It only took CSU volleyball coach Tom Hilbert one try to surpass legendary basketball coach Jim Williams as CSUâ€™s all-time leader in wins.
Williams, who passed away in the spring of 2007, coached the Rams basketball squad from 1955-1980 and amassed 352 wins in that span.
Thursday nightâ€™s victory was Hilbertâ€™s 353rd.
â€œGetting that win, itâ€™s nice to get past it to be very honest,â€ Hilbert said. â€œItâ€™s an honor to be mentioned in the same category as somebody like Jimmy Williams. But we passed it, and Iâ€™m happy now. Letâ€™s get on to winning a conference championship.â€
The Rams defeated UNLV 3-1 in the match for their 12th consecutive victoryâ€”and 17th in their last 18 matches.
CSU rolled through the first two sets, winning by a combined score of 50-32. But the Rebels rose up in the third set, sprinting out to a 9-1 lead.
â€œI was over-shanking balls at that point,â€ senior outside hitter Jacque Davisson said. â€œThatâ€™s the only thing I was thinking was we need to pass, need to side out, we need to come back.â€
Davisson finished the night one kill shy of a double-double, bashing home nine kills and digging 11 balls.
Across the court from Davisson was senior Danielle Minch, who led the team with 17 kills, but struggled for a large part of the third and fourth set, getting blocked on four straight shot attempts.
â€œIt happens, you need to just bounce back and forget about it,â€ said Minch of being blocked. â€œThatâ€™s all I can do really.â€
She came out strong early, matching the entire UNLV team with six kills in the first set, but tapered off as the Rebel defense adjusted in the later sets.
â€œThe drawback of having a player hit super hard is they get blocked super hard,â€ Hilbert said. â€œIâ€™d just like her to try a couple of different shots.â€
Sophomore Megan Plourde did not play in the match due to an ankle injury. Redshirt freshman Tori Brummett started in her place and played admirably, notching five kills and eight blocking assists, including making key blocks in the decisive fourth set.
â€œTori came out and made some huge plays in that fourth set,â€ Davisson said. â€œLike two massive blocks at the end of that fourth set. She did an awesome job for us tonight so Iâ€™m real proud of her.â€
The Rams play Saturday at 1 p.m. against Air Force in Moby Arena. The Falcons come in with a conference record of 1-9, ranking them last in the Mountain West.
â€œWeâ€™re just going to go try and win,â€ Hilbert said. â€œThey have one really good outside hitter and play defense, so we better be prepared.â€
Volleyball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at email@example.com.