CSU completes season sweep versus Fresno State

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Collegian | Reiley Costa

The Colorado State University volleyball team celebrates their win over California State University, Fresno Bulldogs Oct. 29.

Damon Cook , Staff Reporter

The Colorado State University Rams volleyball team beat the California State University, Fresno Bulldogs Oct. 29 in Moby Arena. The Rams struggled early, dropping the first set 25-19. Despite that, they won the next two sets by a tight margin of 26-24 and 25-22. In the fourth set, they blew the Bulldogs out 25-16, winning the game 3-1.

The Rams increased their winning streak to three with the win over the Bulldogs and now hold an overall record of 17-6 with a 10-2 conference record. The Bulldogs fell to 0-12 in conference play

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“We’ve struggled this year against hitters that aren’t necessarily big but have live, fast arms,” CSU head volleyball coach Tom Hilbert said. “(Ella Rud) had her way with us all night, and we have to be better at defending that kind of player.”

The Bulldogs looked to sophomore outside hitter Rud often in the first set. She had eight of her 22 kills in the first set and eventually lead the match in kills. The Rams had trouble blocking Rud, which allowed her to use her strength to get kills. 

“Coming out hard and aggressive in the second second set is something we always look to do.” –Kennedy Stanford, CSU junior outside hitter

The Rams got off to a slow start in the first set, totaling only 11 kills, which was their lowest of the afternoon. While the Rams did not start off great as a group, senior outside hitter Annie Sullivan caught fire in the first set, totaling five of the Ram’s 11 kills and leading the team.

Once junior outside hitter Kennedy Stanford, who only had two kills in the first set, got it going, the Rams won their next three sets. She ended with 16 kills on the night, which led the team.

“Coming out hard and aggressive in the second set is something we always look to do,” Stanford said. 

Stanford helped propel the Rams to victory in the remaining sets, contributing two kills during a near six-point run in the second set. Sullivan also made a heads-up play to put the ball into an empty zone on the Bulldogs’ side of the court, and that kill tied the second set 24-24 before Rams won 26-24.

The second set was a big momentum booster for the Rams, as they won the third and fourth sets. While the third set was similar to the second with a lot of back-and-forth action between the two teams, the fourth set was anything but. The Rams got out to a 14-7 lead early and never looked back, winning 25-16, thus completing the season sweep of the Bulldogs. 

The Rams will look to get revenge as they take on the San Jose State University Spartans Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. in San Jose, California. The Rams lost to the Spartans 3-2 in their last matchup.

Reach Damon Cook at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @dwcook2001.