CSU volleyball strikes 3-1 season-opening win against UNC

The+Colorado+State+University+volleyball+team+huddles+after+winning+their+game+against+the+North+Carolina+Tarheels+at+Moby+Arena+Aug.+26+The+Game+resulted+in+a+win+for+CSU+of+25-17.

Collegian | Garrett Mogel

The Colorado State University volleyball team huddles after winning their game against the North Carolina Tarheels at Moby Arena Aug. 26 The Game resulted in a win for CSU of 25-17.

Karsyn Lane, Sports Director

The Colorado State University volleyball team showed out in Moby Arena on a fresh court, surrounded by green and gold and long-missed by a packed student section during their first game of the 2022 season against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With smiles on their faces and revenge on their minds, the Rams were ready to start the season off with a bang, defeating UNC 3-1.

Colorado State University Middle Blocker Malaya Jones (1) blocks the ball during the CSU Volleyball game against the North Carolina Tarheels Aug. 26 The Game resulted in a win for CSU of 25-17
Colorado State University Middle Blocker Malaya Jones (1) blocks the ball during the CSU Volleyball game against the North Carolina Tarheels at Moby Arena, Aug. 26. The Game resulted in a win for CSU of 25-17
(Collegian | Garrett Mogel )

In a previous matchup against UNC in 2021, Colorado State fell short in a 2-3 loss in North Carolina but were ready to serve Moby Madness this time. Tonight’s starters included six returning players, adding freshman defense specialist, Kate Yoshimoto, to the mix.

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“With the anticipation of the first game, I was a little nervous, but playing with the team, they make it so much easier to come out.” –Kate Yoshimoto, defensive specialist

The game started out in Colorado State’s favor, scoring the first two points of the night. CSU showed high intensity and communication from the start, keeping a sharp defense and serving an even harder offense. The Rams and Tar Heels battled point by point, tying seven times in the first set alone but closed it out with a win, 25-20.

Colorado State University Defensive Specialist Helena Perez (21) Serves the ball during the CSU Volleyball game against the North Carolina Tarheels Aug. 26 The Game resulted in a win for CSU of 25-17
Colorado State University Defensive Specialist Helena Perez (21) Serves the ball during the CSU Volleyball game against the North Carolina Tarheels at Moby Arena, Aug. 26. The Game resulted in a win for CSU of 25-17
(Collegian | Garrett Mogel)

As the second set unfolded, the team displayed great teamwork and had a few tricks up their sleeves. Notably, senior setter Ciera Pritchard attacked the Tar Heels with a silent kill, tipping the ball right into the center of UNC. As the Rams climbed up the scoreboard, they left the Tar Heels eating dust, winning the second set 25-16.

During the third set, Colorado State found themselves recovering from a consistent three-point lead UNC created. As the Tar Heels inched closer to 25 points, the Rams fought back to close the point gap. Despite their efforts, UNC closed out set three 25-21 in their favor.

It was clear heading into the fourth set the Rams were prepared to finish off the Tar Heels and bring home the first season win — but not without a fight. The Rams defense turned the net into an unbreakable wall, nearly doubling the number of blocks compared to UNC. With UNC up 15-10, Colorado State knew they needed a comeback to close out the game, and they did just that. The Rams defended Moby and won an exciting and well-deserved 25-17 fourth set, defeating UNC 3-1.

“With the anticipation of the first game, I was a little nervous, but playing with the team, they make it so much easier to come out,” Yoshimoto said. The Colorado State Rams will be back in Moby Arena tomorrow, Aug. 27, when they take on the University of California, Santa Barbara at 7 p.m.

Reach Karsyn Lane at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @karsynlane1.