Sep 192010
 
Authors: Kevin Lytle

“How can we grow from this?”

That’s the question the Colorado State volleyball team asked itself Friday night following a five-set loss to Long Beach State University at Moby Arena.

CSU started strong, winning the first set 25-21, and later had a chance to take total control of the match by winning the second set. At one point in the second set, CSU had a 24-21 lead and ultimately had five different set point opportunities, but couldn’t bury the 49ers, who won the set, along with momentum, 33-31.

“Set two was critical,” said coach Tom Hilbert. “You don’t want to act like it is at the time, but if we win that, it’s a three set win for us.”

CSU rebounded to win set three, but in the fourth set the Rams started to unravel.

The 49ers were able to take control in the final two sets, helped along by seven attacking errors by CSU in the fourth set. The Rams then set their sights on a late rally to gain momentum going into the fifth set, as they did in Thursday night’s five-set win against Virginia Commonwealth University.

That plan, however, was derailed by the Rams’ poor play.

“We had a couple of errors at the end of the fourth game that didn’t allow us to carry much momentum to the fifth,” said sophomore Megan Plourde.

LBSU was then able to win the fifth set, aided by two of their last three points coming from attacking errors by CSU.

It wasn’t the amount of errors that ultimately led to the Rams’ defeat –– they had only one more attacking error than LBSU –– but rather the poor timing of those errors. Errors at all the wrong times continually knocked CSU out of rhythm and the inconsistent play kept them from winning the match.

CSU knows that it has to improve their level of play in order to meet the high expectations that have been placed upon them.

“Playing with consistency and getting your level up,” Hilbert said when asked what most needs to be improved upon. “No matter who you’re playing, play at your absolute best.”

The two tough matches against VCU and LBSU this week have provided valuable knowledge for the Rams to learn from heading into conference play. The Rams struggled for portions of both matches, looking far from dominant at times.

Senior Jacque Davisson feels that the lack of dominance has been due to Rams mistakes, rather than being outmatched by opponents. Davisson placed the blame on the LBSU loss on what she termed “uncharacteristic mistakes,” the kind of mistakes that can be corrected in order to improve as a team.

“You’ve got to lose to learn how to win,” Davisson said. “You have to go back and ask ‘what did we do and how do you fix it?’ And be better the next weekend. That’s all we can do.”

Volleyball Beat Reporter Kevin Lytle can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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