Colorado State’s volleyball team must feel like a bunch of janitors lately, as the Rams have now swept their last four opponents, defeating San Diego State 3-0 on Saturday.
The Rams have only dropped two sets in the month of October, still holding on to beat TCU in five.
The win over SDSU is its 11th in a row and CSU has a stranglehold on the Mountain West Conference lead to begin the second half of league play.
â€œA lot of people consider this to be â€˜down the stretch,â€ said head coach Tom Hilbert. â€œYou can approach it by saying â€˜we just want to get through it,â€™ or you can approach it and say â€˜we want to be better the second time we play everybody.â€™ Thatâ€™s really the only way we can finish the season off.â€
The Aztecs kept it close in the first set, forcing the Rams to beat them 26-24, but never got above 20 points in the last two sets, losing 25-18 and 25-15 in the last two frames.
â€œWe stopped their outside hitting,â€ Hilbert said â€œWe were able to block more balls and we played with more maturity, we had less hitting errors.â€
The Aztecs hit a woeful .174 during Set 1, and that percentage dropped below zero and into the negatives for sets 2 and 3.
In volleyball, hitting percentage is calculated by subtracting total errors from total kills, which makes negative percentages possible.
Senior outside hitters Danielle Minch and Jacque Davisson and sophomore middle blocker Megan Plourde all tied for the team-lead with 11 kills on Saturday.
â€œIt really helps you,â€ Hilbert said. â€œIt means other teams canâ€™t focus on one player.â€
Freshman Summer Nash paced the Aztecs with 10 kills and contributed two blocking assists on the evening.
The Rams will return home this week to play UNLV and Air Force on Thursday and Saturday, respectively, before heading out on a tough road swing for the following two weeks.
CSU will play at New Mexico, TCU and Wyoming, three of the top six teams in the MWC.
â€œWe want to win our home games because that was a big goal of our in the beginning of the year,â€ Hilbert said, â€œ … We know that in order to win the conference we have to do that. I believe weâ€™re improving as a team and we need to continue to show it.â€
Volleyball beat reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.