It was everything that CSU volleyball coach Tom Hilbert had feared, traveling over 1,200 miles from Fort Collins to come up short on the road — once again.
The fear became a reality for Hilbert and the Rams Thursday night when visiting the Save Mart Center in California to take on Fresno State for a MW battle.
CSU forced the Bulldogs to play all five sets before ultimately walking away wearing another loss, 3-2 (15-25, 25-20, 25-27, 28-26, 12-15).
“We were out-played. Seven kills in the fifth set is not going to win it for you when the other team has twelve, I’m surprised it was as close as it was to be honest. Overall, they were playing much more aggressively than we were,” Hilbert said.
Trouble for CSU began early Thursday night. Fresno State opened the first set hitting .500 and committing only two errors to accompany its 19 kills in the 25-15 victory over CSU in set one.
The Rams bounced back in the second set, opening on a 3-0 run and never giving the Bulldogs the lead even once before they picked up the win 25-20.
The third and fourth sets both saw extra points as each team picked up a win to force the tie-breaking 15 point fifth.
CSU’s kryptonite of the match was undoubtedly Fresno State’s junior outside hitter Korrin Wild. Wild recorded a double-double with 23 kills and digs while posting up a .458 hitting percentage.
“Korrin Wild went off on us, she was the kid that played way over what her averages are and we were unable to do anything about it,” Hilbert said.
Thursday’s results drop CSU to 10-6 (3-2 MW) while Fresno State improves to 11-7 (4-2 MW).
“This is a tough conference top to bottom and beating one of the better teams in the conference is a huge win for us,” Fresno State coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said. “I don’t think a lot of teams will be Colorado State. This puts us back in the hunt again.”
Rough life on the road has been the name of the game for CSU thus far.
The Rams are nearly perfect at Moby this year but the complete opposite when playing in any other gym they don’t call home. In fact, perfectly imperfect sums it up well as CSU is now 0-5 in their away matches.
“We aren’t the team we are at home,” Hilbert said, “and that needs to change.”
CSU’s road trip includes one more stop in Las Vegas to face-off against UNLV on Sunday before returning home.
The Rebels are currently standing with a 13-6 record with an impressive 5-1 in conference play.
“It’s tough but now we have two days until we play UNLV, who is better than Fresno State, and we have to bounce back. That’s what good teams do,” Hilbert said.
Volleyball Beat Reporter Quentin Sickafoose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.