If composure under pressure is a test of character, CSU’s young volleyball team proved that they have plenty. After going two games down to conference rival San Diego State on Friday, the Rams rallied and won the next three to take the match.
“If you look to who we are and CSU’s history, I think our team thrives off games like that,” said Michelle Knox, the Rams’ captain and lone senior.
The first game was a battle of epic proportions the Aztecs and the Rams going blow for blow, point for point. The atmosphere in Moby Arena could have been cut by a knife with everyone in attendance sitting on the edge of their seats.
By contrast, the second game was a one-sided affair. The Rams had a team hitting percentage of just .085 compared to the Aztecs’ .351. CSU lost the game 30-18 and went into the break down two games.
“The girls went into the locker room expecting to get reamed,” said Tom Hilbert, the Rams’ head coach. “I threw them a change-up and just told them to focus,” he said.
CSU returned to the court looking refreshed and inspired. Freshman Tess Rogers led the team in the third game with 6.5 points as the Rams earned a 30-25 victory to take them to 2-1 in the match.
In the fourth game the Rams took it up a gear securing a 30-21 by holding the Aztecs to a .053 hitting percentage and firmly turning the momentum in their favor.
By the time the fifth match rolled around, the 13,000 fans in Moby Arena were on their feet and making themselves heard. With the momentum and the crowd on their side, the Rams gained and maintained a lead to win the game 15-12, and the match 3-2.
“(The freshman players) understand, now, that they can come back and be competitive, that was the best thing that we got from last night,” Hilbert said.
The Rams were able to roll the momentum over from their Friday night victory into the match against UNLV on Saturday. CSU needed just three games to put away another Mountain West Conference rival.
“Last night’s match, being down 2-0, really gives us confidence,” said sophomore setter Melissa Courtney, Saturday.
The Rams will try to carry that confidence through to next weekend and their first in-conference road trip to Air Force and New Mexico.