While some were dreading the start of another week, the CSU volleyball team was having a great Monday.
Not only did outside hitter Jamie Strauss earn Mountain West player of the week honors, but the team entered the CSTV/AVCA rankings for the first time this season, coming in at number 25.
“It was a pretty good day,” Strauss said. “I am really excited about the things that have been going on. Being ranked is a very good thing and we have worked hard for it.”
The junior becomes the second Ram to earn player of the week honors this season. Junior Mekana Barnes received the honor three times previously this year.
Strauss said her focus and discipline helped her last week.
“I think I focused a lot more on not making any errors and keeping my numbers consistent,” she said. “It started working on my favor when I focused on it more.”
Head coach Tom Hilbert reflected on what Strauss means to the program.
“She is a leader by how she plays and she just understands the game of volleyball,” he said. “Now everything is clicking for her and she is really valuable for our team.”
During last week’s victories over San Diego State and the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Strauss posted 36 kills and 18 digs while averaging 5.93 points per game.
Strauss’s impressive numbers also helped to propel the Rams to their number 25 ranking, the highest the team has been since week 14 of the 2004 season.
Middle blocker Tessa Nelson explained that the ranking is a reflection of how much the team has grown.
“Personally, it just shows the strides we have made this season,” the sophomore said. “We can’t think about it to much because in the end it doesn’t matter all that much, but it kind of nice to see we are making progress and getting better.”
Hilbert explained that his team deserves the spot, at least for now.
“I think this is a top 25 team when we are playing our best,” he said. “Those rankings are week to week, so we have to prove it every week.”
The Rams will have a chance to retain and possibly improve their status as they take on the struggling University of Northern Colorado Bears tonight at Moby Arena. The match starts at 7 p.m.
Sports writer Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.