With the Rams looking as if they were in mid-season form, CSU won both of their matches convincingly this weekend in the Coors Rocky Mountain Challenge.
The Rams started things off right as they defeated New Mexico State 3-0 Friday night.
The first game was the most exciting and probably the most crucial, as the two teams went back and forth with the score being tied 15 times during the game. The Rams used key blocking throughout the match, especially in the first game, as senior Dre Downs and freshman Ashley Fornstrom had key blocks to shut down the Aggies' outside hitters. With the score tied at 31 and New Mexico State serving, the crowd helped with to distract the Aggies as their next serve went into the net. At 32-31, senior Tess Rogers came up big with a kill down the line to end the first game.
"Everyone was passing really well tonight," Rogers said. "It was giving our outside hitters chances for one-on-ones, which is very helpful."
That was pretty much everything that the Aggies had, as games two and three were controlled by the Rams.
Game two was won 30-22 in favor of CSU, but the scoreboard showed a closer game than what it really was. A run by the Aggies toward the end of the game, led by sophomore outside hitter Kim Oguh, made it look close.
In game three Rogers led the Rams with six kills (19 for the weekend). Senior Casey Bauer chipped in with 12 kills, while sophomore right side hitter Tonya Mokelki helped out with 10 kills, as the Rams won 30-19.
"I'm very pleased," head coach Tom Hilbert said. "New Mexico State is a good volleyball team. Our team was solid tonight, we didn't give up a lot of point runs and that's always going to be a key."
Saturday, CSU took on Florida A&M and did the same thing to them as they did to the Aggies the night before. Winning in three straight sets 30-20, 30-23, 30-26, the Rams passed and served past a talented, physical team to improve to 6-3 on the season.
"Anytime you serve like that, even with that many service errors, I'll take it," Hilbert said.
Bauer led CSU with 12 kills on the night, but Rogers, who had 10 kills, reached a milestone that only eight other players in school history have reached: surpassing the 1,300 kill mark.
Freshman middle blocker Mekana Barnes led the match with six blocks, while Fornstrom tied her career high with 10 digs and had 38 assists.
The Rattlers were led by Maria Andonova, who had a match-high 14 kills, while Andreina Ruiz had 12 digs.
The Rams now look forward to the start of conference play, on the road. CSU will start with two important road games, at San Diego State Thursday and at the University of Las Vegas-Nevada Saturday. Both games are slated to start at 8 p.m.