As it has all season, the CSU volleyball team used a balanced attack Saturday afternoon to extend the second-best start in program history with a (25-12, 25-18, 25-11) sweep of San Jose State in front of 2,864 fans at Moby Arena.
The Rams were led by junior Marlee Reynolds’ 15 kills but also got eight kills a piece from Dri Culbert, Samantha Peters, and Kelsey Snider. Although the Rams dominated at the net, head coach Tom Hilbert was most impressed with his team’s ability to respond defensively after giving up multiple long-point runs in Thursday night’s win against Fresno State. CSU controlled the tempo of the match and with another raucous Moby Arena crowd, the Rams dominated early and often in every aspect of the match.
“I was really pleased at how cleanly we played, there were a few bumps in the road in the second set but we passed very well and our side-out percentages reflected that,” Hilbert said.
For Reynolds, it was another strong performance, leading the Rams with her fourth-consecutive match with 15 or more kills. Maybe the most impressive part of Reynolds’ performance was her accuracy, recording only one error in 24 total attacks.
As a whole the Rams committed only seven errors, tied for their lowest total this season. Reynolds credited a large part of her recent success to the superb passing of setter Deedra Foss and the rest of the Rams back line.
“I have that confidence that when Deedra’s going to set me the ball that I can put it down. Having that confidence in my team is pretty key to that success,” Reynolds said.
The Rams continue their dominant first half of Mountain West play, losing only seven sets in their first ten matches. CSU is only one win from tying their best start in program history and are one of only two remaining undefeated teams in the nation. But with that success, the Rams must maintain their composure with half of their conference schedule left to play.
This is the sixth time CSU has finished the first half of Mountain West play undefeated, the first since 2010. This squad will have to lean on Hilbert’s experience as well as continuing the consistent play that has carried them so far this year.
“We look forward to the tough matches, being undefeated is great but it doesn’t mean anything right now. We’ve got a long way to go and some tough road matches coming up so we have to keep our focus,” sophomore libero Jaime Colaizzi said.
The No. 12 Rams (19-0, 10-0 MW) will begin the second half of conference play when they travel to play Boise State and Utah State on the road next weekend.
Sports writer Keegan Pope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @kpopecollegian.