No. 7 Colorado State continued to climb its way towards a sixth-consecutive Mountain West title with Saturday’s 25-15, 25-7, 25-17 sweep of Fresno State while also earning the sixth-longest win streak in CSU history with 13 straight victories. With the victory, the Rams move to 18-1 overall and 6-0 in the Mountain West.
“I think the key to that is we are getting balance, we prepare well and this team plays the defense and transition part of the game as well as any team I ever had,” coach Tom Hilbert said. “What I mean by that is their ability to dig and to kill is very good and that is because we are good defensively, we have great setting and the hitters are all well trained.”
Junior outside hitter Adrianna Culbert led the offense with 10 kills followed by middle blocker Kelsey Snider with seven, and Deedra Foss and Sanja Cizmic each adding five.
While CSU had strong numbers on the attack hitting .429 overall with 38 kills, Fresno State dug itself in a hole of its own hitting in the negatives for most the game with 25 errors, the same amount as its kills.
“This Fresno State team is very young, their head coach is not traveling … They had a lot of unforced errors but a lot of it is we blocked exceptionally well today,” Hilbert said. “And we did not just block, we stuffed balls, and that intimidates people.”
In the second set the Bulldogs didn’t have any scoring points, only scoring on side out with the Rams serving. CSU held Fresno to seven rotations in set two, only allowing seven points for the Bulldogs.
This is the first time since facing Boise State last season that the Rams have held a team to single digit points as well as the first time since Oct. 5 2012 that CSU limited a team to .000 hitting percentage.
“I think that we stayed really dialed in and aware of everything that was coming at us which is huge,” junior libero Jaime Colaizzi said.
The Rams came out strong in all three sets, forcing the Bulldogs to play catch-up for most of the game. Because CSU controlled most of Saturday’s match, Cizmic, Jaliyah Bolden and Crystal Young were able to come off the bench at the start of the third set. Young, a transfer from Blinn Junior College, has not gotten a lot of playing time being the backup to Foss, but when she does it is a sneak peak to where this team will be next season.
“I came here knowing that she (Deedra) would be in front of me,” Young said. “When I do get playing time its great, it is great experience for me especially for next year when she is gone.”
The Rams will now hit the road for a two-game series against New Mexico on Thursday and Air Force on Friday. CSU continues to play with a big target on its back, now more than ever heading to one of the toughest gyms to play at in Albuquerque.
“I am proud of our team for getting through this and doing it right and doing it with class and now we move on,” Hilbert said.
Collegian Sports Reporter Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at Sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @haleighhamblin.