Rams and Lobos and Falcons, oh my!
This week CSU faces two conference matches on the road. The team
travels to Albuquerque, N.M., tonight to face the Lobos in the
teams’ second Mountain West Conference clash of the year.
The Rams will then hoof it back to Colorado to try to clip the
wings of the Air Force Falcons at Cadet East Gymnasium Saturday in
another conference match.
Historically, the Rams have enjoyed success in traversing this
route. They have swept the series in the last six excursions. CSU
has won 37 straight matches against the two teams, dominating the
Falcons the past 21 battles and caging the Lobos in the past 16
Lobos fans will be howling at the moon tonight in a packed house
as New Mexico holds its annual Jam Johnson festivities. This will
mark the 50th time the two teams have faced each other in this
long-standing m�l�e. Fans will pay just $1 to get in
and will receive free decals at the event, promising a charged
environment to challenge the Rams.
The Lobos are 7-11 overall and 1-6 in MWC matches. They suffered
a clean sweep as CSU foiled its ambush attempt when the Lobos
visited Moby Arena in September.
“We have to step out on the court and take care of the ball
while it is on our side of the net,” said Lobos head coach Kelley
McKee of New Mexico’s strategy against CSU. “We need to serve the
crap out of the ball at those girls.”
Key Lobos to watch during the match include junior middle
blocker Chelsea Sondrup, the all-time Lobos leader in blocking
assists. She will try to obstruct the attempts of CSU’s
milestone-chasing combination of outside hitters, junior Tess
Rogers and senior Becky Sarauer. They are both within range of
eclipsing the 1,000-kill mark this weekend, a feat previously
accomplished by only 13 other CSU players. Rogers is at 979 and
Sarauer has 977 kills. Senior middle blocker Katie Jo
Shirley-Cahoon is also approaching this venerated achievement, with
Lobo instinct on the part of senior Adah Burke will also be
vital for survival of the New Mexico pack. She is ranked as the top
libero in the MWC and will be integral in defending the court from
the potent CSU onslaught.
On offense, junior outside hitter Nicole Ryan will spearhead the
Lobos attack; she is leading Lobos and is ranked ninth in the MWC
with 3.22 kills per game.
After departing from the Lobo den, the Rams will head to
Colorado Springs to aim high at the Air Force Academy. The Falcons
are 4-13 overall and are winless in conference play (0-7) through
this first half of the season.
The cadets sport an offensive arsenal led by their middle
blocker duo, freshman Brooke Akers and senior Kristin Hamlett. They
also have a potent weapon in junior setter Carly Siefken and senior
libero Jenalee Burke, who leads the team in digs.
The Rams will try to improve their historically perfect record
at the academy to 9-0 in their upcoming clash with the cadets.
This weekend’s matches will surpass the halfway point of the MWC
season. So far, the No. 9 Rams are 14-2 overall and 6-1 in
conference action. The only two losses came from No. 14 Utah in
last week’s upset match at Moby Arena and an early season defeat
from No. 2 Minnesota.