No.14 CSU volleyball bounces back to sweep rival Denver

Haleigh Hamblin

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Photo credit: Christina Vessa

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Senior health and exercise science major and defensive specialist, Kaitlind Bestgen (8), celebrates after the winning point was scored during Tuesday night’s game against DU. (Photo credit: Christina Vessa)

The No. 14 Colorado State volleyball team bounced back Tuesday night after last week’s loss to No. 4 Wisconsin with a 26-24, 25-17, 25-11 sweep over the University of Denver, improving to 6-1 on the season. Despite an unusually high number of errors by the Rams in set one, CSU regained momentum at the start of set two for its fifth sweep of the season and second in-state victory of the season.

“I consider this a good win, because Denver is a good team,” head coach Tom Hilbert said. “You look at what they have done statistically so far this season. They are clean and low-error … They make you work for everything.”

The Pioneers made the Rams work not only on defense but also on offense. CSU had nine errors on the attack in the first set alone and 16 overall on the night compared to DU, which had 4 errors in the first set, finishing the night with 16 errors as well.

“I was upset … I lost my cool really, because at the end of the first set, because we were making some plays that you can’t do to let a team like that back in,” Hilbert said. “We had some really what I consider bonehead plays, but we ended up still winning it.”

From the moment CSU and DU switched sides to start set two, the Rams looked like a new team. CSU limited its errors to five in the second set and two in the third. With another consistent performance by freshman Jasmine Hanna and the Rams defense led by Jaime Colaizzi, CSU breezed through the final two sets. Colaizzi earned a season high with 22 kills against the Pioneers.

“We kind of were all like, let’s look to each other when we are struggling and just try to make a little comeback, and I think we really did a good job bouncing back,” Colaizzi said.  “We made a lot less errors, and I think we did really well.”

In just seven collegiate matches, Hanna has been a consistent force for the Rams by becoming one of the best hitters on an experienced Rams team that features All-Mountain West outside hitter Marlee Reynolds.

“I thought that Jasmine was great,” Hilbert said. “You know, I was walking up this ramp here, and I was thinking about how I’d considered redshirting her, and she has been one of the most impacted players on our team so far. We got a great freshman down there.”

“I look for line first … That is usually my shot, so I look for line and see if that is open, but if it is not, I try to make a smart pressure ball situation … I try to get good deep corners, trying to hit high, if there is a split I want to attack the split and go hard after it,” Hanna said.  “I just try to be aggressive and make big approaches to them.”

Hanna finished the night with 15 kills, followed by junior Adrianna Culbert with 10 and senior middle blocker Kelsey Snider with nine.

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Colorado State will now pack its bags for its first road weekend of the season. CSU will take on No. 9 BYU, New Mexico State and UTEP at the New Mexico State/UTEP Invitational in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Collegian Sports Reporter Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @haleighhamblin.