Another big crowd at Moby, another big win for the CSU volleyball team.
The No. 12 Rams defeated the No. 25 Arizona Wildcats Sat. night 3-1 (25-20, 29-31, 25-22, 25-19) in front of 3,252 fans for their 23rd consecutive win at Moby.
Fans watching on Sat. may have been brought back to years past when teams needed 30 points to win each set as the second set netted a score of 31-29 in Arizona’s favor.
The second set featured a 12-attack rally that ended with a block by junior Tessa Nelson and red-shirt freshman Katelyn Steffan, tying it up at 23. The Rams fought off six set points, pushing the score to 29 all before the Wildcats prevailed 31-29.
“I thought they played pretty well in game two and we still almost won. They were at a very high level. We went into the locker room saying that can’t get us down,” said Hilbert. “That was the best set we’ve played this year against a really competitive team and we were a couple of swings away from winning it.”
Outside hitters Jaime Strauss and Jacque Davisson led the team with 14 kills each in a match that produced long rallies and 112 kills combined by the two teams.
“Both of our outside hitters out-played theirs and that’s a critical thing to happen playing a match like this with a lot of rallies in it,” said Head Coach Tom Hilbert.
Davisson also added 12 digs to give her a double-double in what Hilbert said is the perhaps the best match she has played in her career.
“From my stand-point I felt this was one of Jacque Davisson’s best matches as a Ram,” said Hilbert. “I think it was because it was such a high-level match. She was very athletic and didn’t get rattled.”
She had some extra motivation as well as she has played against a few of the Arizona players in club volleyball while in high school in California.
“I know like four of the players (on Arizona). I played against them in club,” said Davisson. “There was no trash talking tonight but there was in the past.”
Fresh off her Mountain West Conference Player of the Week award, Nelson provided another impressive performance, tallying nine kills on .368 hitting and adding six blocks, all while staying modest.
“To be honest I think that it (her good play) can be attributed to the other hitters on our team really opening things up. I only have to hit against one defender,” said Nelson. “I have to give credit to them.”
Strauss said she deserves more credit than that.
“Give her credit she’s doing good. She’s too modest, way too modest,” said Strauss.
Coach Hilbert, who is now three wins away from his 300th with CSU, said Saturday’s match was a big win.
“This is a really big win for us-I think they are underrated at 25th, they’re a very talented team.” said Hilbert. “I just felt like we’re a little bit better defensive team; we’re a little bit better ball handling team than them and we needed to play that way to show it.” said Hilbert.
With the win, the Rams record stands at 13-1, with a 10 match winning streak, which is their longest streak since winning 12 in a row during the 2006 season from Sept. 22-Nov. 10.