The Colorado State volleyball team jumped out to a quick start in Mountain West Conference play this weekend, winning two matches in the state of Utah.
CSU started conference play with a tough five-set victory over BYU Friday night. The Rams won the first set easily, 25-16, but didnâ€™t play well in the second set, committing 12 attacking errors and five service errors. CSU lost the second set despite BYU hitting .000 for the entire set.
CSU bounced back to win the third set, but lost the fourth 26-24, setting up a fifth set for the third straight game.
The Rams jumped out early in the fifth set, winning the first four points, and never trailed in the decisive set to win 15-13 with the final point coming off of a kill from Danielle Minch.
The Rams then traveled up Interstate 15 for a match against Utah. CSU started slow, but came away with a three set sweep of its conference rivals.
Utah (6-8, 1-1 MWC) came out strong in the first set, staking a 17-12 lead at one point, before the Rams settled down.
â€œWe just needed to stay patient,â€ CSU coach Tom Hilbert said after the match. â€œOnce we settled down, we realized that if we hit smart, they would struggle.â€
CSU (11-2, 2-0) went on a 7-1 run to take a 19-18 lead in the set. It was a lead the Rams wouldnâ€™t relinquish, going on to win the set 25-22.
Both the second and third sets were close, but the Rams managed to finish each set strong, allowing them to get the sweep.
â€œWe believe weâ€™re a great, end-game team,â€ said senior Danielle Minch on Sunday. â€œWe want to show weâ€™re a tough team and today we did that.â€
Minch was the catalyst for the Ramsâ€™ attack, compiling 14 kills in the match while hitting an astonishing .619. This was the ninth straight match for Minch with 10 or more kills.
This match represented the final game in conference play in the Beehive State for the Rams. BYU will be moving next year to the West Coast Conference as part of its move to play independently in football. Utah will be joining the Pacific 10 Conference next season.
The idea that they will never again play a conference match in Utah was met with mixed emotions by the Rams.
â€œItâ€™s nostalgic,â€ Hilbert said. â€œBut itâ€™s nice to make a statement in our last trip here.â€
Volleyball beat reporter Kevin Lytle can be reached at email@example.com.