When the CSU volleyball team heads to Boise, Idaho to battle Boise State University Thursday, it will travel to a city none of the Rams have ever been to before.
That is, except for coach Tom Hilbert.
Hilbert coached at the University of Idaho from 1989-97 before he started at CSU.
â€œIâ€™m familiar because Iâ€™ve played in this gym, none of these guys have,â€ he said. â€œThat might be good; it might make it exciting and new.â€
Boise State has only played four matches on its home floor, with its only win coming against Weber State University in September.
â€œI donâ€™t think it really complicates it for us because weâ€™ve played in pretty much every environment there is,â€ redshirt freshman setter Deedra Foss said. â€œItâ€™ll be cool to play somewhere new for once. Thatâ€™ll make it interesting.â€
CSU is 3-0 all time against Boise State, including the teamâ€™s 3-0 win to welcome the Broncos to the Mountain West.
The Rams arrived at the halfway point of the MW season at 6-1 in the conference, 13-4 overall.
â€œThe team that lost (the first game) has a preparation advantage,â€ Hilbert said. â€œThey know what they need to do to make a different outcome. You have to play them better because theyâ€™re going to play you better, especially when youâ€™re on the road.â€
Boise State is currently 12-10 overall, posting a 3-4 record in conference. The Broncos have not played since a 3-1 loss at home to Seattle Oct. 4.
In the teamsâ€™ first meeting CSU blocked very well, recording 10 total blocks and neutralized the Broncosâ€™ â€œfast offense.â€
â€œWe blocked them really well and shut them down and slowed them down,â€™â€ Foss said.
In a â€œfastâ€ offense, â€œthree go,â€ so the team has to block the right side hitters (the â€œthreeâ€) and then be accountable for the middles and complete other side of the net (the â€œgoâ€).
Despite sitting atop the MW, Hilbert wants his team to improve on the defensive side of the ball.
â€œWe need to improve in a couple of our â€˜problem rotationsâ€™ and bring more energy on the road,â€ he said.
Three out of CSUâ€™s four losses have come on the road, two of which were considered â€œbad lossesâ€ to the University of Denver and the University of Wyoming.
â€œWe always need to remain focused and calm in the passing lanes, push tempo in our setting, and as attackers make sure weâ€™re transitioning and really getting up and after balls,â€ senior opposite hitter Katelyn Steffan said.
Volleyball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at email@example.com.
- 12-10 overall, 3-4 MWC
- 1-3 at home
- Team hitting percentage: .217 (5th in conference)
Kills per set: 12.66 (6th in conference)