Rams set to battle Spartans and Wolf Pack at Moby

Angel Cooper

For Tom Hilbert and No. 14 Colorado State volleyball, the win train just keeps on rolling. After escaping Boise State and steamrolling Utah State, the Rams will return to Moby Arena this Thursday to continue Mountain West play against San Jose State University (7-12) at 7 p.m.

San Jose State sits ninth in the conference with a 2-6 record. The Rams need to watch out for Fernanda Vido and Sarah Smevog. Vido, an outside hitter for the Spartans, has been on fire as of late. The redshirt senior has recorded double-digit kills in three of the last five games. The Spartans have a record of 2-3 in that stretch.

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Sasha Colombo (7) bumps the ball while warming up before the San Jose State match. (Devin Cornelius | The Collegian)

In the Spartans’ last game against the University of New Mexico, Vido notched 15 kills and three service aces. She is going to try to make kills on CSU. Look for the Rams to block as a team when Vido goes on the attack.

Smevog is a sophomore and a libero for the Spartans. She tries to get every ball that comes her way. San Jose State thinks that they are going to kill the Rams’ winning streak, but if CSU stays strong as a team and makes sure they bring it all on defense, they will be able to beat the Spartans on Thursday.

Moving on to Saturday’s game, the Rams will play the University of Nevada (14-6) for the first time this season. The Wolf Pack are coming off a disappointing four game homestand as the team lost three of their four games. The Wolf Pack will play Wyoming Thursday night before arriving in Fort Collins for their match with the Rams.

The Rams have played the Wolf Pack seven times since 2015, and CSU has won all of those matchups, convincingly sweeping six of the seven contests.

The Nevada attack has won the team games, but the run-and-gun style has sometimes hurt the team. The Wolf Pack have totaled 1014 kills on the season, while the Rams have tallied 892 kills. On the flip side, Nevada has yielded 934 kills to their opponents, while the Rams have only allowed 623 and have held the opposition to a low hitting percentage of .099%.

The Wolf Pack do have weapons on offense that could give the Rams blockers some issues — hitters Kayla Afoa, Kili Robins and middle blocker Sydney Petersen.

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CSU volleyball takes on Nevada during their first set on Oct. 14, 2017 in Moby Arena. (Tyler Morales | The Collegian)

Statistically, Afoa has dominated the kill category for the Wolf Pack. The junior has 279 kills on the year and has recorded double-digit kills in all but three matches. Sophomore hitter Kili Robins is an up and comer on this Nevada team. Through seven games she’s recorded 154 kills, which is double the mark from her freshman season where she recorded 77.

Petersen, another underclassman, has been a steady presence for the team this season. The freshman ranks third on the team in total points with 203.5 and is hitting at an impressive .307 on attacks.

Though the next two opponents won’t be the toughest tests the Rams will have faced this season, the target on their back will continue to grow with the win streak. The second round of the Border War against Wyoming is on the horizon next Tuesday at Moby, but the Rams need to remain focused on these upcoming conference games.

Angel Cooper can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @angelcooper05.

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