Oct 262011
Authors: Andrew Schaller

After jumping back into the top-25 rankings this week for the first time in two weeks, CSU (15-4, 8-1 MW) will look to defend its first place standing in the Mountain West tonight against second place San Diego State University (13-6, 6-2 MW).

The match will mark the second time the Rams have met SDSU this season, after beating them in four sets in San Diego, Calif. on Oct. 2.

“I think we have to expect them to be better than they were,” CSU coach Tom Hilbert said.

Junior Andrea Hannasch leads SDSU in kills, kills per set and points per set.

“(SDSU has) been playing much better lately,” Hilbert said. “Offensively they have a lot of weapons, and Hannasch is just one of them.”

The Rams’ defense will be focused on slowing Hannasch this time around, as she didn’t play much of a role the last time the two teams met.

“We served (SDSU) really tough last time we played,” Hilbert said. “They were out of system a lot, and so (Hannasch) didn’t come into play, and I think we’ve got to expect that they’re going to be a little bit better.”

CSU will be without its backup setter in the match. Redshirt freshman Katie Rutherford, at her request, was given a full release to transfer.

Hilbert said that if starter Deedra Foss for some reason had to come out of the match at setter, opposite hitter Dana Cranston would fill the position.

“It’s more pressure not to get injured or anything,” Foss said. “And there’s no one here to really push me anymore, so it’s more like I have to focus on getting better on my own.”

While their last few victories have come in comfortable fashion, the Rams have focused on putting themselves in uncomfortable situations in practice in preparation for this match.

“We’ve been practicing a lot of end-game situations, which has helped us a lot,” Foss said. “And we’ve been working on the things that we’ve been needing to work on to make us better and that’s been helping us a lot in the games.”

CSU is wary of having a letdown game, even after they defeated SDSU on the road.

“We know that we always have the target on our back,” Cranston said. “So I think we’ve put a good emphasis on this match and coming out really focused.”

Volleyball Beat Reporter Andrew Schaller can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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