Aug 262009
 
Authors: Keith Robertson

It must be fall.

The freshmen are wandering around campus with expressions of confusion as they stare at their class schedules, the bike racks are too crowded and the CSU volleyball team has begun its final week of practice prior to its season opener this weekend.

The team has swapped the previous weeks’ methods of drilling and repetition for a week of game situations and simulations.

And the Rams are happy to be scrap-blocking and killing exercises during a 25-point game.

“It’s been good to get that kind of environment going,” said senior libero Katelin Batten. “It has been good, high energy.”

In addition to getting the players some more reps in a game setting, the team played around with some of the lines that will be on display in this weekend’s home tournament.

Head coach Tom Hilbert has been using combinations of players and situations to determine, for each player, the adequate amount of time they should spend on the floor.

“We’ve been working on the line-ups we’ll use and people’s different roles,” Hilbert said. “We really needed to play a little bit.”

Hilbert also said that when it comes to the strengths and weaknesses of his team, the Rams have been inconsistent.

On one hand, the team has been able to show their depth and diversity as players are taking their game to the next level, but Hilbert said the team needs to increase its hunger to kill balls and improve on their ability to maintain a sturdy defense.

During practice this week the team worked to get familiar with their roles as well as how they’re going to interact with each other on the court.

“(We’re) just working out the kinks and getting comfortable playing next to each other, just putting everything together for the first time in a game-like situation,” said middle blocker Tessa Nelson.

Now that the team has had time to learn each other’s movements, tendencies and reactions, the players feel more comfortable with the idea of playing a full regular season game.

The young players have begun to fade in with those more experienced and the team is itching to see different colors across the net.

“I don’t think (the games) could come soon enough. We’re all sick of playing each other,” Batten said.

Volleyball beat reporter Keith Robertson can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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