In a season that has had its ups and downs, CSU volleyball will be looking to close out their home schedule on a high note tonight against the University of Wyoming.
Erasing the memory of early October when CSU (17-4, 10-1 MW) fell to Wyoming (18-8, 7-4 MW) in five sets after surrendering a two set to none advantage will be crucial for Rams as they quickly approach the Mountain West tournament on Nov. 18.
â€œDefinitely that was a tough loss,â€ junior Megan Plourde said. â€œSo a win would be nice.â€
Senior Katelyn Steffan, who will be playing her final home match of her career tonight, maintains that the rematch against Wyoming has weighed heavily on the minds of the Rams.
â€œI think weâ€™re going in with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder, I mean, itâ€™s our only loss in the conference,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s going to be a good Border War this year here at CSU.â€
Also on the line for the Rams will be the opportunity to secure at least a share of the MW regular season title with a win.
â€œI think (winning the MW) will give us a lot more motivation going into the (MW) tournament,â€ Plourde said. â€œWe want to win the (MW) tournament so we can make it to the NCAAâ€™s because we want to do better than we have in the past, and make it farther into the playoffs.â€
Though CSU will be focused on putting away Wyoming quickly as they have against recent opponents. Coach Tom Hilbert stressed the need for his team to methodically dismantle Wyoming one point at a time. â€œThere are specific reasons we didnâ€™t win last time,â€ he said. â€œYouâ€™ve got to play it one point at a time, thatâ€™s a clichÃ©, but itâ€™s really true.â€
One major reason the Rams have been able to systematically take apart opponents during their current six-game winning streak is because of the emergence of Plourde and Brieon Paige as blockers.
During the stretch, current MW player of the week Paige has averaged 2.67 blocks per match and Plourde has averaged six, making CSU the top blocking team in the conference.
â€œI think (there has been) a lot of focus and communication,â€ Plourde said. â€œIf weâ€™re communicating across the front row and we see what the other players are doing, itâ€™s easier to get there and block with, I guess, the other hitter.â€
Though the Rams lead the MW in blocks/set (3.30) and opponent hitting percentage (.129), Wyoming sits right behind them in both categories, averaging 2.57 and .181 respectively.
â€œThey play very good defense,â€ Hilbert said. â€œYouâ€™re going to see long rallies in this game and we have to play through those long rallies.â€
Volleyball Beat Reporter Andrew Schaller can be reached at email@example.com.
- What: CSU vs. Wyoming
- Where: Moby Arena
- When: Tonight at 7 p.m.
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