The CSU volleyball team just keeps rolling. After a three-set win Thursday night against Fresno State the Rams returned to Moby Arena Saturday looking to finish the first half of their Mountain West Conference slate undefeated with a win against San Jose State.
Led by Marlee Reynolds’ 15 kills, the 12th-ranked Rams improved to 19-0 overall and 10-0 in the Mountain West with a 25-12, 25-18, 25-11 sweep of the Spartans in front of 2,864 fans at Moby.
Led by Reynolds, Dri Culbert and Kelsey Snider, the Rams took an early 5-0 lead before San Jose State coach Oscar Crespo took a timeout to regroup his squad. CSU dominated early and often in the set, hitting .462 with 16 kills while limiting the Spartans to a .065 hitting percentage and only eight kills. Head Coach Tom Hilbert was very impressed with his team’s domination at the net, praising Reynolds and setter Deedra Foss for their strong performances.
“We used a lot of people, Marlee had a fantastic match. She hit the ball high and hard and that’s what we need from her. I thought Deedra was very good today too, she made good decisions and she was very accurate. It was just overall a good match and we’re excited to finish the first half of the league undefeated,” Hilbert said.
The Rams struggled to find their rhythm early in set 2 as the Spartans took an early 7-6 lead before CSU tied the set at 8 and led the rest of the way. CSU recorded a match-high 18 kills in the second set, led by Culbert and Reynolds with five, and four more from sophomore Kaila Thomas. Even with his team’s impressive rally, Hilbert was upset with the team’s lack of defensive intensity in the early stages of the set.
“I’m disappointed we let them hit .344 in the second set, but that was due to the emergence of Hanah Blume. That’s something we’ll have to do a better job of next time we play them,” Hilbert said.
CSU picked up right where they left off heading into set 3 as they took a commanding 10-6 lead midway through the set and never looked back, leading by as many as 14 points. The Rams had one of their best hitting percentages of the season in the third set, totaling 15 kills against only one error, good enough for a .583 hitting percentage. The Rams also tied a season-low with only seven errors while allowing a season-low 11 points in the third set.
Along with Reynolds’ strong performance, sophomore libero Jaime Colaizzi totaled a career-high three aces to go along with a team-leading 10 digs. Seven different players recorded at least two kills for the Rams, including Culbert, Samantha Peters, and Snider recording 8 apiece. For Reynolds, this was her fourth consecutive match with at least 15 kills while only recording one attacking error in 24 attempts. The junior from Dalhart, Texas seems to be finding her rhythm at the right time, something she attributes to great passing from her teammates as well as a renewed level of confidence brought on by her early-season success. “I just felt really in-rhythm today, whenever I’m in that rhythm I hit it a lot harder. I feel like I didn’t have too hot of a match Thursday so I wanted to make up for that today,” Reynolds said.
After finishing the first half of conference play undefeated for the sixth time in program history, the Rams will look to continue the second-best start in program history when they travel to play at Boise State and Utah State next weekend to begin the second half of the Mountain West season.
Collegian Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.