It’s no secret the CSU volleyball team is dominant at home, having not lost at Moby Arena in the last two seasons, but now it is time for the Rams to bring the dominance on the road.
During the Rams 16-1 start this season, the No. 13 Rams have only been away from Moby Arena six times, but they now begin a stretch where eight of their next 11 games will be on the road, beginning with Nevada-Las Vegas tonight (8 p.m. MT) and then San Diego State on Saturday (2 p.m. MT).
“Every conference road trip is going to be challenging, from this point out, and I think that we will have a target on our backs,” said head coach Tom Hilbert. “We haven’t been on the road much, so the pressure will be 100 percent on us. It will be a matter of our players going in and doing the little things well, like serving and passing, so that we don’t give away points and make them earn everything.”
At 5-0, the Rams currently sit atop the Mountain West standings, and they want to maintain that lead during this road trip. “It is very important to keep our lead. I think that we want to play good on the road, and every conference game is an important one. You can’t overlook anyone, as every team in our league is a big challenge,” said Rams senior Jamie Strauss, the Rams leader in kills this season.
UNLV (11-8, 4-2 MWC) would pull within one win of tying the Rams in the conference standings with a win tonight. Facing the Rebels in Las Vegas has not been kind to the Rams lately, as they have lost their last two matches in Sin City.
“UNLV is difficult to prepare for because they run a very fast tempo attack. It makes your players jumpy because it is so fast. They are the only team in the league that does that, so it is interesting getting ready for it,” said Hilbert, who won his 300th game as a CSU coach on Sunday.
SDSU (5-11, 2-4 MWC) hasn’t had much recent success against the Rams, losing the last ten matches, but when the Rams go on the road to play the Aztecs it is always difficult. “When you go down to sea level, it changes things for us, similar to what it changes for them when they come up to altitude. (The low altitude) affects serving and definitely passing. We have to go down there and acclimate,” Hilbert said. “They’ve got good competitors and good volleyball players; they’re not extremely athletic, but they can play the game.”
Volleyball beat writer Matthew Pucak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.