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CSU volleyball rivalry week ends with a victory for CU fans

Ruby Kayser prepares to hit the ball
Colorado State University Defensive Specialist Ruby Kayser (49) prepares to hit the ball during a volleyball game against the University of Colorado Boulder CU won 3-0 Sept. 18. (Michael Marquardt | The Collegian)

After winning four straight games, Colorado State University volleyball did not get the desired outcomes during rivalry week.

No matter what sport it is, Colorado State University versus University of Colorado Boulder is always a heated rivalry. The Rams played the Buffaloes twice on two days — one match in Boulder and one in Fort Collins.

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CSU has the advantage in the overall record in the rivalry with a 25-14 record. CSU has dominated at home, with a 16-5 record in Moby Arena and 9-9 in Boulder.

Prior to 2019, whoever won between CSU and CU volleyball didn’t receive anything. Now, the rivals play for something a little more tangible.

CSU and CU now play for the Golden Spike, a golden train spike featuring both schools’ logos on it. The winner of the second match gets to take home the spike until the teams meet again.

“What it also does is show respect for the rivalry, and both schools identify that as an important match,” coach Tom Hilbert said. “It’s good for volleyball in the state of Colorado. CU invented the trophy, and I think they want bragging rights, but I think it’s good.”

On Thursday, CSU traveled to Boulder for the first match of the home-and-home series. The Rams got on top early, grabbing the first set 25-22. In the first set, CSU had more kills (16-13), errors (8-6) and a higher hitting percentage (0.22-0.19).

However, the Buffs stepped on the gas in set two and never looked back. CU won the next three sets 25-18, 25-19 and 25-20. CSU did not have many answers for CU in the second and third sets. The Buffs strung along consecutive points while the Rams were only able to score a consecutive high of three points throughout the game. 

CU was better statistically in points, kills, blocks, assists and digs. The Buffs ended with 72 points from their 56 kills, two aces and 14 blocks. The Rams got 60 points from 51 kills, four aces and five blocks. CU finished with 54 assists to CSU’s 49 and 66 digs to CSU’s 59.

CSU’s leaders included:

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Kills: Jacqi Van Liefde (15).

Aces: Alexa Roumeliotis, Brooke Hudson and Kennedy Stanford (all with one).

Blocks: Karina Leber (3).

Assists: Ciera Pritchard (39).

Digs: Roumeliotis (22).

Hoping to bring the Golden Spike home with them, the Buffs headed to Fort Collins on Saturday. Unfortunately for the Rams and the home fans in Moby Arena, the first set they won in Boulder on Thursday was their last of the series.

CU won the match in three sets. Each set was close, but the Rams could not find their way to a lead. After dropping the first set 25-23, the Rams could linger around in the second set. CSU and CU traded blows most of the time. Then CSU found itself down 22-19. CSU grabbed four straight points to go up 23-22. Just like the rest of the match, the rivals went back and forth for the rest of the set.

Ultimately, CU prevailed after going down 25-24 then scoring three straight points to close it out. The Buffs won 27-25 and put the nail in the coffin in the third set, winning 25-22. CSU made it interesting by sticking around again, but there was too much to overcome, and the Buffs finished strong.

Even though the Rams fell short, they still had more points (56-53), kills (45-40), aces (5-3), assists (42-39) and digs (50-47). The Buffs had four more blocks than the Rams (10-6).

The Buffs completed the series sweep and will host the Golden Spike in Boulder.

CSU leaders included:

Kills: Annie Sullivan (16).

Aces: Roumeliotis (2).

Blocks: Leber (4).

Assists: Pritchard (36).

Digs: Roumeliotis (12).

The Rams are back in action for the start of Mountain West play on Thursday in Fort Collins against Boise State University. CSU will enter conference play with a 4-5 record.

Tyler Meguire can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TMeguire.

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