The Rams struggled hitting the ball Friday night against the University of Wyoming, but stepped up their blocking behind senior Dre Downs in the deciding fifth game as CSU won 30-24, 27-30, 19-30, 30-22, 15-12.
Their senior trio pf Casey Bauer, Tess Rogers and Dre Downs led the lady Rams. Rogers had a match-high 14 kills, while Bauer chipped in with 13 kills and a match-high 16 digs. Both had trouble finding the seams in the Cowgirls' blocks as they hit .026 and .025, respectively.
"Tess and Casey started hitting the ball long early in the match and it threw them off," head coach Tom Hilbert said.
Downs was a big presence in the middle for the Rams as she set a career high with 12 blocks to go with 11 kills.
"Dre carried us with her blocking tonight," Hilbert said.
Game two went in a different direction. Three times the Rams had a lead of five points or more and gave it up. The Cowgirls were led by the presence of Angie Hellbaum in game two, who tallied five of her 10 kills in that frame. The Rams didn't help their own cause as they had 15 errors.
The third game was again lopsided in the Cowgirls' favor. Wyoming was almost flawless, committing only one error and 14 kills. Outside hitter Kelsey Loop led the way, as five of her match-high 14 kills came in the third game. Wyoming had four service aces, which helped throw the Rams off guard.
"They served us tough, which I think is the key to beating our team," Hilbert said.
The Rams, in jeopardy of losing their first home game of the year, went back to their roots for an exciting finish. They got the ball to their three seniors, each of whom had three kills in game four. Wyoming lost the dominant play they established in games two and three, as they committed 12 errors to only 11 kills in the game.
With game five staring both teams in the face, it came down to heart and determination. Both of which were working for the Rams.
"We were in game five, a pressure situation,' said freshman Ashley Fornstrom. "We needed to get the ball down and that is what we did."
Fornstrom had a career night as well, as she recorded 56 assists. Rams right side hitter Tonya Mokelki also had a great game as she posted 11 kills, but most importantly gave the emotional boost the Rams needed in the middle part of the match.
"I commend Tonya for how she played tonight," Hilbert said. "Hanging back and hitting .409, we needed to get her the ball more."
The Rams learned all about themselves this weekend, as they were able to pull out a five game victory. CSU's only other five game match resulted in a loss to Northern Iowa earlier this year.
"When you go through adversity, it's always hard," Downs said. "Wyoming is a great team, we learned to come back in the win tonight."
The Rams return to action next Friday when they host BYU and Utah on Homecoming weekend.