After a record breaking season opener, the CSU volleyball team showed it could fight back Saturday night against Cal Poly.
CSU brought our the brooms for their second sweep of the season,(25-19,25-22,25-16). Although both nights ended the same, it would be a lie to say it wasn’t without a fight.
In their second game of the season the Rams came in strong, continuing to penetrate serves over the net and dig key balls. However, the tables soon turned as CSU found the need to solidify their blocking component.
“In the past we’ve had good enough hand movement on blocking that we could still get the blocks,” coach Tom Hilbert said. “Even if that was one on one, we aren’t doing that right now.”
Within 24 hours, CSU dropped .300 in hitting percentages, despite the support from junior Kelsey Snider and sophomore Adrianna Culbert.
A combined total of five kills in set one for Snider and Culbert, the Rams were forced to rely on veteran players for support.
“I am getting a lot more comfortable (in the middle),” Snider said. “Me and Deedra (Foss) are beginning to connect really well, and I am starting to see more things which is awesome.”
Snider led the team with 13 kills out of her 21 attacks. With only .42 separating Snider from Friday night’s team hitting percent, the Ram offense knows there is room for improvement.
Not only was the it hittsing percentages down, but CSU struggled to get the ball down against the Mustangs in set two. With a 15-4 lead at the third time out, CSU allowed Cal Poly to fight back and knot it at 22.
A nail bitter for those sitting on the edge of their chairs, CSU came through as Snider served two aces.
“It was definitely nice to come back from being down,” senior Samantha Peters said. “Obviously it is not somewhere we want to be ever, but it was great to see that we could fight back in what we call the red zone.”
Coach Hilbert found Saturday’s match to be a humbling factor for his team after their blowout performance in Friday’s season opener.
“We’re gonna be a team like you saw tonight, unlike last night,” Hilbert said. “We’ll have some efficiencies in certain areas at certain times, and we got to work on ways to work through those.”
As the team heads into their second week of play, the Rams look to initiate consistency at the net and support their defense, particularly blocking.
“I am very pleased with where this team is right now,” Hilbert said. “I was concerned about the first week of training camp. We are better defensively than we have been in a while, and we are a great serving team, and were getting to be really solid on the outside, at times. If we are doing those three things consistently going into the Mountain West, we are going to be okay.”
With a limited practice schedule before CSU takes on the University of Colorado, the Rams will need to take advantage of their time before Tuesday at 7p.m.
Volleyball Beat Reporter Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.