CSU volleyball wins initial Border War matchup with Wyoming 3-0

Wyoming’ volleyball’s fans spilled into Moby Arena Friday and yelled, “why so quiet?” after CSU only won the first set 25-22.

They didn’t have much to say after the Rams took the next two sets 25-13 to run the Cowgirls back to Laramie.

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“When all of the Wyoming guys came in and lined up, I said to my assistant, ‘I love when that happens because that’s going to make our students even more rabid.’ They aren’t going to be outdone by guys coming in all dressed up,” CSU coach Tom Hilbert said. “We have the best home environment in the United States. I really think that.”

Wyoming stayed so close in the first set due to six CSU service errors and had a chance to win with it tied at 20. The Rams proved tougher in the endgame and used a 4-1 run to close it out.

“They outblocked us, 3-2. It was a matter of them having a lot of unforced hitting errors,” Hilbert said.

The Cowgirls came out with significantly less energy in the second and third sets, which showed in their negative hitting percentages.

“We lost a bit of confidence and couldn’t gain it back,” Wyoming coach Carrie Yerty said. “They picked us apart point by point.”

CSU did that with a strong block. The Rams finished with nine stuff blocks for points, and their defensive presence forced Wyoming into 15 unforced hitting errors.

Wyoming’s Mountain West leading defense showed up as well, holding CSU to a .198 hitting percentage. Senior outside hitter Dana Cranston had eight kills on a .146 hitting percentage, but lead the team in total points due to her service aces and blocking.

“She could have been impatient and she could have gotten antsy and tried to do things that she couldn’t do, but she didn’t,” Hilbert said. “She stayed with what she does for us.”

CSU leaned on Cranston in the match because they were out of system a lot, but she made the necessary adjustments to help her team.

“It was tough because I felt like I was taking pretty big swings in the first set, but a lot of times when teams get a read on you, even when they are big swings, they are standing in the right spot,” Cranston said. “Tom (Hilbert) told me to keep being patient. Near the end of the second set I just started giving a lot of junk. It’s just finding the balance between those two.”

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Now the key for the Rams is to take the momentum they’ve gained in the past two weeks on the road, where they have struggled this season.

“When we’re on the road every set is like that, and we have to be the kind of team that can stay with somebody to 20, and then beat them at the end. We did that there,” Hilbert said. “That’s a great thing for our team to attach themselves to, and to come out and do that again, especially this next weekend when we go to Vegas and Fresno.”

Assistant Sports Editor Kyle Grabowski can be reached at sports@collegian.com.