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No. 14 CSU bracing for road trip at No. 4 Texas, No. 25 Texas A&M

During the sports segment of tonight’s show, anchors Olivia Landis and Brett Kennedy talk about the CSU volleyball game against UNC. They also talk football score predictions for Saturday’s game against Minnesota.

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CTV News Producer Adrian Felix can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @AFelixmedia.


 

The Rams will hit the road for the first time this season in what should also be their greatest test of the year.

No.14 Colorado State (5-1) begins the three-game stretch with Iona (2-5) in the first match of a doubleheader at 9 a.m. Sunday in Austin, Texas.

Later that day at 2 p.m., the Rams will face No. 4 Texas (4-1) on its home court. The Longhorns ended the Rams’ season in 2014 with a 3-0 sweep in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

“We lost to a very good team in the Sweet 16, but I also think that we didn’t play at our highest level,” said senior libero Jaime Colaizzi. “I’m really excited to get to face them again. These are such great athletes, and it’s so much fun to play against teams like that.”

Hilbert spoke after the Rams’ win Tuesday about what his team needs to do differently in order to hang with the powerhouse that is Texas.

“We need our middles to get more involved in our offense,” Hilbert said. “We need higher kill percentages. We’re not going to get those kill percentages from just setting the outside hitter all of the time… Now we’re going down to play a team whose middles dwarf ours… We’ve just got to find a way to get the balls to our middles and get them more involved in our offense.”

Hilbert’s team will not have much time to relax as it turns right around to face another ranked team before returning home.

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The Rams play at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at No. 25 Texas A&M (4-1) in College Station, Texas. Hilbert interrupted himself when talking about the match-ups to point out that the game in College Station could be even more intense than taking on the Longhorns in Austin.

“Texas A&M is, by the way, a little more brutal environment than Texas is,” Hilbert said to his players.

Players including Colaizzi are excited for the opportunity to compete against the high level opponents. While CSU’s libero feels the defensive effort has been great, she said the team could be more timely with their digs in big matches.

“I really think we’ve played well defensively this year, but I also think we can get better,” Colaizzi said. “Matches like Arizona State, those should be the matches that we’re just digging balls all over the place.”

Hilbert said he hopes the trip will be a chance to learn more than just the specific adjustments his team needs to make. He said he is hoping they will gain something more from being around such storied athletic programs, much like when the Rams traveled to play Duke and North Carolina in 2009.

“It’s all about preparing for conference,” Hilbert said. “I’d like to go win these matches, but really what I want to do is make our team better and play well,” Hilbert said. “What it feels like to play well on the road, that is what I want them to feel. Then they get it in their memory banks and they can draw from it.”

The games will be aired on the Longhorn Network on WatchESPN.

Collegian Sports Editor Emmett McCarthy can be reached at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @emccarthy22.

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