The Colorado State volleyball team returns to the friendly confines of Moby Arena this weekend, looking to rebound from its first loss of the season last Saturday against Florida.
Starting tonight, CSU will take on three opponents in two days as part of the inaugural Rams Volleyball Classic. The tournament runs Friday and Saturday and features six matches in two days.
Last weekend in the Campus Credit Union Invitational in Gainesville, Fla., the Rams won the first two matches, sweeping both Bowling Green and Albany. In the third match, the team faced No. 6 Florida and lost a hard fought affair in four sets.
Despite the loss, the team knows that the experience it gained was invaluable, but there is no doubt the team is happy to be home.
â€œFlorida was a great experience for us on the road,â€ said senior Danielle Minch. â€œBut itâ€™s always great to play at Moby.â€
Junior setter Evan Sanders echoed the sentiment of being happy to be back at home.
â€œWe love our Moby fans,â€ Sanders said. â€œItâ€™s a lot easier to play on your home court than it is to play on the road.â€
Tonight at 7, the Rams (5-1) face Texas Tech (2-4). The Red Raiders are already matching their win total from 2009, when they went 2-27 under first-year head coach Trish Knight.
Following tonightâ€™s match, the Rams will face a noon start time on Saturday for their match against Northeastern.
Northeastern, who will face the Rams for the first time in school history, enter the weekend with a record of 5-2.
The Northeastern match is the first on Saturday with the unique scheduling where CSU plays twice in one day for the second time in just over a week. While it is out of the normal routine, it is something the team is comfortable with.
â€œI think we did a good job of it on the road trip,â€ Minch said. â€œSince we did it last week, it will be much easier thing for us this week.â€
Saturday eveningâ€™s match against Illinois State has been designated â€œLocal Heroes Night.â€ Admission to service men and women from all branches of the military, as well as members of the police, fire and EMT services will be $1. The event was scheduled in remembrance of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Saturdayâ€™s match against the Redbirds is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
While it may seem that the season is well under way, the Rams realize that games such as those facing them this weekend are best used as preparation to work out kinks before the start of Mountain West Conference play.
â€œThere are a lot of areas that we want to get better at,â€ said coach Tom Hilbert. â€œOur goal is to understand what all of our issues are and what we need to do by the time we take that trip to Salt Lake City (for the first conference game).â€
Volleyball Beat Reporter Kevin Lytle can be reached at email@example.com.