(Highlights by Eric Wolf/CTV11)
There were no surprises in how the Rams started off Mountain West volleyball play.
No. 19 CSU (8-3, 1-0 MW) kicked off its conference schedule with a 3-0 sweep of Utah State (4-11, 0-1 MW) by scores of 25-14, 25-21 and 25-15. Head coach Tom Hilbert was pleased with his team’s performance tonight as he is finally starting to see things come together.
“Utah State is a very young team,” Hilbert said. “I thought we served the ball really tough today.”
The Rams had eight serving errors throughout the match, but five of those errors occurred in the second set – the only frame in which the Aggies cracked the 20-point mark. CSU had eight service errors over the course of the match.
“I thought it was one of the better serving matches that we’ve had,” Hilbert said.
Not only were service errors low for the Rams tonight, but CSU doubled its opponent in kills with 42 to USU’s 21. Alex Reid was a large component to that number as she led the team with 14.
“I think against Iona I had more kills but this game I was a lot more mature in the way I played,” Reid said. “I thought I was really working hard to get my feet to the sets and really swing high and it just really felt a lot better and there was more flow in my play.”
To go along with her 14 kills, Reid was also one dig short of a double-double.
“I thought this was a great match for Alex Reid and I’m glad because I don’t think we particularly hit well from any of the other positions,” Hilbert said.
There has been a lot of focus on the chemistry between the outside hitters and setters this season, but Reid said she owes her great performance to a change on the emphasis in practice.
“We’ve definitely been working a lot on the setters, and I think this week we focused more on what the outsides can do to be better,” Reid explained. “We really worked on swinging high and being smart and aggressive, and getting our feet to every single ball.”
Reid led the offensive attack, but it was once again Jaime Colaizzi who anchored the Rams defensively. The senior libero recorded 20 digs against Utah State, moving her past Carrie Appleman to No. 2 all-time at CSU in career digs with 1,242. But for Colaizzi, who now has 1,242 digs in her CSU career, the records do not mean much.
“To be honest it really doesn’t mean anything to me, period,” Colaizzi said. “It’s not really a big deal. I care more about what I can give to my own experience here, and what I can give to my teammates’ experience here. I think that’s way more important than statistics.”
Alex Reid could not be more appreciative of what Colaizzi brings to the team, especially after having played against her back in high school (Reid attended Grandview while Colaizzi was at Windsor.
“She’s amazing,” Reid said. “She doesn’t miss any digs. She keeps us alive. … I always hated playing against her in high school because she dug everything and now I get to be on her side, so its pretty awesome.”
Colaizzi noticed a different mindset in her teammates heading into this match as the Rams chase their seventh consecutive conference title.
“I think that we came into this match and the first set with a different mentality than we have in our pre-season matches,” Colaizzi said. “And that to me is one step closer to becoming the team that we want to be. So, I’m proud of it, and we’ve got to get better. But you know, I’m glad we got this one under our belt.”
The Rams continue MW play Saturday at 1 p.m. when they host Boise State at Moby Arena.
Collegian Sports Reporter Pia Myers can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ByPiaMyers