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Size and athleticism trumped tempo and scheme Thursday night in Moby Arena as the CSU volleyball team swept Boise State for its fourth consecutive home win.
The Rams returned home after playing both games on the road last season and jumped out to a resounding 10-2 lead early in the first set, eventually winning 25-13.
“Colorado State jumped out on us and imposed their will,” Boise State coach Shawn Garus said.
CSU finished the match with 13.5 blocks, the highest number a Mountain West team has totalled in a three set match this year.
Most of that success came when Boise State had to take multiple swings during a point, which pushed them out of system.
“Once we get them past the first swing that’s when our block will take over,” CSU coach Tom Hilbert said. “They were doing a nice job on first-swing kills.”
Boise State’s offense functioned most effectively in the second set. The Broncos hit .333 with 14 kills in the set and only one unforced error.
Boise State lead 10-8 early in that set, but CSU was able to hang with the Broncos and not give up any extended point runs as it has in past losses, eventually closing the set with back to back kills from Megan Plourde.
“Set two is what I expected most of the sets to be like. I was saying to myself, ‘if we can’t disrupt them passing, that’s what this match is going to be like’,” Hilbert said.
CSU only registered one service ace for the match compared to eight service errors, but the team’s serving was tough enough to slow down Boise State’s blistering pace on offense, which lead to many of the team’s blocks.
Not only that, the Rams pinpoint passing led to field days for senior middle blockers Breion Paige and Megan Plourde.
Paige lead the team with 14 kills on a .684 hitting percentage while Plourde hit .714 with 10 kills and eight blocks.
“We started going faster with our tempos, especially slides to Meg, we’ve been connecting really well on those,” CSU setter Deedra Foss said. “With Brieon we found a spot that’s fast and high and she just gets over blocks and gets kills.”
The Rams won’t have any time to revel in their dominant performance, however, as they will play Air Force tonight in their last back to back of the season.
The match was originally scheduled for Saturday, but a scheduling conflict with the Falcons forced them to ask CSU to move it to Friday.
CSU has not lost a set to Air Force since 2005 and leads the all-time series 37-1, but the quick turnaround and the Falcon’s offensive differences from Boise State will give the Rams extra reasons to stay focused.
“Their offense is going to be a lot slower, which might be to our advantage because it will give us a lot more time to see where the setter is setting the ball,” Plourde said. “They’ll have the same kind of hitters though, short and scrappy.”
Assistant Sports Editor Kyle Grabowski can be reached at email@example.com.