Mountain West volleyball: Can anyone challenge CSU?

Michael Roley

Mountain West play has been business as usual thus far for Colorado State volleyball.

The Rams (8-5, 2-0 MW) won their first two matches of league play last week, a 3-1 win (29-27, 25-14, 23-25, 25-22) over Fresno State on Thursday at Moby Arena. They followed it up with a 3-0 sweep (26-24, 25-18, 25-21) of San Jose State last Saturday. Katie Oleksak had a big week in her first time facing MW teams. The freshman setter was named Mountain West offensive player of the week on Monday after posting 59 assists in the match against Fresno State.

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CSU is traditionally the gold standard for MW teams, having won seven consecutive conference championships. CSU has won 26 conference matches in a row, and haven’t lost to a MW team since Nov.1, 2014. In total, they’ve won 62 of their past 64 MW matches.

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Sanja Cizmi (10) gets ready to serve the ball against San Jose State Sept. 24 in a 3-0 CSU win Photo credit: Julia Trowbridge

 

With only one week of Mountain West conference play in the books, it’s way too early to read too much into things. But four MW teams — CSU, Wyoming, UNLV, and San Diego State — remain undefeated after their first round of matches. Here’s where all the other conference teams stand after week one:

UNLV- Perhaps the biggest threat to CSU at the top of the MW this year, the Rebels are off to a hot 13-1 start and are receiving votes in the latest AVCA coaches poll. The Rebels earned a key 3-1 win over Boise State on Sept. 22. UNLV also swept UC-Santa Barbara, a team that swept the Rams on Sept. 3, in their opening match of the season. UNLV is at Fresno State on Thursday and home against San Jose State on Saturday.

Boise State-The Broncos (10-5, 1-1 MW) were picked second behind CSU in the preseason coaches poll but didn’t jump off the page in the first week. They fell to UNLV in a tough early season match and snuck past New Mexico in five sets. But the Broncos have arguably the conference’s best player in Sierra Nobley, the preseason MW player of the year and a AVCA All-American honorable mention last year.

Wyoming- Wyoming (9-6, 2-0 MW), who was picked third in the preseason coaches poll mirrored CSU in the first week. The Cowgirls swept San Jose State first on Thursday then swept Fresno State at home Saturday.

San Diego State-The Aztecs (9-6, 1-0 MW) won their only match last week, taking down Utah State 3-2. San Diego State plays at Boise State on Thursday and Air Force on Saturday.

New Mexico- The Lobos (10-5, 1-1 MW) split their first two matches, beating Air Force and losing a close five-setter to San Diego State.

Utah State-The Aggies (6-7, 1-1 MW) also split in week one. Both of Utah State’s matches went the full length as the Aggies beat Nevada in five sets and lost to San Diego State in five.

Nevada-The Wolfpack (9-4, 0-1 MW) only played a single match last week, losing in five sets to Utah State on Sept. 22. Nevada also beat St. Mary’s 3-1 earlier this season, an opponent the Rams swept in their second match of the season on Aug. 27.

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Fresno State-The Bulldogs (9-4, 0-2 MW) lost both of their opening matches while playing in the Rocky Mountain region last week. Fresno State lost to CSU in four sets and was swept by Wyoming.

Air Force- The Falcons (9-6, 0-2 MW) have historically struggled in MW but have picked up a number of nonconference wins against lesser opponents so far. Last week Air Force was swept by both New Mexico and UNLV.

San Jose State- The Spartans (7-7, 0-2 MW) are currently sitting at the cellar of the MW after being swept by Wyoming and CSU last week.

Collegian Sports Reporter Michael Roley can be reached at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @michael_roley