The CSU volleyball team is beaming with confidence after dominating the Rocky Mountain Challenge, defeating the CU Buffs, North Carolina Tarheels and No. 8 Florida Gators, losing only one set along the way.
“I think we played pretty flawlessly. We did everything that was asked of us,” said sophomore outside hitter Jacque Davisson. “We really believe in ourselves too, which is a big part of it.”
With their win on Saturday, the Rams pushed their home winning streak to 19 games, something the team says it prides itself in.
“When we’re in the locker room we talk about it (the winning streak),” said senior middle blocker Mekana Barnes. “That’s the goal in Moby-to make the opponent work for it.”
Davisson agreed, saying that the team gets a boost of confidence when they play in front of a friendly crowd.
“We come into Moby and we know we’re going to win,” said Davisson. “There’s never really a doubt in our mind.”
Moby was rocking on Friday and Saturday night as over 6,000 fans came out the two nights combined. On Saturday night alone 4,009 fans attended – the highest total in Moby in seven years.
“The students were out two nights in a row, which is awesome,” said Hilbert. “I think we treated them to some pretty good matches.”
Going into the match against Florida, the Rams kept a loose, positive attitude and turned the tables so the pressure was on the Gators, rather than themselves.
“Coach told us before the game, they’re eighth in the nation, we’re 21st so the pressure is on them. That’s the perspective we had going in,” said Davisson. “It was just a game for us to prove to the rest of the country how good we really are.”
How good they really are remains to be seen, and head coach Tom Hilbert has kept things in perspective after their impressive sweep of the Florida Gators.
“That’s a talented team (Florida). They have a great future ahead of them but I think we caught them with a great environment and an experienced team and we were able to win,” said Hilbert.
Either way, the team knows they did something special this weekend and hopes Saturday night’s match had some other teams looking behind their backs.
“Other teams now know how good we are. It puts pressure on whoever our opponent is. They know we’re not just going to lie down and hand it over to them no matter what their record is,” said Barnes.
The Rams hit the court again on Thursday night with a home bout against MWC foe Utah. They will then face BYU, another conference rival, on Saturday night in Moby Arena. These are two games the Rams feel confident about.
“We just put ourselves at a higher pedestal than other teams right now,” said redshirt freshman Katelyn Steffan. “We feel capable of winning the big games.”
Volleyball beat writer Stephen Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.