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Rams focus on team play against nationally ranked Stanford

Rams+focus+on+team+play+against+nationally+ranked+Stanford
Collegian | Chloe Leline

Following Colorado State‘s victory against the University of Kentucky Friday night, the Rams looked to extend their winning streak against Stanford the following evening. Expectations were high for the team, the Rams having sent the No. 10 Wildcats into their 2023 season with a loss.

Stanford was ranked No. 3 in the nation last year and came into Moby Arena with a fresh 3-0 shutout win against Northern Colorado. With both teams coming off of victories, the desire to win again was palpable. The crowd, however, was noticeably smaller from the previous evening, which was the first white-out game of the season.

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The Cardinals started off the first set strong, maintaining a dominant lead for the majority of the set. The first kill of the set was scored by Stanford’s Kendall Kipp; however, one thing that was clearly not lacking from the Rams was their ability to recover.

The Rams were consistently diving for balls that were nearly unreachable and creating points from those plays. Despite the tenacity of the Rams, the first timeout was called with CSU trailing 12-7 in the first set.

Following the timeout, a powerful kill came from CSU’s Naeemah Weathers, utilizing the height of the Cardinal blockers to place the ball in a blind spot. 

Even then, it was clear that the Cardinals were capitalizing on their strong, tall attacking front, and soon the match point for Stanford was in reach. The first set ended with the Rams trailing by nine points, 25-16.

“We can play great volleyball against really great teams. We deserve to be in the top 25 by the end of the season. I’m fully confident in that.” –Malaya Jones, middle blocker for CSU volleyball

The second set started off with Stanford scoring first but was immediately followed by a lethal kill from Kennedy Stanford, an outside hitter and senior for the Rams. The second set was evidence that the Rams weren’t struggling to put points on the board — they were just putting points on the board for the opposing team.

“Coming out and playing Stanford, we know we want to play with these teams, and we know that we’re going to be better in November against such a high-ranked opponent,” Stanford said.

With the Cardinals leading 10-4 in the second set, nearly half of Stanford’s points were from the ball going out of bounds on the Rams’ side. The break between sets seemed to have been more favorable for the Cardinals, with the Rams calling their second timeout of the set after succumbing to a seven-point run.

Following halftime, the Rams were trailing Stanford 2-0 overall. Unlike the first and second sets, the Rams started off with a lead in the third. The lead was established early, thanks to Stanford, who scored two aces for the Rams, putting them up 14-11 following a Cardinal timeout.

“I think a lot of this game was about us playing our own game,” Stanford said. “The first couple of sets, we let them dictate the pace, but in set three, we came out aggressive from the serving line. To the blocking, to our swinging, we dictated the pace, and that’s all that you need for the momentum to start rolling.”

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The Rams utilized this lead to win the third set 25-20.

“We put really good pressure on their passing, which makes their sets not as great,” said Malaya Jones, a redshirt junior middle blocker for the Rams. “We can play great volleyball against really great teams. We deserve to be in the top 25 by the end of the season. I’m fully confident in that.”

The Rams began to use the momentum gained in the third set to secure another set win in the fourth. Following a timeout from the Rams, the score was 10-9 with CSU attempting to claw their way to a lead.

“We had nothing to lose and were definitely playing against a whole other level of volleyball,” head coach Emily Kohan said. “You don’t win against a team like Stanford by being passive, and I was really proud of our attackers for continuing to swing hard and be aggressive.”

Despite the attempts from the Rams to gain a lead in the fourth set, they were unable to and lost 25-15.

The Rams’ next game will be 6:00 p.m. Tuesday in Greeley, Colorado, where they will look for a win against Northern Colorado.

Reach Emma Askren at easkren@collegian.com or on Twitter @emma_askren

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About the Contributors
Emma Askren
Emma Askren, Sports Editor
Emma Askren, alongside Damon Cook, is the fall 2023 sports editor for The Collegian. She began working at The Collegian during her first year in the fall of 2022, when she covered the swim and dive team as well as anything sports-related. She is currently a sophomore at Colorado State University, where she is majoring in journalism and media communication and double minoring in Spanish and sports management. During her first year, she joined the rowing team, began working as a reporter for The Collegian and working at the Student Recreation Center. Askren applied to CSU as a journalism major, knowing she wanted to combine her passion for sports and writing to create a fulfilling career. Upon realizing that Rocky Mountain Student Media was hiring for first-years, she jumped at the opportunity to become a writer for The Collegian. While working for the sports desk, Askren has had the opportunity to write about hockey, logging, whitewater rafting and the importance of women in sports. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, she seeks to break the status quo and become a successful sports journalist following graduation. Following a year as a sports reporter, Askren became a co-editor for the sports desk alongside Cook. Together the duo seeks to create a new and improved sports desk that caters to all readers of The Collegian and beyond.
Chloe Leline
Chloe Leline, Print Editor
Chloe Leline is a fourth-year art student majoring in graphic design and is the current print editor for The Rocky Mountain Collegian. Some of her duties include overlooking and editing the majority of the layout design in the newspaper and pushing the creative limits of the overall paper design. She was born and raised in a one-stoplight Michigan town and moved with her family to the big city of Austin, Texas, at 10 years old. There, she was able to get more in touch with her creative passions. In middle school, she discovered her love for design, and in high school, she became the editor in chief of her school's yearbook. These passions led her to Colorado State University. Art and print production give Leline an outlet to express her love of everything visual. Whether it’s a spread design in the newspaper or a quick sketch in her notebook, creating tangible things brings her happiness every day.  Working alongside other driven individuals at The Rocky Mountain Collegian brings Leline the extra inspiration that she has been longing for. She hopes her love for design can shine throughout the paper and bring readers that extra spark of joy she was lucky enough to find.

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