The No. 15 Colorado State volleyball team is back from its Texas road trip, and back to its winning ways as well. The Rams (7-3) swept Eastern Kentucky (1-14) by scores of 25-12, 25-22 and 25-13 Sunday morning at Moby Arena.
CSU was quick to attack EKU in the first set, and was incredibly successful due to each position getting its part done, and getting it done well.
“Our team came out and I thought we executed really well in the first set,” CSU head coach Tom Hilbert said. “We were very clean in our serving and passing game in terms of unforced errors.”
The first set looked as if it would be a short night for the Rams, but the Colonels came back to fight in the second set.
“Second set we made a line-up switch, had trouble getting a side out in one rotation and it changed the momentum a bit,” Hilbert said. “Those kinds of things happen but we dug in, we won that set, we came back.”
For Coach Hilbert there has been a large emphasis on improving the distribution of sets to the middles in order to be successful with their new 6-2 rotation. Against EKU, Hilbert finally started to see a breakthrough in that area.
“At a certain point in the beginning of the second set the middles were at 1.000, both of them were hitting 1.000,” Hilbert said. “And so the kiss of death, I told the setters that, right? And then the next thing that happens, we get blocked like three times in a row. … I think we tried to force them a little bit. We were not setting them high enough, but then we got back on track.”
Acacia Andrews contributed 7 kills for the Rams against the Colonels, and Hilbert was particularly impressed with her performance.
“I think this was an outstanding match for this lady right here (Acacia Andrews),” Hilbert said. “She has been playing with a great deal of more maturity and so much more urgency and focus on what she’s doing.”
“I think it’s been a learning curve, but a good learning curve,” Andrews added. “… In our goal setting meeting in the beginning of the year (Hilbert) put a big emphasis on like making sure (Alexandra Poletto and I) stay healthy but also making sure that we play with maturity, and I think we have tried our best. I think it’s hopefully paying off.”
As Andrews considers her own performance to be a learning curve, she also believes that the team is in an upward swing as well.
“Our team chemistry is so much better,” Andrews explained. “I think just the setters getting on the court and just getting in the reps in practice and I think we’re connecting a lot better.”
Colorado State is wrapping up their last few matches of conference before they begin to head into Mountain West play starting Thursday against Utah State at 7 p.m. at Moby Arena.
But up first for the Rams is an exhibition match against a Chinese team – Shanghai Eastbest & Langsheng – Monday at 7 p.m. at Moby Arena.
Alex Reid, who had eight kills, one ace and one block against EKU, shared her thoughts on how to handle to upcoming match against an unfamiliar opponent.
“I think it’s going to be a tough match,” Reid said. “We don’t really know a lot about them we just kind of just have to go out and take care of our side of the court.”
Collegian Sports Reporter Pia Myers can be reach at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ByPiaMyers