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CSU goes 2-1 in Ram Volleyball Classic

The+Colorado+State+University+volleyball+team+team+celebrates+a+point+Sep.+7.
Collegian | Avery Coates
The Colorado State University volleyball team celebrates a point Sept. 7. The Rams beat Bowling Green 3-2.

Head coach Emily Kohan and the Colorado State volleyball team hosted the Ram Volleyball Classic this past week Sept. 7-10. Bowling Green, No. 14 Baylor and Pacific joined the Rams for a triple header in the Moby Arena.

CSU first faced off against the Bowling Green Falcons Thursday in a four-set match, winning 3-1.

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The Rams started the first set blistering with a 9-0 run. They kept their momentum, but the Falcons steadily came back, making the first set interesting. That was until Naeemah Weathers came through with a clutch block, and Annie Sullivan showed off her power with a set-winning kill. CSU took the first set 25-19.

“(Weathers) is one of the highest-touching kids,” Kohan said. “When she is in rhythm and jumping high, she reaches really high above the net, which can weaponize her. When our passing can push it to the net to get her into those high-contact points, she is pretty unstoppable.”

Bowling Green didn’t back down and took the second set 25-21 after back-and-forth rallies. In the third set, CSU found themselves with another sizable lead and easily took control as they dominated the set 25-14.

In the fourth and final set, the Rams set the tone early and acquired, yet again, another large lead. However, Bowling Green showed they weren’t going down without a fight and quickly made a comeback on the Rams.

Eventually, the Falcons gained a lead late in the set, forcing extra points. From there, it was an intense back-and-forth battle between the two squads.

However, with Emery Herman setting up Malaya Jones and Sullivan, the Rams were able to finish the job and defeat Bowling Green.

They won the fourth and final set 31-29.

The next day, the Rams were matched up against No. 14 Baylor.

CSU had trouble finding momentum for the majority of the match and had difficulty finding holes in Baylor’s offense. Baylor’s aggressive style of play allowed them to take the first set 25-18.

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In the second set, Baylor was still able to gain the advantage over the Rams and consistently create unreachable plays. CSU went down early again and lost the set 25-20.

The Rams made it interesting in the third set as they came back from a 6-point deficit, but they were not able to hang on during extras, losing the final set 26-24.

The Rams looked to flip the page the following match on Saturday against Pacific.

The Tigers were able to jump on the Rams early in the first set and take a 4-point advantage. Fortunately for Ram fans, the duo of Weathers and Kennedy Stanford quickly got CSU back in the match.

The set stayed competitive and even went to extras until Karina Leber made a crucial block at the net, winning the first set 26-24 for the Rams.

Just like the first, the second set was a competitive, back-and-forth battle between the two squads. It stayed relatively close throughout the set until the Rams went on a late run. The set was capped off by an electric combined block by Weathers and Jones, allowing the Rams to win 25-19 in the second. The Rams’ chemistry seemed to be blossoming.

“As we went into the locker room today, we were on this quest to get everyone firing on all cylinders in the same game because on any given game you watch different people come up and down,” Kohan said. “We are a really dangerous team when we get everyone going at the same time.”

The Rams had their eyes on taking out the Tigers in the third set when they obtained a 5-point lead early. However, Pacific crept back and completed a significant comeback to win set three 26-24.

The fourth and final set against Pacific featured intense rallies between the Rams and the Tigers. CSU found a way to gain a decent lead on Pacific, but they again found a way to come back. Jones came through with clutch plays, and the Rams ended up taking the fourth and final set against Pacific 25-21 after a service error.

CSU took two out of the three matches during the Ram Volleyball Classic.

The Rams look ahead to next weekend as they prepare for a two-game series against Boulder. Kohan and her team are excited to face off against their in-state rivals, although they recognize how crucial coming away with the win is.

“We know it’s always a good team, especially with the rivalry we have,” Sullivan said. “We’ll have two against them — one here and one away — so hopefully trying to come out with two wins.”

CSU will first face off at 7 p.m. Sept. 14 in Boulder, Colorado, followed by a matchup in Fort Collins the following day.

Reach Ben Fairly at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @benjaminfairly.

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