The No. 9 Colorado State volleyball team wanted to wait until it returned to Moby Arena to celebrate its sixth-consecutive Mountain West title, and what better of a way could they have done with a victory over Border War rival Wyoming.
In front of 4,273 fans the night before Thanksgiving, CSU defeated the Cowgirls 25-29, 25-15, 21-25, 25-20 on Senior Night.
“This is a great match in my opinion,” head coach Tom Hilbert said. “I have a lot of respect for Wyoming and for Chad (Callihan), I think he is a good coach and there is some talent on that team. I consider this to be a good win for us.”
Wyoming wasn’t able to hold on in the final points of set one and set two but kept it close in homestretch of set three, forcing a set four against the Rams who had only lost five sets in Moby prior to Wednesday night.
After the break following the second set, the Cowgirls made some adjustments on defense and were able to dig a lot more balls and force longer rallies against the Rams.
“Then in the third set it was really interesting because they were really good offensively but so were we,” Hilbert said. “We played much cleaner, served the ball really well, got stuck in one rotation and they got a six-point run on us which was scary, because we had a nice cushion.”
The third set had three ties and two lead changes, all coming at the halfway point of the match with a back and forth battle with five points left. CSU was not able to overcome Wyoming with five errors in the last seven points.
“We got out of it,” Hilbert said. “It was not a good moment for our team in this match but then they came back and we did the right things. Marlee (Reynolds) had a couple critical kills, Jasmine (Hanna) had a couple critical kills after that, Axi (Poletto) played better, (Kelsey) Snider played better and Dri (Culbert) who was not good through the first three sets played .750 in the fourth set.”
The fourth set was a reflection of the 2014 season for the Rams in its ability to bounce back after dropping sets and to make pivotal plays to win games.
However, with CSU headed to its 20th straight NCAA Tournament, Snider does not believe this will be CSU’s final game of Moby Madness.
“It’s not our last match, and I honestly don’t think it is our last match at Moby,” Snider said.” It was just a special night of celebrating us.”
CSU will find out its seeding Sunday at 6:30 during the ESPNU Selection Show. The Rams will wait to see if it will be hosting the first round for the first since 2009 with a top-10 rank and current No. 16 spot in the Ratings Percentage Index.
“I think this season especially proved the level we can play at and that we deserve to host the first two rounds,” Reynolds said. “The comfort level is always good at home.”
Collegian Sports Reporter Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @haleighhamblin.