Strong service pressure and an efficient, well-distributed attack allowed CSU to dispatch Nevada quickly Saturday night in Reno, Nev.
The Rams hit .323 and held Nevada to a .093 hitting percentage en route to a quick 3-0 win. The Wolfpack never scored more than 18 in any set.
CSU’s defense kept all of Nevada’s attackers in check, and pinpoint passing allowed setter Deedra Foss to pick and choose her sets all over the court.
“The ball was distributed well and we had matchups that worked,” CSU coach Tom Hilbert said. “Megan (Plourde) was hitting over a kid she could just destroy and Deej was getting her the ball in a way that allowed her to do that.”
Plourde finished with 11 kills and a .421 hitting percentage to go along with four blocks. She was one of four Rams with more than 18 attacks and a hitting percentage above .286.
Senior Dana Cranston lead the team with a .435 hitting percentage and 12 kills to go along with eight digs. Nevada gave Cranston a sharp cut shot all night, and she continued to punish them.
All four of CSU’s seniors took over the game collectively at a point when the Rams needed a road victory to avoid their third losing streak of the year.
“We know that it’s coming down to the wire, and we know we have to perform every game,” Cranston said.
CSU’s defense performed outstanding in all facets of the game. The Rams knocked down six total blocks and “touch blocked” many other balls that Nevada covered and kept alive.
Nevada outside hitters Elissa Ji and Grace Anxo combined for seven kills and a -.023 hitting percentage.
“Their outside hitters can’t kill balls on us, they had to go to their middles and right side player and couldn’t do that,” Hilbert said. “They hit a lot of unforced errors because when they get in rallies they hit high because they’re intimidated by us.”
CSU dominated stretches of all three sets with long point runs powered by Dri Culbert’s serving, culminating in a 16-6 run to end the third set.
“She was super consistent and really powered us through them, she didn’t miss,” Cranston said.
The win propelled CSU into a tie for second place in the Mountain West with San Diego State, which the Rams lost to on Oct. 25. Both teams trail UNLV by a half game in the conference standings.
CSU will renew its Border War rivalry with Wyoming Friday in Laramie for its next match.
“We had good focus tonight, and we absolutely needed this win,” Hilbert said. “We are in a race for this conference championship, and we have to beat people on the road. It doesn’t matter who it is.”
Assistant Sports Editor Kyle Grabowski can be reached at email@example.com.