In a battle of the two top ranked volleyball teams in the Mountain West Conference Thursday night at Moby Arena, the Rams prevailed with a shutout victory.
CSU (9-4,4-1) defeated the San Diego State Aztecs (10-5,2-2) in three games (30-18, 21-30, 22-30), extending its record at home this season to a perfect 8-0.
The Aztecs came into play Thursday night second only to the Rams in the MWC. CSU remains in first place with a 4-1 conference record.
The Rams dominated the Aztecs in nearly every category. Middle blocker Tessa Nelson said the team’s passing was a difference in the match.
“I don’t think we were surprised,” Nelson said. “We put ourselves in a good position to win because our passing was very consistent. It was hard for them to defend when Ashley (Fornstrom) had a lot of options.”
Nelson also said that she doesn’t expect to see the same team when they play them in San Diego, Calif., in late October.
“I think they are a better team than we saw tonight,” she said. “We know what they’re capable of, and we also know that we need to be prepared when we play them in San Diego.
In game 1, the Rams had some strong serving, setting the tone for the match. Outside hitter Jaime Strauss had two service aces in a row to put the Rams up 5-3. Coach Tom Hilbert said that this was important in disrupting the Aztecs’ game plan.
“We started the match servicing really well,” he said. “We had them back on their heels at the beginning of the match and I think probably disrupted them a lot.”
Strauss led the Rams with 13 kills, 10 digs, 3 total blocks and 2 aces. Middle blocker Mekana Barnes and true freshman Danielle Minch also had solid matches. Barnes had 11 kills and 3 blocks and Minch had 10 kills. Libero Katelin Batten led CSU in digs with 13.
The Rams did have 10 service errors, though, while the Aztecs had zero. Hilbert explained the discrepancy was because of CSU’s aggressiveness.
“San Diego State missed zero, but look what happens,” Hilbert said. “We passed way better. They passed worse because we’re driving it over the net. I think that’s important for volleyball fans to know.”
The Rams host the University of Nevada-Las Vegas 1:00 p.m. Saturday at Moby Arena.
Volleyball beat reporter Brandon Owens can be reached at email@example.com.
Player of the Game: Jaime Strauss
3 total blocks
2 service Aces