Johnson (Black History in America). The heavyweight boxer “was a public menace for many, a public hero for some, admired and demonized, feared, misunderstood, and ridiculed (Early). What made Johnson’s popularity even more unique is that he wasn’t the first black man or former slave, to find a temporary career in boxing. Joe Walcott was welterweight champion from 1901 to 1904 and Joe Gans was lightweight champion from 1902 to 1904. In addition, former slaves Bill Richmond and Tom Molyneaux found success boxing in England during the late 18th and early 19th century (Early).

It’s difficult to compare Johnson to any one modern day pop culture icon within sports primarily because of his rise to fame during the height of one of the most difficult times in U.S. history for African Americans. Nobody past or present in sports carried themselves quite like Johnson. His bold disobedience to the existing racial hierarchy and personal transgressions often garnered more attention than his accomplishments within the ring (Carrie Teresa). His disposition and “wrongdoings” according to white society in the early 20th century helped to maintain his popularity and kept the press, both colored and white covering his every move, no matter if it was an accomplishment in boxing or an intimate personal affair.

Despite extensive coverage of his external affairs, white newspapers did everything they could to try and disparage Johnson’s victories over many opponents. After Johnson’s victory over the former heavyweight champion James J. Jefferies, the New York Times claimed Jeffries had been drugged leading up to fight (Eligon and Thorp). These attempts to belittle Johnson’s accomplishments in the ring could not change his defiance in a society where blacks were subordinate and despised. Johnson became a symbol. He used his societal status to empower African Americans across the nation and captivated the media in the process with his acts that conflicted with the norms of the time period. Johnson’s influence extended far beyond any other athlete during the early 20th century. He was America’s first pop culture icon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapa leads Buffs to win over Arizona State

The Colorado Buffaloes women’s soccer team hosted the Arizona State Sun Devils Saturday afternoon at Prentup Field in Boulder for the Buffs’ “Kick-Out-Cancer” match. The Buffs, led by junior defender Gabbi Chapa, snapped a two-game losing streak and recorded their second win in conference play, beating Arizona State 2-1.

For Colorado, a difficult road trip to California last week cumulated in two losses for the Buffs against No. 22 UCLA and No. 4 USC. Senior goalkeeper Jalen “J.J.” Tompkins was busy last Saturday versus the Trojans, making a season-high 11 saves in a losing effort.

For the Sun Devils, a matchup on the road against No.15 Washington State last Sunday ended in a 0-0 draw after two overtimes. Arizona State looked to grab its first win in Pac-12 play against the Buffs on Saturday afternoon.

After suffering two losses on the road to Top-25 ranked teams, Colorado head coach Danny Sanchez knew it was important get off to a fast start early against Arizona State.

“Every game in the Pac-12 is like this,” Sanchez said following the win. “It doesn’t matter where you are in the standings. Arizona State is a very good team. It was a great start for us. The way they play, their tough to defend and I thought we really did a good job of limiting their clear-cut opportunities.”

Assistant coach Jason Green made defense a priority for the Buffs against the Sun Devils, emphasizing to his players to make Arizona State “play negative.” Sanchez said that’s always the goal defensively.

“(If) they (Arizona State) turn and face and play make, you’re going to be in trouble,” Sanchez said. “So, I thought for the most part we did a really good job of that. Even at midfield make them play negative so we can have an opportunity to get people behind the ball.”

Colorado opened the scoring early in the second minute when Chapa scored her first goal as a Buff unassisted. The transfer from Illinois played primarily a defensive role for Colorado last season recording just one shot on goal during her first season in Boulder.

The Buffs generated a couple scoring chances late in the first half. Freshman forward Kyla Ferry received a pass from senior forward Taylor Kornieck and put a shot toward the right corner only to be saved by the Sun Devil keeper.

Early in the second half, Chapa fed freshman forward Tessa Barton, who nutmegged the Arizona State keeper to give the Buffs a 2-0 lead in the 49th  minute.

Following a tremendous performance, Chapa talked through the early goal and what she saw on the play.

“I just kind of saw that I had no pressure on and I just kept dribbling,” Chapa said. “Both center backs kind of tried to step up to me and I just slid on by and aimed for the net.”

Chapa added that getting off to a fast start after suffering two road losses was critical to Colorado’s success.

“It was crucial,” Chapa said. “It was crucial to get the W today. We kind of had a rocky last two weekends, so we really needed to come out and play as a team and get one, get a W.”

The Sun Devils responded in the 78th minute when freshman midfielder Dai Williams put a shot past Tompkins to cut the Buffs’ lead to one. Arizona State kept the pressure on until the whistle blew but couldn’t get the equalizer.

Colorado escaped with a 2-1 victory. Next up, the Buffs host No. 2 Stanford at Prentup field Thursday afternoon. The match is set to begin at 3 p.m. MST.

 

Crafted by JUCO, Colorado guard Maddox Daniels ready for significant role with Buffs

Colorado men’s basketball junior guard Maddox Daniels grew up with a burning desire to play division one college basketball. Daniels went to high school in Beverley Hills, California alongside his twin brother, Mason. After attending prep school at Montverde Academy in Florida in hopes of garnering attention, Daniels graduated high school without a single division one offer.

Daniels and his brother went to junior college in Fort Myers, Florida at SouthWestern State College. Their, the two led the Buccaneers to a record of 60-6 in two seasons, reaching the NJCAA National Tournament quarterfinal twice. Daniels averaged over just 11 points per game and shot 42% from beyond the arc during his junior college career.

“Going in as a freshman, I was just working on my body, starting to learn the game more,” Maddox said. “I had great coaches there. Coach Marty Richter and then coach Eric Murphy. I just worked on all aspects of my game. Definitely the biggest thing was just my physicality, working on my body.”

Mason said his brother’s decision to attend college in Florida helped him further develop his game and was happy they could share the experience together.

“I definitely think that (Florida) for Maddox was one of the best decisions he’s ever made,” Mason said. “I know he’ll probably say that too, just because of the people he met and how much better he got being there. I’m just glad I could come there with him.”

His sophomore year as FSW, Daniels’ developed leadership ability. The experience Daniels gained leading a team to back to back postseason tournament appearances allowed his maturity to evolve in just two years in JUCO with the Buccaneers.

“My sophomore year, I just really felt comfortable on the court and I was leading,” Daniels said. “It was really great to see hard work pay off because coming out of high school no offers, went to prep school, nothing and I just kept working, trust the process and that’s what I’m going to continue to do here.”

CU basketball head coach Tad Boyle and assistant coach Mike Rohn made an initial impact on Daniels after spending time in Fort Myers for the second half of Maddox’s sophomore season. Daniels said once he took a visit to Boulder, he knew it was the place for him.

“Coach Rohn and coach Boyle started talking to me toward the second half of the (junior college) season in the spring and they both came down … to see me in Fort Myers,” Daniels said. “I really liked the school. (Rohn and Boyle) were just there consistently all through the second half of the season, through the playoffs, through the wins, through the losses, through everything. Once I came and took my visit (to Colorado) and met all the players, all the coaches and everybody else beyond coach Boyle and coach Rohn, I knew this was the place to be. It was an easy decision.”

Health, wellness and fitness are integral parts of the lives of Daniels and his brother. The twins feed off and motivate each other in these areas and life in general. Mason said because of Boulder’s notoriety as a hub for health and wellness, Daniels felt right at home.

“I was happy for him,” Mason said. “I remember he called me on the phone and he was like, ‘man, it’s amazing here.’ We have a lot of other interests apart from basketball and we enjoy taking care our bodies and stuff like that. So, this was something that, being in Boulder, a health and fitness capital, was a big-time thing for him. He loved the coaches. They really wanted him, so I just told him ‘yeah bro, it seems like a no-brainer.’”

Since arriving on campus early this summer, Daniels has made the improving his defensive skillset a priority. He said there a few small details to learn that will come with practice, but defense and decision-making were the focus over the summer leading up to the Buffs’ exhibition with Pomona-Pitzer on October 26.

“I would definitely say defensively as far as just guarding the ball,” Daniels said. “I need to get better as far as positioning, the little things that are different from what I’m used to as far as playing help side defense. But, I would say defensively and making quicker decisions.”

Daniels added that from an offensive standpoint, it’ll start with perimeter shooting, providing a spark for the Buffs by moving without the ball and catching and shooting.

“Definitely it’s going to start with being able to bring in shooting on the perimeter, playing with confidence,” Daniels said. “That’s the biggest thing we talked about, being a perimeter presence that spaces the floor. When I get a look, just knocking it down be confident about it. And improve on my own game as we go, whatever the team needs. We’re focused on winning games, so whatever that entails that’s what I want to do.”

Daniels said it’ll be important for him to “fit in smoothly”. The 6-foot 6-inch forward from Suwanee, Georgia will likely spell junior forward D’Shawn Schwartz and sophomore guard Daylen Kountz, who Boyle mentioned as a guy that’ll play a larger role for the Buffs this season.

Because of his size, Daniels should be able to guard the one through the four defensively, something that will allow him to see more playing time for a deep and experienced Colorado team.

D’Shawn Schwartz looks to solidify his role as a third option for Buffs

Junior guard D’Shawn Schwartz took a big step from freshman to sophomore year. He started 35 games on the wing for the Buffs last season, averaging 9.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, compared to just 3.4 points per game his freshman year. Schwartz’s production increased in the Pac-12 and postseason play in 2018, scoring in double digits during the three NIT matchups.

According to Colorado head coach Tad Boyle, Schwartz had an effective offseason headed into 2019, one that should put him position to be the third option offensively, alongside junior forward Tyler Bey and junior point guard, McKinley Wright IV.

“He (D’Shawn Schwartz) has had as good of an offseason as anybody in our program,” Boyle said. “He’s playing with a high degree of confidence right now and I think he’s, he’s going to be a guy, I think McKinley and Tyler being first team all-league guys, we know what they’re capable of and we know what we expect of them. I think D’Shawn has got the ability to really step his game up and be that third option.”

Schwartz’s shooting has stood out over the summer and so far in preseason. He should provide a major boost for a Colorado team that finished tenth in the Pac-12 last season, shooting just 32 percent from downtown. Schwartz along with senior guard Shane Gatling will be the go to three-point shooters for the Buffs in 2019-20.

“When we looked at all the shots we took in the preseason in the workouts, he was by far our best in terms of overall shooting,” Boyle said. Defensively and offensively he’s playing with a lot of confidence.”

In addition to improving his accuracy from deep, Schwartz made a purposeful effort in transforming his body and getting in shape for the upcoming season. Tad Boyle talked about Schwartz’ physical evolution this offseason.

“He’s physically a lot stronger and bigger,” Boyle said. Just the natural maturation (and) the work he’s put in with coach Englehart in the weight room (has paid off).”

Schwartz echoed Boyle’s thoughts and was quick to mention strength and conditioning coach Steve Englehart, who played a key role in Schwartz’ offseason transformation.

“I would say the weight room (on areas of offseason improvement),” Schwartz said. “Shout out to Steve because he really put a lot of emphasis on working on my lower body (and) upper body, trying to get my vertical better. I think I got really in shape in the offseason, that was something I was really focusing on, just trying to be in the best shape of my college career.”

Headed into this season Schwartz said he wants to be a guy that his teammates can look to as a leader. Schwartz’ jump in productivity last season came in part because former guard, Namon Wright missed the second half of the 2018-19 season with a foot injury. This year, because of his drastic improvement in his sophomore campaign, Schwartz is expected to be an integral part for the Buffs’ both offensively and defensively.

“(I’m) just trying to change my mindset from being a guy in the backseat to just trying to be one of those guys that people can look to for help or if they want watch somebody who leads by example,” Schwartz said. “I kind of want to be that guy this year.”

When asked about the evolution of his game since arriving on campus in 2017, Schwartz said it’s a product of going up against stiff competition every day in practice. Playing in the Pac-12 year after year has helped to craft his game into what it is today.

“I think (it) comes from just confidence and just playing at this level every day,” Schwartz said. “Going up against guys like Tyler Bey and everybody on this team, playing against hard defense made me want to become a better defender and (improve) all those facets of my game.”

Schwartz’s length defensively allows him to guard pretty much all five positions, something that frequently is overlooked when evaluating repertoire both offensively and defensively. His physical improvements in the offseason put him in position to be a solid option defensively given his length a six foot seven inches. With all the focus on Bey and Wright, expect Schwartz to take on an even more expanded role for Boyle’s Buffaloes in 2019-20 and be a consistent contributor on both sides of the ball.

Driven by her older brother, Haileigh Adams eyes professional soccer

Growing up the younger sister of a Canadian Football League quarterback, Haileigh Adams admitted she always felt in her brother’s shadow. Her brother, Vernon, passed for over 5,000 yards and threw nearly 50 touchdowns in his final two seasons in high school. At that time Haileigh Adams said that almost no one knew her by her first name, just as Vernon’s sibling.

“All the time people would come up to me, (and say) ‘oh you’re Vernon Adams’ little sister,’” Adams said. To that she would always respond, “no, I’m Haileigh Adams.”

But Adams said she is proud of her brother, who is now in his fourth year in the CFL and looking to make a name for himself at the professional level. It’s a drive that has sparked motivation for Adams to pursue a similar path with her passion: soccer. Now a sophomore defender for the University of Colorado women’s soccer team, Adams is eyeing the big leagues post-college.

“(Vernon) motivates me so much,” Adams said. “Me and him are very competitive, so every time we’re both back home we’re both trying to beat each other in races, in anything. We’ll go out and we’ll play football sometimes, we’ll play soccer sometimes, we just try to beat each other.”

It’s a sibling rivalry that is alive and well today.

“(Haileigh) thinks she’s a better athlete than me,” Vernon laughed. “Low key she is.”

Haileigh Adams’ soccer journey began in high school, where she steadily improved, scoring two goals and being named the most inspirational player during her freshman year. A year later, she scored five goals and earned the Defensive Player of the Year award. Toward the end of her sophomore season, she tore her ACL and consequently had to sit out games while she went through rehab during her junior year. The injury occurred at a critical time and led to only a couple of schools keeping tabs on her as a potential recruiting target.

Adams said there was a time when she thought she’d never get back to where she was after tearing her ACL.

“It was a big step back,” Adams said. “It took me forever to get back. I wasn’t very confident. And then my coach, he just threw me up top. He (said) you have the speed. Although I didn’t have it at the time. I don’t know why he threw me up  there, but he did and it actually turned out pretty well for our team.”

Adams switched to forward her senior year and scored 14 goals with 10 assists, earning first team All-Conference and conference MVP.

Portland State was a school eyeing Adams, despite her ACL tear. Vernon, while at Eastern Washington, reached out to then Portland State recruiting coordinator Justin Wagar, to convince him to bring Haileigh to the university. However, with Wagar 14 years into his career, he was looking for a change. After Portland State’s head coach suddenly retired, Wagar landed a spot at Grambling State, bringing Adams with him.

Adams earned second team all-conference honors her freshman year at Grambling State and first team her sophomore year. She was the first player in the Southwestern Athletic Conference to earn an invite to the U19 United States Women’s National Team Training Camp in 2018. Following in her older brother’s footsteps, Adams will also finish her collegiate career at a Pac-12 school with professional aspirations.

“I want to play better soccer,” Adams said. “I want to get better and I want to play after college. I felt like CU was the perfect place to help me get there and prove my skills because when I came here I definitely learned a lot that I need to know.”

Colorado head coach Danny Sanchez was thrilled to add a player of Adams caliber prior to the 2019 season. Sanchez said Adams will likely be a large part of CU’s back end in the future.

“I think she’ll play a big role going forward for us,” Sanchez said. “(She’s) super positive, technical and very coachable. We feel she’s a player that’s definitely going to help us.”

Buffs sweep Campbell, finish Colorado Classic undefeated

The Colorado women’s volleyball team faced Campbell in the final match of the Colorado Classic. CU dominated UMBC on Saturday in their earlier match, sweeping the Retrievers 3-0. The Buffs defeated Campbell on Saturday night in four sets to finish the tournament undefeated.

Senior outside hitter Justine Spann was key for the Buffaloes throughout the tournament recording 21 and 18 kills against Oakland and UMBC respectively. Multiple players starred for the Buffs in the first two games of the tournament in addition to Spann. As a team, Colorado broke four school records in the 3-1 win over Oakland on Friday night, including freshman middle blocker Sterling Parker, who became just the third player in CU history to record seven kills on seven swings.

The Buffs’ final match against Campbell started fast. It was a tightly contested match throughout the early part of the first set. Two straight kills from Spann gave Colorado a 9-7 lead. A couple service errors and errant hits from the Fighting Camels allowed CU to jump out to a double-digit lead in the first set. Colorado took the first set easily 25-10.

Two straight kills from Parker gave the Buffs a 7-3 lead in the second set. The duo of Parker and Spann led the way for the Buffs in the second set. A kill from span gave CU a 23-13 lead late in the second set. Colorado took the second set 25-14 and took a commanding 2-0 lead.

Campbell responded in the third set, keeping the match tightly contested through the first ten points. Two straight kills from Spann in the first set gave the Buffaloes a 9-6 lead. Parker, Spann and freshman outside hitter Jill Schneggenberger kept the Buffs on top through a majority of the third set. The Fighting Camels came back and took a 19-18 lead late in the third set. Colorado responded courtesy of two straight kills from Spann. CU led 20-19. A kill from Parker gave the Buffs the third set and they completed the sweep.

Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Meegan Hart was named the MVP of the tournament. The sophomore recorded hitting percentage above .600 throughout the three games. Hart, a transfer from Iowa State, talked about what it meant to her to deliver a wonderful performance not only against Campbell, but UMBC and Oakland as well, only ten games into her Colorado career.

“I means a lot,” Hart said. “It’s really special to me. My teammates have been amazing, obviously couldn’t have done it without them. They’re passing was great.”

Sophomore setter Jenna Ewert talked about how the Buffs have struggled offensively so far this season. Saturday’s two matches was a significant improvement compared to the first several games.

“We haven’t passed that well all season.” Ewert said. “I don’t think I’ve ever played in a game where we’ve passed that well, so that was a new feeling for me. It was definitely a lot of fun to have that much freedom. “(There) was a different type of connection with the hitters. You all have the confidence and… you kind of get into a groove. That’s a special thing that you don’t always get to experience.”

Head coach Jesse Mahoney talked about how the Buffs maintained a high level of intensity despite playing earlier in the day on Saturday and Saturday night.

“I thought it was a good match, especially after playing three (matches) on the weekends,” Mahoney said. “I thought our team did a really nice job to come back mentally and physically and start that match out on a really high level. We sustained that throughout the match.”

Mahoney talked about how the Buffs can use their success in the Colorado Classic as a building block headed into conference play. The Buffs face Utah to begin conference play, who began the year with wins over seventh ranked Kentucky and No. 23 Cal Poly.

“They (Utah) have one of the best players in our conference in my opinion in Danny Barton,” Mahoney said. “They redshirted one of the best middle’s in our conference last year due to injury. She’s back. I think that makes them better. They have a top ten win under their belt this season, so they’re really good.”

The Buffs will Travel to Salt Lake City next week for a Wednesday night matchup against the Utes. The game starts at 7 p.m. MST.

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