The Bears offense struggled to keep up against the Blue Devils in Greeley Saturday night losing in straight sets.
The game started off slow with both servers going out of bounds to start the game, but the intensity started to build during the first volley.
UNC went down early when Duke scored six points in a row, causing the Bears to use their first timeout of the game.
The timeout didn’t stop the Blue Devil’s momentum. Duke scored three more points before junior Kortney Lockey put a stop to the streak with a powerful kill.
It didn’t take the Blue Devils long before they had a steady 15-6 lead over the Bears.
“At this level you can’t afford to get that far behind against any team,” said senior Alex Kloehn.
UNC got two more points before losing the first set 25-8.
In the second set, UNC had a much better performance, but it still wasn’t enough. The Blue Devils were excellent on offense and defense.
The Bears called another timeout down 3-8 which helped gain momentum and both Kloehn and Lockey scored two quick points.
The Bears were able to close the gap 21-16, but it wasn’t enough and UNC dropped the second set 25-18.
“We were getting way to frantic and so we calmed down,” said Kloehn. “Basically tried to do our roles and overcome what Duke was giving us.”
In the third set, both Duke and UNC battled hard. Heads were turning left and right as UNC would score one then Duke would score.
Kloehn’s big kill tied the game at nine. Then senior Kim Weissmann scored a big point to finally give UNC a lead, 10-9.
UNC’s momentum was be short lived and Duke scored four in a row to regain the lead.
The Bears continued to fight, but it wasn’t and the team lost the last set 25-19.
“They’re tough to score on,” said Bears coach Lyndsey Oates. “I want this match in October to be under our belts so that we see what we’re learning from and what a good team has exposed in our weaknesses. Mondays practice will be about preparing for CSU. We got to move on quickly.”
Riley Haynes led UNC with 16 assists and Weissman topped the Bears with seven kills.
Northern Colorado will play again at 7 p.m. on Tuesday against CSU in Fort Collins.