Video by Patrick Enslow
The No.7 Colorado State volleyball team returned to Moby Arena for the first time in three weeks to kick off its home opener in the Mountain West Conference.
CSU defeated UNLV in four sets (25-15,23-25,25-16,25-14) after overcoming a disappointing second set. Thursday’s win moved the Rams to 15-1 on the season and 3-0 in the Mountain West Conference. CSU has dominated the Rebels, holding a 34-6 record including 18-1 in Fort Collins, making tonight’s win 18 in a row.
“We got a win against what I think is a good conference team,” coach Tom Hilbert said. “These guys (UNLV) are going to win a lot of games and are going to be tough to play in Vegas in the second round. My hat is off to my team because we did what we needed to do and we didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes. We had one bad point run in the second set and after that we played pretty well.”
The Rams headed into the second set with a first set win under their belt and the momentum behind them. Despite CSU taking a 1-0 lead to start the set, the Rebels came back to earn seven unanswered points, forcing Hilbert to call his first time out of the game.
“We all knew we were in a hole and dug ourselves into that, but we weren’t going to give up, we were going to try and fight back,” Marlee Reynolds said.
CSU continued to battle back and forth with UNLV, though the big runs by the Rebels and key service errors by the Rams evened the sets at one heading into the break. Within the first serve of the third set, the momentum had changed as CSU took back the court to win the following two sets to win for the 43rd time in its last 46 matches.
UNLV came into the match as one of the leagues top defensive teams, averaging 3.16 blocks and 14.98 digs per set, both first in the Mountain West. The Rebels also has held their opponents to .130 hitting on the season which ranks second in the league. Though UNLV stands strong on paper, it did not hold up against CSU.
Senior outsider hitter Marlee Reynolds stole the show with 21 kills on 40 attempts, earning a .500 hitting percentage. Reynolds was such pivotal player on the night that Hilbert changed the line-up around to have her play in the front row to start sets three and four.
“I just got out there and immediately got comfortable and confident and felt good,” Reynolds said.
Along with Reynolds on the attack was middle blocker Kelsey Snider with nine kills, freshman Jasmine Hanna with eight and Acacia Andrews and Adrianna Culbert each with seven.
“UNLV is a good team and we knew it was going to be tough, so this one really helps us moving forward in the conference,” senior Deedra Foss said.
Collegian Sports Reporter Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @haleighhamblin.