CSU volleyball gets 1st season win, 600th win for head coach

Taylor Paumen

Tom Hilbert head coach of the Colorado State Rams looks at his play sheet.
Tom Hilbert, head coach of the Colorado State Rams, looks at his play sheet during the CSU season opening game versus Northwestern University Aug. 28. CSU loses 3-1. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

The Colorado State University volleyball team traveled east this last weekend for a double header against University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Friday and North Carolina State University on Saturday

While the Rams were on a losing streak, even after Friday’s game, they were able to come out of the weekend with a victory. 

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Friday night, the Rams hit the court to tackle the Tar Heels of Chapel Hill and for the second time this season, the match was pushed to five sets. CSU outscored North Carolina in the first two sets 25-21 and 25-19, taking a match lead 2-0.

Saturday evening, the Rams got a second chance to come out of the weekend with their first win of the season.”

UNC outnumbered the Rams closely with errors in the first half of the match but was later switched toward the ending of the game. 

Come set three, the Rams struggled to put up points while the Tar Heels took an early lead of 8-1, which led to an 18-8 difference and took the set quickly after. While CSU led in errors this set, they tried to bounce back and wrap up the night in set four.

The green and gold team was able to make a six-point run at the beginning, pushing the score to 10-6. The lead was short-lived, as UNC tied at 11-11, and the two teams stayed on each other’s tails, trading points, again tying 23-23. UNC took the set, tying the match 2-2. 

The long night was wrapped up in set five, and North Carolina started aggressively taking a 10-7 lead, but the Rams halted that after taking match point at 14-13. Both teams wanted the win, but CSU fell to the Tar Heels, losing 17-15, 3-2

Several Ram players came out with double-digit kills led by Kennedy Stanford with 13, Annie Sullivan finishing at 12 and Jacqi Van Liefde and Karina Leber tying at 10. Senior Alexa Roumeliotis took over the back row with 12 digs and contributed three of the total seven aces of the night. 

Saturday evening, the Rams got a second chance to come out of the weekend with their first win of the season. As they headed 30 minutes east to Raleigh, North Carolina, the Rams faced the North Carolina State University Wolfpack.

Set one kicked off with an evenly matched set with a total of 19 ties and six different lead changes. Although the Wolfpack led in kills and had a higher hitting percentage by .004, the Rams eventually took the set 30-28

NC State took an early lead in set two at 7-2 and kept that lead through the end, taking the set 25-18 and tying the match 1-1. 

Come set three, the Rams fought to get a lead as they trailed 15-11. The set became closer as the two teams worked back and forth, coming to a tie toward the end at 23-23. After an attack error by the Wolfpack and a serving ace by Roumeliotis, the Rams snatched the match lead 2-1.

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The Wolfpack took a 5-1 lead in the final set of the night, but the tides changed after a kill by Leber led to a five-point run and 20-19 lead. Colorado State didn’t look back as they took the win 25-23, 3-1

With the first win of the season in the books, this victory also marks the 600th win for head coach Tom Hilbert as he enters his 25th season with the Rams. 

Stanford and Sullivan led the team again with 16 and 15 kills to end the weekend. Roumeliotis added another 26 digs and three assists to her stats while setter Ciera Pritchard led with 43 assists

The Rams will stay home this week as they host the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars on Friday at noon.

Taylor Paumen can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TayTayPau.