The scoreboard read 3-0, but every set was a heavyweight slugfest between CSU and No. 12 Pepperdine. The Rams swept the Waves to open the 2012 Rams Volleyball classic with a win.
Neither team carved out more than a four point lead over the course of the entire match. CSU came through with key kills when it needed them at the end of sets and avoided crippling errors.
“We went into a battle knowing it was going to be a point for point battle, knowing that if you give up one it could be the game,” senior outside hitter Dana Cranston said.
Both teams brought the cannons out for the third set, hitting over .350 in a climax ultimately won by CSU 25-21.
“That’s a battle, that’s a war, and we came out on top,” CSU coach Tom Hilbert said.
When they started the third set with the opportunity to sweep Pepperdine and pick up a signature win, the Rams wanted to finish the match as quickly as possible.
“That’s a hard feeling because this is such a huge win for us, but we need to be patient through that third set because it’s still 25 points. You can’t win it any quicker than that,” Cranston said. “I think we reigned in our craziness and put that towards playing.”
Cranston finished with 13 kills, five digs, and a .387 hitting percentage in her most accomplished big game performance.
“Dana felt some mojo,” Hilbert said. “I’m trying to think of another high quality match that she’s played this well in and I honestly can’t remember. This is her best one ever.”
The Rams finally got the production from the left side that they have been looking for all season with nine kills from sophomore outside hitter Kelsey Snider.
“This was her best game. I liked what she was doing with the out of system stuff she couldn’t get kills on,” Hilbert said. “She had one bad error today. I’d take that any day from that position.”
CSU did not block as well as they typically do, largely due to the speed of Pepperdine’s attackers and their ability to use the blockers by firing balls off of them out of bounds for kills.
“We were on our assignments but I wasn’t getting my hands over fast enough, it’s really frustrating but I think we were able to pick up some of the balls that went around the block,” senior middle blocker Megan Plourde said.
Even though they picked up a signature win, CSU did not find its ceiling against Pepperdine.
“We can be better than this,” Hilbert said. “I’d like to get two more wins this weekend. I think that would be a really nice way to go into the UCLA match.”
CSU plays Florida International University Saturday at 1 p.m. and New Mexico State Sunday at noon.