On the contact between the game-winning point and the Utah State court, CSU earned a spot in the record books with the best start in program history. A comeback 3-2 victory over the Aggies (20-25, 21-25, 25-18, 27-25, 15-8), CSU becomes the first team in history to begin the season at 21-0.
“I saw a team tonight that was resilient and that refused to give up,” head coach Tom Hilbert said. “This was an interesting situation for us, we have yet to be in a situation like that this season.”
The expected rebuilding season has turned into the best start in program history. Saturday’s game marked the first game since Nov. 2, 2011 when the Rams had a 3-2 comeback win over Nebraska, a 50 game span.
Though a win is all that will appear on the Rams record, the Aggies forced No.9 CSU to the breaking point. Utah State held the versatile CSU offense to .225 on 66 kills and 23 errors, the Rams on average put up 30 kills will an errors rate below 10.
Saturdays game began in favor of the Aggies. From an early lead in set one and two, Utah State was getting kills in bounds, serving tough and ultimately putting this composed CSU team in a tough situation. When the Rams headed into the break down 2-0 to the Aggies, Hilbert asked his team,”What do you do?”
“We go out and play the best you can play,” Hilbert said. “We get composed, we make key plays and we do everything we can to win.”
The moment CSU stepped back onto the court for the third set, a momentum and determination to win had taken over. While the Rams and Aggies continued to battle back and forth in each set, CSU took the lead and ran with it.
Jamie Collaizi collected her fifth game of the season with 20-plus digs, earning her career high tonight with 25. Attackers on the net, Marlee Reynolds, Kelsey Snider, Adrianna Culbert and Michelle Lawrence all earned double digit kills, each making a difference in a one point game to a one point loss.
The Rams have been consistently strong in the red zone all season as another win came from the darkest of the red Saturday night.
“My feeling, I sit back sometimes in awe about this team and the things they continue to do,” Hilbert said. “I think this particular group has character, it’s not just me as a coach. These kids are great — that was kind of a magical thing for me.”
Volleyball Beat Reporter Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org