It’s time to hit the road for the first time this season.
The CSU volleyball team is headed to Malibu, Calif. for a three-game tournament at Pepperdine. After their first weekend of play, the Rams accomplished three things: record setting hitting percentages (.529), a dominant serve and serve receive and transitioned new players in key roles.
No matter how strong the CSU team was with three All-Mountain West players last season, the young Rams have proved their rebuilding year will be a year of surprises and dedication.
Up next for CSU is facing off against Virginia on Friday before and finishing the weekend on Saturday with a doubleheader against UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine.
“We are playing good teams,” head coach Tom Hilbert said. “I think these next three teams were playing are better than the three teams we have played so far. So it is slowly escalating itself.”
“I am not promising we are going to sweep a road deal. But I think we are going to go play well. I think it will be better than last year.”
Virginia will provide a tough challenge for CSU. Looking to redeem themselves after falling to the Rams 0-3 in the season opener at Moby last season. The Cavaliers opened the season 3-0.
CSU then faces UC Santa Barbara in the second match of the weekend. The Gauchos opened their season off in a three-set loss to No.3 Stanford. Since then, UC Santa Barbara has picked up their pieces, as senior Katey Thompson averages 3.30 kills per set.
The Rams will conclude their weekend against Pepperdine, which relies heavily on its defense like CSU. This will be the Rams toughest game yet, and is anticipated to be a test of the defenses.
A weakness noticed against Cal Poly and Northern Colorado was the CSU offense struggling to penetrate the ball back in bounds after the block. In practice Wednesday and Thursday, the Rams focused on key plays and fundamentals in preparation for the challenging weekend ahead.
“We are really working on blocking right now, trying to be better pin blockers and get more stops,” Foss said. “We are working on setting our block up to funnel balls to our defense so we can dig.”
The Rams are looking for their first road win of the season Friday as well as the determination to their placement as a team when on the road.
Still early on in the season, Foss said it is still to early to judge how this team will play in an away setting. The team must focus on the things they must do to get better.
For updates on the Rams, visit csurams.com for live Gametracker stats against Virginia(Friday,6p.m.MT) and UC Santa Barbara(Saturday,1:30 p.m). A live steam will be available for the Ram’s match vs. Pepperdine Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
“I think any road match you just wanna try and play your best,” Reynolds said “Road wins are really hard to get. So i think that if we just play well, our goal is to just play well and compete with those teams, and bring home some wins.”
Volleyball Beat Reporter Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.