The Colorado State volleyball team extended their match win streak to four as they swept the New Mexico Lobos (25-19, 25-21, 25-21).
As the Rams took the court, they settled into a familiar pattern of game play. Each set is a constant back and forth until late in the game when the Rams are able to take control of the set.
It was a rough start for the Rams as they lost the first four points while giving up two aces. They were able to respond and worked their way back, making it a close game until late in the first set with the score tied 19-19. The Rams continued with a 6-0 run to win the first set. Even though it was a close score for most of the set, the Rams were extremely efficient on offense with a hitting percent of .652 on 16 kills.
The second set was another back and forth battle with the set being tied 11 times. The Rams took control of the lead earlier in this set, as they pulled ahead 15-14. The lead was held on through the end of the set by a combination of setter Katie Oleksak effectively setting the ball, and errors by the Lobos.
As the third set rolled around, the Rams seemed to rely on a strong defense rather than push an offensive attack. The Rams hitting percentage sat at .270 in the third set, but they were able to hold the Lobos to nine kills on a .029 hitting percentage.
While the Rams earned a win on the night, they could have stretched their lead further, but they gave up several points off service errors. Throughout the match, the Rams tallied up 11 service errors and only three aces. New Mexico, on the other hand, earned 10 points off aces.
For head coach Tom Hilbert, it is not worrisome for the Rams to play teams close early in a set.
“We never want them to have a slow start,” Hilbert said, “the more we think about it, the more anxious we get.”
Close scores late in sets put the Rams in positions where they have to play well, or they will lose the set.
“The fact of the matter is that we are climbing out of those holes,” Hilbert said. “It’s making them feel more confident that we can be down and still come back.”
The Rams will stay on the road as they take on the University of Las Vegas on Saturday, October 8 at 4 p.m.
Collegian sports reporter Jack Starkebaum can be reached by email at email@example.com