CSU volleyball struggles continue, lose third consecutive match

Helena+Perez+%2827%29+watches+the+ball+after+saving+it+during+the+Colorado+State+University+vs+the+University+of+New+Mexico+game

Collegian | Mykyta Botkins

Helena Perez (27) watches the ball after saving it during the Colorado State University vs the University of New Mexico game Nov. 10. CSU lost 3-0.

Dylan Heinrich, Staff Reporter

Things often get tougher before they get easier. The Rams found this out the hard way, as the Colorado State University volleyball team lost 3-0 to the University of New Mexico, suffering their third defeat in a row.

CSU started off on the wrong foot, falling behind 11-2 to start the first set. The team nearly closed the gap late, bringing the UNM Lobos lead down to 22-20. However that wouldn’t be enough, with the Rams falling 25-21 after a near miraculous comeback.

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The big advantage for New Mexico came in their hitting percentage. The Lobos put up a staggering .341, while holding Colorado State to .209 in the first set. That extra boost allowed UNM several kills to pushed them over the top.

The Rams fell behind again in the second set, with an extreme deficit coming at 16-8. CSU was unable to close the gap, with New Mexico outscoring Colorado State 25-17 to go up two sets.

The biggest difference maker during this set came in terms of service aces. The Lobos were able to tally five in the second set, compared to none for the Rams. New Mexico has succeeded in terms of aces all year, placing fourth in the Mountain West Conference with 1.51 aces per set coming into this matchup.

CSU played their best volleyball during the third set, even holding a lead at 14-13. But UNM grabbed the lead late, earning their first match point at 24-22. The Rams continued to fight, scoring two straight to tie things up. But it just wouldn’t be enough, as the Lobos closed it out 26-24 in the third and final set. New Mexico added two more service aces during the final set, doubling up Colorado State 8-4 in total.

The Rams played tough throughout the match, best demonstrated by their 56 digs. The team averaged 18.67 digs per set, staying way above their season average of 12.35.

This dig party was led by junior defensive specialist Helena Perez, whose 16 digs tallied as a new season high. 

Another standout was Annie Sullivan, who was the only Ram in double-digit kills with 13.

This stretch marks CSU’s first three game losing streak against conference opponents since 2006. The Rams now fall to 10-5 in conference play (17-9 overall), but losses by the University of Wyoming and San Diego State University officially qualify the Rams for the Mountain West Volleyball Championship tournament, held in Fort Collins from November 23-25.

Colorado State will continue to fight for a top seed and buck their recent losses in their next match against in-state rival United States Air Force Academy on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 12 p.m. 

Reach Dylan Heinrich at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @dylanrheinrich

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