The Rams (6-3) came up just short on the road in a particularly agonizing defeat.
The No. 15 CSU volleyball team lost a heartbreaker to Texas A&M (6-3) to close out the Texas road trip Tuesday. The Rams fell in five sets to the Aggies (25-15, 19-25, 25-19, 21-25, 15-11).
The Rams, nearing the end of their non-conference games, are proving themselves to still be a work in progress as a team. The first set was a sign of things to come as the Rams struggled to put up any points against the Aggies defying defense.
“The first set was just very uncharacteristic of us,” CSU head coach Tom Hilbert said. “They came out short serving and we knew that was in their sort of bag of tricks, but we really hadn’t prepared for it enough. So, I kind of take the blame for that, and they went up 6-0.”
The Aggies had 78 digs, and out blocked the Rams 16 to 9.
CSU came back in the second set, finishing off kills on the first five attempts. The team went on to take the set 25-19 to even things up at 1-1.
Hilbert explains the main difference between the first set and the second set as, “Just us getting comfortable and doing the things that we do to try and put pressure on them. And that worked a lot better in the second set and it gave us some confidence.”
The Rams rallied in the third set with their explosive offense and aggressive serves. They had 13 service aces in the match, whereas Texas A&M only had three.
“We were a much better team than we were in set one,” Hilbert said. “We were more disruptive there than we have been in a long time. But you know that happens sometimes on the road, we got through it and we came back and played better.”
Hilbert’s main focus for the team during this road swing has been establishing the team’s blocking.
“I thought it was okay,” Hilbert said of his team’s blocking in the match. “It was better in the first two sets. (Texas A&M’s) setter went down and it gave them a lineup switch and they brought in (Ashlie) Reasor, who is left-handed, and we didn’t do a really good job on her. She went off, she hit .500 (percent), I think. We need to better in those situations. She is a great athlete and a great player.”
The Rams took the match to the fifth set where they looked promising after they tied the set up 10-10, however the Aggies would go on to win the set 15-11, taking the match 3-2.
“We sided-out and we got into another difficult rotation,” Hilbert said of the final points. “It shouldn’t have been that difficult, but it was. And they got a couple of blocks and that’s really what made the difference. You know when it comes down to a five-point game to see who is going to win, you know they were playing at home, they felt some of that energy and momentum and I think it helped them.”
The Rams are looking forward to returning to Fort Collins, and to a familiar site at Moby Arena.
“It’s going to be nice to be back at home,” Hilbert said. “We have (Eastern Kentucky’s) match and then the Chinese exhibition match. Two more opportunities to try to hone ourselves in and make ourselves a little better. Then we start the Mountain West.”
The Rams take on Eastern Kentucky (1-10) at noon Sunday in Moby Arena.
Collegian Sports Reporter Pia Myers can be reach at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ByPiaMyers