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CSU volleyball splits away series, loses winning streak

 

Colorado State volleyball team members celebrate a decision by the referees to award a point to the team
Colorado State volleyball team members celebrate a decision by the referees to award a point to the team that gave the Rams a 29-27 set win Oct. 23. The Rams won 3-0 against the visiting University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels. (Gregory James | The Collegian)

The Colorado State Rams volleyball team hit the road this Halloween weekend after dominating the University of Nevada, Las Vegas last Saturday, but they had to prepare for the lower-ranked United States Air Force Academy Falcons and University of New Mexico Lobos. While the Falcons (6-16 overall, 3-9 in conference) were statistically a lesser opponent than the Rams, the Lobos (17-6, 8-4) were going to be an actual test.

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Colorado State vs. Air Force

In the second meeting between the two colleges this season, the Rams took care of business. In the previous match earlier this month, the Rams swept the Falcons in Moby Arena. The Rams won that match 25-14, 25-19 and 25-15 and kept that momentum in this week’s match. 

On Thursday, Air Force started off strong and scored the first three points of the set. The Rams caught up quick, however, and went on a three-point run to tie it at four. Oftentimes, teams trade points before one takes off, or they stay neck and neck. However, in this set, each team went on mini-scoring runs and the other answered.

Late in the set, the Rams went up 21-18. Then, the Falcons scored four straight to take a one-point lead. The Rams then outscored the Falcons 4-1 in the final stretch to closely win 25-23.

The second set featured a huge scoring run by the Rams early on, and they coasted for the rest of the set. The Rams, down 6-5, scored seven straight points to go up 12-6 with Annie Sullivan contributing three kills while Alexa Roumeliotis helped with two aces.

Shortly after, the Rams outscored the Falcons 7-2 to take a 19-8 lead. Air Force found some momentum to put points on the board, but the Rams’ lead was too much to overcome. CSU won set two 25-16.

While the Rams avoided the sweep, they did not leave enough in the tank to have a chance at a comeback.”

The Falcons led early in the third set, trying to avoid the sweep once again. Air Force was up 10-6, but then the Rams took control and turned that around fast. CSU scored five consecutive points to take an 11-10 lead. Both teams were trading points until the Rams went up 21-17. After that, it looked easy for CSU to close it out 25-20. 

Categorical leaders for the Rams:

Kills: Sullivan (12)

Aces: Roumeliotis (3)

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Blocks: Ciera Pritchard and Karina Leber (3)

Assists: Pritchard (38)

Digs: Kennedy Stanford (9)

Team comparisons (CSU – USAFA):

Points: 57 – 42

Kills: 42 – 32

Aces: 8 – 4

Blocks: 7 – 6

Assists: 40 – 28

Digs: 35 – 28

CSU vs. University of New Mexico

In their previous matchup, like with the Falcons, the Rams swept the Lobos in Fort Collins. But UNM had a chance at revenge on their home court come Saturday.

The Rams struggled to get things going in the first set as UNM reached 10 points first and led 10-3. The Lobos sustained the lead, going up 15-8. The set was pretty much in the books when the Lobos gained a 20-13 lead. UNM closed the set out quickly 25-16, and CSU lost its first set in nine days.

The second set was more of an equal competition as the Lobos got out to a two-point lead, but the Rams answered with six points of their own. After going up 8-3, the Rams were unable to keep their lead, and the Lobos slowly regained their momentum, taking it back 12-11.

UNM then ran away with it and went up 18-13. The Rams made a push at a comeback, reducing the Lobos’ lead to 24-22. But UNM closed it out by a Rams service error, winning 25-22.

Although the Rams were heading into set three 0-2, they were trying to avoid a sweep as much as possible. Both teams were trading points and no one was willing to let the other get very far without responding.

UNM grabbed the biggest lead of the set when they went up 16-12. It did not last long because the Rams scored four straight to tie it up. Later in the set, both teams were locked at 22. CSU, however, was not going to end the road trip by getting run through as Stanford scored three straight kills to win the set 25-22.

While the Rams avoided the sweep, they did not leave enough in the tank to have a chance at a comeback. Both teams were trading points again, but the Lobos slowly started creeping away with it. After only being up 8-7, the Lobos scored three to go up 11-7.

Shortly after, UNM scored four straight to increase their lead 16-9 and seemingly put the set and match away. Near the end of the match, UNM went up 19-10 and ended up winning the set 25-14.

The Rams’ loss to the Lobos is their first loss since Sept. 30, when they visited California State University, Fresno and lost 1-3.

Categorical leaders for the Rams:

Kills: Stanford (16)

Aces: Sasha Colombo (1)

Blocks: Colombo (4)

Assists: Pritchard (37)

Digs: Roumeliotis (17)

Team comparisons (CSU – UNM):

Points: 54 – 62

Kills: 48 – 49

Aces: 1 – 2

Blocks: 5 – 11

Assists: 43 – 46

Digs: 46 – 62

Despite the loss of the Rams’ seven-game winning streak, they’re still at the top of the Mountain West standing as they sit at No. 1 with an overall record of 14-7  and conference record of 10-2. The Rams will return home against the University of Nevada, Reno on Nov. 4.

Reach Tyler Meguire at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TMeguire.

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