Sep 212005
Authors: Paul Baker

After winning five straight matches at home, the Rams (6-3) will take their good fortune on the road this weekend as they take on San Diego State and UNLV.

CSU is a perfect 6-0 in Mountain West Conference openers, winning three games on the road and three at Moby.

The Rams will start their road trip today in San Diego, as they take on the Aztecs. The Aztecs are 8-4 on the season, but have won five out of their last six matches. Junior outside hitter Melanie Greene leads the team in kills with an average of 3.66 per game while senior middle blocker Lindsey Noll leads the team in attacking percentage with .299.

"San Diego State has some really experienced transfers, and they are a really new team compared to last year," senior Tess Rogers said.

San Diego State will run a different offense than the Rams are used to seeing. The Aztecs will use two setters, with one of them always playing in the back row. This means that they will have three outside hitters to choose from. The Rams on the other hand use one setter and have two outside hitters.

CSU leads the overall series with San Diego State 16-14 and have won 13 of the last 14 matches against the Aztecs, including the last five.

"This is a difficult road trip for us, on the fact that we are going into a gym where there isn't a lot of fans," said head coach Tom Hilbert. "It's a different environment and we're going to have to create our own energy."

After their match with the Aztecs, the Rams will take a day off before traveling to take on the Rebels of UNLV.

The Rebels are 4-7 on the year, but have lost three of the last four games. UNLV is led by sophomore outside hitter Maria Aladjova, who has 3.53 kills per game, and sophomore libero Jada Walker, who averages 4.21 digs per game.

Both CSU and UNLV have a common opponent this season as they both have played Cal State Northridge. The Rams won in three games, while the Rebels lost in five games.

"Not many people know how good UNLV can be this year," Rogers said. "We need to be ready this weekend."

CSU is 18-2 all time against the Rebels, with the Rams winning the last 13 meetings between the two teams.

"This is as important as any game this year," said senior Casey Bauer. "We need to start out strong, to build confidence to go through the rest of the season."

Coach Hilbert is looking to continue to add to his win column after recording his milestone 400th career win against Florida A&M last Saturday.

"The only reason I knew about it was because someone told me when I got to 398," Hilbert said. "I've been fortunate to have this job and to be doing it for so long."

Another landmark victory is on the way as the next win for the Rams will be the programs 600th win. The Rams are 599-327 in 30 years of volleyball.

The Rams will return home next Friday, September 30, to face off in the first installment of the Boarder War against Wyoming.


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