In this week’s AVCA poll release, CSU increased three positions to No.9.
CSU has broken the midway point with an undefeated record of 19-0, though the season has 10 games remaining on the schedule. The last time a season began with such a success from CSU dates back to 2001.
CSU now stands with one win in between accomplishing its best start in program history. The Rams are scheduled to face Boise State on Thursday. CSU has swept the last three matches against the Broncos.
“I think it’s an honor, but it also reflects on how our team is working and I think that we deserve that recognition for being so consistent this season,” middle blocker Samantha Peters said. “I think we have limited emotions because we don’t worry about the rankings and put that energy towards each game.”
Head coach Tom Hilbert brought a mentality to preseason training that has extended through the season — going into each game thinking CSU is the underdog. With this approach, the Rams have maintained confidence and consistency in each game because there is pressure to win.
“Not a bit has our mentality changed,” Hilbert said. “When we’re getting ready to play Boise I will be telling them how much better Boise is going to be than they were last time we played them. We’re in their gym and everyone is going to be against us, that’s how we need to play.”
Although CSU has won every game so far this season, the team knows that the success of the remaining season relies on a continuous improvement on the block, serve receive and limiting errors. This includes implementing new strategies, starting with Adrianna Culbert and team defense as whole.
“You have to expect that every team will play you better especially since they lost,” Hilbert said. “It gives the other team an advantage, they have the opportunity to go back in and look at tapes to be like here is where we didn’t do very well. We have a tendency to do the same thing.”
In the last match against Boise, the Broncos hit 17 unforced errors. Because of the number of points Boise handed over to CSU, the Rams have prepared for this game knowing it must win two to three points more to make up for those errors.
It is also important to take into consideration that CSU will be playing on the road with automatically expected Boise to play stronger on its home court.
While many may believe the pressure is on the Rams to maintain this outstanding season start, Hilbert along with Peters and Deedra Foss, recognized the success of this season has been around a low pressure expectation.
Headed into this season, it had been repeated many times for it to be a rebuilding season with an average rate of success. That rebuilding year ideology was thrown out when CSU defeated New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV all on the road.
The teams currently tie for the No. 2 spot in the Mountain West.
“I think that knowing CSU history and knowing that you can make it is really exciting,” Foss said. “I always believed in my team and that we would be good, I just never expected us to be this good.”
Volleyball Beat Reporter Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at email@example.com.