With a 40-0 record at home against in-state teams as well as a 12-match winning streak heading into Wednesday’s matchup against the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, the Rams team looks to climb a little higher in its fourth match of the 2014 season.
“There is an added intensity to the game because you always want to beat the teams that are in your state,” junior Adriana Culbert said. “You always know they are going to come out and bring their best game so we just have to be prepared for that.”
In the last match up between the Rams and the Bears, CSU earned its third win of the 2013 season, though set one proved to be a tough battle. Down 10-6, CSU responded with a 7-1 run to take the lead 13-7. The Rams swept the Bears despite a late push by UNC to tie the game at 21.
“Its really hard to tell (when asked how UNC compares to last season),” head coach Tom Hilbert said. “They are playing four of their starters who are junior or seniors so they are experienced, but I don’t see a lot of terminal players. I think the role they are giving to Andrea Spaustat is pretty pivotal for that team.”
Spaustat, the team’s starting middle blocker, is getting the majority of the hitting opportunities in the Bears lineup and will be one of the Rams’ main focuses heading into Wednesday night.
Strong performances from senior Deedra Foss and juniors Adrianna Culbert and Jamie Colaizzi leave Hilbert expecting big things from the trio.
“I am really impressed with our defenders. Our passing and our defense are really good,” Hilbert said.
UNC started off the 2014 season 2-1 defeating Eastern Illinois and Western Illinois, while falling three straight sets to Ball State in the Ball State Tournament.
After seeing veteran players begin to mesh with newcomers last weekend, practice this week can be targeted toward specific areas of CSU’s games as well as focusing on key players for the Bears specifically. CSU knows UNC will be using Spaustat for a lot of its offensive attack, which will force the Rams to adjust around her swing.
“We know that it is going to be a good competitive match,” Culbert said. “We know we are going to be more athletic than they are but they also swing really hard and can get into the seams. We just have to adjust our game from a blocking standpoint and stay competitive throughout this long stretch of games.”
Collegian Sports Reporter Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @haleighhamblin.