While the CSU football team was breaking one streak, the CSU volleyball team was extending another.
The Rams have now won eight consecutive matches and 12 straight at home after
taking care of the University of Utah Utes (7-11 4-5) in four games Saturday night in Moby Arena, 30-21 28-30, 30- 24 and 30-18. With the win, CSU evened up the season series with the Utes at one match apiece. Utah dispatched the Rams at home in 4 games earlier this season.
CSU setter Ashley Fornstrom had a stellar match, earning only the second triple-double in the Mountain West Conference this season. The junior finished with 52 assists, 14 digs and 10 blocks.
The Rams turned what was a hard fought match into a laugher, dominating Utah in game 4. CSU freshman Audrey Hemmings served for 10 straight points to give the Rams a 16-6 lead. The green and gold cruised from there, coasting to an easy 30-18 victory.
Middle blocker Mekana Barnes said that she could see the Utes crack during the fast start.
“It put the pressure on them, and you could tell that was what was going on in their heads,” the junior said. “You could see it in their faces.”
Coach Tom Hilbert attributed the Utah collapse to a combination of good blocking, set off by freshman Danielle Minch’s solo block of Utah outside hitter Whitney Webb and good serving by Hemmings.
Utah’s only win game in game 2, the only game the Rams have lost in the month of October. CSU blew a late three-point lead as Utah served for four straight points on its way to a 30-28 victory.
Hilbert was discouraged by the way his team played in the game.
“The second game, Utah had a pretty good plan,” he said. “That game was a lot like the three games they won in Utah. They can manufacture those three- or four-point runs on us, which are pretty rare. We aren’t giving up many of those this year.”
Fornstrom’s triple-double marks the second of her career, the other coming against Wyoming last season. The Cheyenne Central graduate was surprised she amassed double-digit figures in three statistical categories, especially in blocks.
“I didn’t feel like I was actually blocking very well tonight,” she said. “I thought I was getting used on the line a lot, and I thank my team for a lot of my block assists.”
With the win, CSU extends its MWC lead, but senior Tonya Mokelki knows that the team still has work to do.
“There is always room for improvement,” the senior said. “We are playing consistent enough to win, but are we playing consistent enough to beat the number one team in the country? Obviously we can’t have those spurts where we aren’t playing well against teams like that.”
Hilbert, who won the 450th game of his career Saturday, is already looking ahead to his team’s three game road-trip this week.
“I am thinking about the next match,” the 18-year head coach said. “All that this means is that I am old.”
Volleyball beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com
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Mountain West Volleyball Standings
TEAM CONF OVERALL
CSU 8-1 14-4
UNLV 7-2 16-3
N. Mexico 6-4 15-7
BYU 5-4 13-6
TCU 5-5 18-8
Utah 4-4 7-10
Wyoming 4-6 10-9
SDSU 3-6 11-9
Air Force 0-10 7-17
Game 1 2 3 4 Final
Utah 21 30 24 18 1
CSU 30 28 30 30 3