The Rams remained undefeated, at least in the Mountain West.
No. 20 Colorado State (11-3, 4-0 MW) swept San Diego State (4-12, 1-3 MW) by scores of 25-18, 25-15, 25-21) but not without a challenging and nail-biting third set.
“We started off a little sloppy,” CSU head coach Tom Hilbert said of the third frame. “(SDSU) got some kills and some blocks, so they started doing better things.”
The Aztecs got the lead early on from the Rams, and it looked as though the third set could easily go to SDSU.
“(SDSU’s) a very physical team, and when they’re playing at their best they’re hard to beat,” Hilbert said. “… We made some mistakes, we got blocked a few times, they kind of took a lead.”
Coach Hilbert needed to regroup his team and prioritize the focus on the court.
“We called a timeout and just said, ‘Hey we need to focus up and just play one point at a time,’” Hilbert said.
The timeout was not only a necessity for the Rams because it led to the team regaining a specific mindset regarding the match, and was also a crucial point as the Rams came back to win the third set.
“They ran a … pattern, we saw it and blocked it and that really I think sealed the game,” Coach Hilbert said.
A clear mindset of playing one point at a time during the third set is what the Rams needed to ultimately win the match against SDSU, but throughout the first and second sets the Rams were focused on the court and played well.
Coach Hilbert explains during the first set that, “We were really playing well in the serving and passing game. (SDSU) ended up making more mistakes than we do in the end and we end up winning that one.”
In the first set Jasmine Hanna, who had eight kills total for the Rams, had a specific kill that impressed Coach Hilbert immensely so.
“I liked the way Jasmine played tonight,” Coach Hilbert explained. “She managed her game really well. She got a really big time kill in the first set… in a critical time. She managed herself very well and didn’t give points away. And as a result really had a nice night.”
CSU had a hitting percentage of .235 and a total of 7.5 blocks against SDSU. Five of the blocks happened in the second set, one which CSU led from start to finish.
“It scores points for us, but it also demoralizes the other team,” Hilbert said of the blocking. “They end up hitting negative because we blocked them so effectively.”
The Rams showed vast progressions on the road this past weekend as they swept both Nevada and SDSU, but still there is a lot of work still to be done as CSU prepares for a challenging week ahead.
“We’re going to try to get better at some fundamental things,” Hilbert explained. “We’re going to work on some tempo… we’re going to continue to try to become better more effective technical blockers. But we also want to rest. You know, we’re a little beat up.”
The Rams have three matches in a six-day span.
“This stretch coming up is important because it’s got New Mexico, Air Force, Wyoming, all of which are good teams,” Hilbert said. “We need to play well, and we need to protect our home court.”
CSU volleyball improves to a 4-0 MW play and 11-3 overall.
“I’m happy to be where we’re at,” Hilbert said. “We just need to win every conference game that we can win. We certainly need to win the home games.”
The Rams head back to Fort Collins in order to start preparing for the big week ahead. No. 20 CSU plays New Mexico Thursday at 7 p.m. at Moby Arena.
Collegian Sports Reporter Pia Myers can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter@ByPiaMyers.