Nov 092011
 
Authors: Andrew Schaller

Tonight CSU will try to go to Texas Christian University and beat the team that gave them sole possession of the Mountain West regular season title.

The Rams (18-4, 11-1 MW) clinched sole possession of the MW last weekend when TCU (21-5, 8-4 MW) fell in three sets to San Diego State University on Saturday, guaranteeing CSU the top seed in the MW tournament.

While winning the MW regular season was one of the goals of the team, the Rams maintain that their work for the year is far from over.

“I knew that this would probably be sorted out before the last weekend, but it doesn’t change anything,” CSU coach Tom Hilbert said.

“We feel like we need to go out and win these matches and keep ourselves playing well.”

CSU has maintained a high level of play during their current seven-match winning streak thanks to some of the best service pressure in the MW.

Dana Cranston and Deedra Foss are the statistical leaders of the conference in service aces per set at .44 and .34, respectively.

“We’ve been working on it (serving) a lot and focusing on it and trying to work the offense,” Cranston said. “(We’ve been) getting ourselves a few more points from that.”

The last time the Rams faced TCU on Oct. 15, overpowering service pressure and blocking forced TCU into 17 errors and a .104 hitting percentage in a three-set CSU win.

“Serving and blocking are keys wherever we play,” Hilbert said. “And if we don’t do those things well, it kind of is sort of an equalizer.”

Through excellent serving and blocking, the Rams have not allowed anyone to play with them, winning 21 straight sets since their disappointing loss to the University of Wyoming on Oct. 8.

By dominating their last seven conference opponents, the Rams have clinched the No.1 seed in the MW Tournament, and if they win that, they would become a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Staying focused through their last two games before the MW Tournament has been a focal point for the team, as the Rams do not want to lose the momentum they have worked so hard to gain.

“I think that now that we have the conference, we have to set it aside and stay focused and keep playing at a high level,” senior Katelyn Steffan said.

“I think that we’ve done a good job of that the past few games, and we need to keep that play into the conference tournament and into the NCAA’s.”

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

What: CSU vs. TCU

When: Tonight at 6 p.m.

Where: Fort Worth, Texas

Coverage: The Mtn. (8 p.m.-2 hour tape delay)

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