Update: CSU opens 2012 Shocker Volleyball Classic with loss to Wichita State

CSU vs Rhode Island

To err may be human, but an excessive amount of hitting errors cost the CSU volleyball team its first loss of the 2012 season.The Rams lost to Wichita State 3-1 in their first game in the 2012 Shocker Volleyball Classic, committing 26 hitting errors on the night.

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Many of those were due to Wichita’s 13.5 total blocks, but CSU had a difficult time putting the ball to the floor.

“We got blocked more than normal and didn’t kill the ball at a very high rate,” CSU coach Tom Hilbert said. “They defended us very well and they transitioned and killed balls going the other way. We’ve got to be able to attack more effectively.”

CSU wasn’t able to adjust to the Shockers’ serves early either. Wichita State senior outside hitter Emily Adney dropped in two aces near the end of the first set as the Shockers won 25-12.

“Being in Kansas ball is a little heavier so we had to get used to that for passing,” senior middle blocker Megan Plourde said. “The ball is dropping a lot faster due to the lower altitude and we only had an hour practice earlier to get used to it.”

Playing outside Moby Arena for the first time rattled the Rams in the first set as they committed 10 errors in the first set and hit in the negatives because of it.

“We came out and were a little shocked by the different environment and the noise coming against us,” senior outside hitter Dana Cranston said.

The Rams regained some measure of poise in the second set, jumping out to a 6-0 lead and ultimately winning 25-20.

CSU held Wichita State to a .021 hitting percentage in the second set largely due to their blocking. The Shockers hit .310 or higher in the other three sets.

“It shows our potential, and I didn’t think we even played at our best in that second set,” Cranston said. “We couldn’t get all our engines firing at once.”

Wichita State overcame a four point deficit in the third set, and rarely trailed in the fourth to close out the match.

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“We had a chance to win the third set, but got caught in a bad rotation,” Hilbert said. “Their offense is much faster than us. They controlled tempo the entire time.”

The Rams will have to learn from their mistakes quickly, as they play No. 14 Tennessee Friday, then BYU and Oklahoma over the weekend. The Cougars and Sooners are both receiving votes in the AVCA poll.

“You always learn more when you lose a match like that,” Plourde said. “Playing against an offense like that was good to see it and get used to it.”