No. 12 Colorado State wasn’t satisfied with just winning the conference. The Rams wanted to be flawless in doing so.
Tuesday night, CSU went to Laramie, Wyoming and won a five-set thriller over the Pokes by the scores of 25-15, 25-20, 20-25, 25-27 and 15-11 to finish Mountain West play 18-0.
This marks the third time the Rams have had an undefeated record in conference, and just the the second time doing so in the MW with the other instance coming in 2003. The Rams went 14-0 and made it into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament that year. Although the Rams clinched the MW title two matches ago against UNLV (3-1) the win against Wyoming was still a victory to be celebrated as the Rams battled through five competitive sets with the Cowgirls.
In the first set, the Rams blew past the Cowgirls on the court and it appeared as though the match would be a quick sweep for CSU. Wyoming had a different agenda in mind. It took one set for the Cowgirls to warm up, and they were in the match from the start of the second set until Adrianna Culbert’s final kill for CSU in the fifth set.
Wyoming went on a 3-0 run in the second set and took the lead at 20-19 forcing Head Coach Tom Hilbert to call a timeout. Hilbert’s timeout is what CSU volleyball needed to finish out the second set considering the Rams went on a 6-0 run and took the set 25-20.
CSU was down 20-19 in the third set and a timeout was called by Coach Hilbert. However, this time the timeout wasn’t as effective for the Rams as they racked up four errors ultimately leading to a 25-20 win for Wyoming. CSU had 40 combined errors in comparison to Wyoming’s 34 errors.
The fourth set was back and forth between CSU and Wyoming, but eventually led to Wyoming taking the win and ensuring that the match would go into a fifth set. It was the race to 15 for the Rams and Cowgirls in the fifth set with CSU looking to close out Mountain West play undefeated, and Wyoming looking at its last chance of NCAA tournament eligibility.
The Cowgirls could not put a stop to the Rams’ offense, and Culbert finished the match off with her 19th kill of the night.
Culbert had her eighth triple-double of the season, extending her CSU career and season record, with 19 kills, 34 assists and 10 digs. On top of adding another triple-double to her record, Culbert is now tied for the second-most double-doubles in a season as she had her 16th in the win.
Culbert led the Rams in kills hit at .389 throughout the match, but she wasn’t the only CSU player in double figures as Alex Reid had 13, Sanja Cizmic had 11 and Alexandra Poletto had 10.
The Rams head into their final contest Saturday when they take on Iowa State in a non-conference match at 1 p.m. at Moby Arena.
Collegian Sports Reporter Pia Myers can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ByPiaMyers.