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CSU upsets No. 10 Kentucky in 1st game of Kohan era

Collegian | Michael Marquardt
Colorado State University outside hitter Annie Sullivan (2) and Middle Blocker Naeemah Weathers (9) block a hit during the volleyball game against the University of Kentucky Aug. 25. CSU won 3-1.

The remnants of Hurricane Hillary wasn’t the only storm that entered the Fort Collins area Friday night. Colorado State volleyball poured down as well. In Emily Kohan’s first career game as head coach, CSU defeated No. 10 Kentucky 3-1.

It was a thundering night to begin with from the crowd at Moby Arena. It was the third-largest crowd for a volleyball game ever and broke the record for largest student attendance in Moby Arena history, said Kyle Neaves, associate athletic director for communications at CSU.


“I think we really came together today, and I’m proud of everything we’ve done, and I just couldn’t have done it without the girls next to me.” -Emery Herman, CSU volleyball setter

In a night that shocked the volleyball world, the Rams turned a new leaf. Although Kohan is new at the helm, a large part of the team from a season ago remain, with the exception of Arizona transfer Emery Herman

“I think just running the offense, we have Emery (Herman), our new setter,” Malaya Jones said. “She’s a really, really great setter — she spreads the offense very well, even in situations that aren’t her strength. That’s what I really think gave us opportunities to be able to hit the ball, get more kills and spread the offense.”

Herman helped lead the Rams offense tonight, including notching a team-high 35 assists.

“She did wonderfully — not only looking at balls, but the team wants to play for her,” Kohan said. “They love her, and she’s constantly asking them, ‘What do you need more?’ and, ‘What do you need better?’ and so, yeah, she did awesome for the team in a great position to score on those rotations.”

Oftentimes last year, Kennedy Stanford would be alone at the top of the box score in kills, but that wasn’t the case in the Rams’ upset win tonight. It was a lot more balanced for the Rams, as Annie Sullivan (18) and Jones (11) led the team in kills. 

“I think it just shows the work we put in,” Herman said. “I think we really came together today, and I’m proud of everything we’ve done, and I just couldn’t have done it without the girls next to me.”

Instead of staying on the front lines, Stanford moved around the court, allowing the Rams to be more dynamic and preventing the Wildcats from focusing in on Stanford. 

“I just think we knew with the scouting reports of last year that teams are going to focus on Kennedy more,” Kohan said. “And so I think that’s a big kudos to the rest of our girls for being able to step up when they knew that Kennedy was getting blocks sent over to them.”

The Rams made it interesting to start the match. Needing 29 points to take the first set, the Rams set the tone. It was a true team effort by the Rams in order to clinch the first set. Herman assisted Stanford and Sullivan on the Rams’ 27th and 28th points before Naeemah Weathers capitalized on an attack error to clinch the set. 


The Rams took the third set up 2-0. However, they wouldn’t get the sweep done but came out in the fourth set with a thirst for victory. The Rams took care of business, winning the final set 25-18. Kohan’s message to the team helped calm them down and secure the victory.

“We got a little timid in the third set,” Jones said. “Even in those situations, you need to be brave; you need to block, tip and roll; you need to make better shots, better selections; you need to play how we played in the first two sets. They are a top-10 team, and we’re going to play that, and this is the thing: We did it, and we came out.”

The Rams will ride into tomorrow night with some of that same magic, as they take on No. 3 Stanford. Stanford is coming off of a 3-0 sweep against Northern Colorado. The game will be at home at 7 p.m., amd Moby Arena will continue rocking.

Reach Damon Cook at or on Twitter @dwcook2001.

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About the Contributor
Damon Cook, Sports Editor
Damon Cook is the 2023-24 sports editor for the The Collegian and has been at the paper since August 2022. He started doing coverage on volleyball and club sports before moving onto the women's basketball beat. He is in his third year and is completing his degree with a major in journalism and media communication and a minor in sports management. As The Collegian's sports editor, Cook reports on CSU sports and helps manage the sports desk and content throughout the week. After having a year to learn and improve, Cook will now get to be part of a new age under the sports desk. The desk moved on from all but one other person and will now enter into a new era. Damon started school as a construction management major looking to go in a completely different direction than journalism. After taking the year off during the COVID-19 pandemic, he quickly realized that construction wasn't for him. With sports and writing as passions, he finally decided to chase his dreams, with The Collegian helping him achieve that. He is most excited to bring the best and most in-depth sports coverage that The Collegian can provide.

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