Starting off what will become a four-match road trip, the Rams headed to Colorado Springs Friday as they faced off with the bottom of the conference, the Air Force Falcons.
CSU used its size and skill to overmatch the Falcons and win three straight games 30-25, 30-17 and 30-17.
The Rams looked like they couldn't be stopped at times as they opened up leads of nine, fifteen and twelve in games one, two and three, respectively.
"We did the things that we needed to do to win; low errors and good serving," head coach Tom Hilbert said.
The Rams were led by Seniors Casey Bauer and Dre Downs, both of whom had eight kills on the night. Downs hit .583 on the night with one error on twelve swings. Sophomore right side hitter Tonya Mokelki quietly had another strong performance as she notched seven kills on 13 swings.
"I thought we played well at times," Mokelki said. "It was hard to get energized for a game like this, with all the whistles it was hard to get in a rhythm."
The Falcons' offense was lead by Kristen Hamlett, who had a game-high 13 kills on the night. Hamlett was all over the court, as the Falcons primarily looked for her in every situation.
"This sort of game allowed us to do some things different, kind of like a practice," freshman middle blocker Mekana Barnes said.
The Rams had a great match serving as it was the first time this year that they have had more aces than errors. Bauer had a career-high five service errors, and Mokelki served the ball seven times in a row at one point in the game, which tied the longest streak of the year.
Right after the game ended, the Rams boarded a bus to travel to Albuquerque to take on New Mexico. But the success they had the previous night didn't follow them on the trip, as the Lobos beat the Rams in four games 18-30, 30-20, 30-22 and 30-26.
The loss dropped the Rams to 12-5 on the season and 5-2 in the Mountain West Conference. CSU was led from the middle, as Barnes recorded a career-high 14 kills. CSU's three seniors did their part as each of them had 12 kills on the night, while libero Katherine Whitney led the match with 17 digs.
"Our middles did a good job tonight," Hilbert said in a CSU press release. "I think it was a curse though that we won game one so easily. New Mexico was bombing their serves and did a great job tonight."
The Lobos' senior outside hitter Nicole Ryan led the Lobos with 13 kills and hit .371. She had a team-high 12 digs and had no hitting errors. Both Kelly Therkelsen and Samie Weber tallied five blocks. Therkelsen led the team with three aces.
New Mexico was able to put together multiple big time runs that allowed them pull away from the Rams in games two, three and four.
CSU will now take on MWC newcomer TCU Tuesday in Fort Worth at 7 p.m. After returning from Texas, the Rams will continue on the road as the second installment of the Boarder War is Friday in Wyoming.