ANN ARBOR, Mich- With one leap and two hands in the air, Beth Karpiak ended the NCAA tournament life of the CSU volleyball team with a block.
The University of Michigan swept the Rams in three games 30-24, 30-27 and 30-23, knocking CSU out of the NCAA tournament in the second round Saturday evening on the Wolverines’ home court.
Coach Tom Hilbert said that it was UM’s long point runs that hurt his team the most.
“First of all I am proud of the team for the season we had,” he said. “I feel that (there) were times tonight we played well, but we gave up way to many long point runs. We can’t do that against a team like Michigan.”
CSU fought hard early in game 3, tying things up at 12-12, but that is as close as its would get. UM had runs of four and six straight points to put the Rams away in game 3.
Setter Ashley Fornstrom partially blamed the loss on CSU’s energy level, saying that the team came out a little too high strung.
“We were really hyped up, almost to hyped up,” the junior said. “It took us a while to settle down and get into our game, but once we did I felt like we fought hard. The first game we were overplaying a lot of things. We were over passing and over executing.”
“We were disrupted early in the first game, but I thought we settled down after that,” he said. “At the end of the first game and all of game 2 we were passing the ball pretty well.”
The Wolverines dominated CSU in serving, hitting only one service error to the Rams’ 10. Hilbert said that it was UM’s short floating serves that disrupted his team, leading to the long point runs.
“In game 3 it came down to the short serve, and we didn’t prepare our team well for that,” he said. “When it came down to it, we were able to do some things, but we struggling to get side outs.”
Karpiak, a middle blocker for Michigan, said that her team had practiced that serve a lot.
“It was a great technique to get them to go to the outside,” she said. “It got them back and prevented them from having three really good options up the middle.”
Hilbert is proud of the season the Rams had, but he didn’t expect it to end this way.
“This one hurts because I walked into the arena today believing we were going to win,” he said. “To there credit, they were a better team than us.”
Volleyball beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org