“C-S-U,” cried the crowd Thursday night as the Rams faced their fourth opponent of the season, the Georgia Southern Eagles. The Rams didn’t seem to struggle as much as they have lately, winning 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-19).
The Rams won the first point of all three matches and excellent play by freshman Dana Craston, who had four kills and eight digs, allowed the Rams to keep the lead even after the Eagles got hot and pressured the Rams.
“They’re a difficult team to prepare for,” said head coach Tom Hilbert. “They started off this match really cleanly, and it kind of scared me.”
After a few timeouts, the Rams were able to pull together and have two five-point runs and out-block the Eagles 7-1. The Rams, who have had defensive issues, played like a team, acquiring 46 total digs and 35 total assists, 30 coming from Evan Sanders.
“We all decided that we control our team’s momentum,” Jacque Davisson said. “The defense did really well tonight. I think they’re the core of (the) win.”
Tonight the Rams will face off against Big-10 powerhouse Ohio State. The Buckeyes have four seniors on the team, including two red-shirts. With their personnel, they hope to improve upon their shoddy 2008 record of 20-12.
The Buckeyes have yet to fall this season. Their record currently stands at 4-0, with only one losing game this season. With the Rams defense not quite as polished as it the coach would like it and the Bucks being a team of great size, there is reason to worry.
The Buckeyes tenth all-time kills leader Katie Dull has a reputation for killing and blocking and plans on achieving a style of play opposite her name.
“I do think that we can play volleyball at the same level as Ohio State,” Hilbert said. “Most of the time I say that we’re more physical than the team we’re playing, that’s not the case.”
However, the Rams have the psychological edge. Last season, inside the comforts of their home arena, when the Buckeyes were ranked 13th in the country, the Rams dispatched the Mid-west monsters 3-0.
Saturday, the Rams will play UT-Arlington, a team some players didn’t know existed. Though the Mavricks have only won one of their four matches, they’re not to be put in the Rams’ win column just yet.
The Rams plan on scouting the Texas team they’ve never seen and then coming up with a game plan.
“I don’t really know (what to expect). We’re going to watch them play and see what happens,” Hilbert said.
The Rams play tonight at 7 p.m. and 1 p.m. tomorrow, both at Moby Arena.
Volleyball beat reporter Keith Robertson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.