If there’s one CSU team to watch this weekend, it’s the
“This is a very special group of players,” said head coach Tom
Hilbert. “Teams like this don’t come around that often. This is
going to be one of the best teams at CSU. People need to watch
CSU has the statistics to back up that sentiment.
The No. 9 Rams (8-1), looking to repeat as Mountain West
Conference champions, have won their last eight matches and hope to
continue the streak this weekend.
The Rams enter conference play against Air Force (3-4) at 7
tonight and face New Mexico (6-4) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Moby
“They’re going to be exciting games,” said junior right-side
hitter Dre Downs.
AFA and UNM will offer tales of two very different teams with
one goal: to upset the Rams.
The Falcons are a more experienced team this year; six of seven
probable starters are juniors and seniors. The Falcons have lost
the last 19 matches to the Rams and are 1-19 all-time against CSU,
but Hilbert doesn’t think the team will shy away.
“(Conference teams) don’t care about a ranking; they know us as
CSU,” Hilbert said. “There’s no intimidation factor. They’ll come
in and play hard with no risk.”
The Falcons might look a little rusty tonight after not having
played since Sept. 14, when they lost to Northern Colorado, but the
Rams expect the team to put up a fight.
“They’re a really fast team,” said senior middle blocker Katie
Jo Shirley-Cahoon. “They’re going to go out and try to upset
When the Lobos roll into town Saturday night, the Rams will face
another challenge on the court.
The Lobos, 20-26 lifetime against CSU, are also getting quality
performances from their middle blockers. Junior Chelsea Sondrup and
freshman Samie Weber are tied with a team-best .295 hitting
average, and the other hitters aren’t far behind. Sophomore
right-side hitter Kelly Therkelsen has a .252 average with 3.28
kills per game.
“They’re a young team,” said CSU sophomore libero Kristen
Karlik. “They’re the underdog and they have nothing to lose.”
Hilbert also hopes the crowd support continues at home for both
games this weekend.
“CSU accounts for 44 percent of the attendance in the Mountain
West,” Hilbert said. “We like playing here. We want the students at
CSU to be proud of this team. This core group has worked very hard
for this year.”