A banged-up CSU volleyball team just needs some R&R heading into the backstretch of its season.
Senior outside hitter Jaime Strauss (concussion), red-shirt freshman Katelyn Steffan (knee) and sophomore defensive specialist Crystin Rodrick (neck strain) are all dealing with injuries sustained last week.
Strauss sustained a concussion during practice last Wednesday after being struck in the head by a Jacque Davisson kill and did not play against Wyoming on Friday. Steffan left during the first set in the Rams sweep over the Cowgirls with a knee strain and Roderick sustained a neck strain in the third set after colliding with Davisson while diving for the ball.
The Rams do not return to the court until Nov.1 and will use this week in practice to rest their bodies.
“It’s going to be nice to have these couple days off so we can rest our bodies,” said libero Katelin Batten. “Everyone’s a little tweaked.”
Head coach Tom Hilbert agreed.
“I’m glad we’ve got seven days until our next match. That’s going to be important right now,” said Hilbert. “We need this recovery and it comes at a perfect time in our season. It’s going to be nice to heal our injuries and try to put some new things into place.”
The injuries have given the Rams the opportunity to mix and match with its players and give opposing teams different looks with its offense, Hilbert said. One such player is freshman Evan Sanders.
Sanders, who is the heir apparent setter for the Rams, played the most she has all season against Wyoming, playing at the outside hitter position recording two kills, one block and an assist.
“Evan Sanders has not played a whole lot this year, but she’s a really good all-round player, so we knew she could come in and do something like that,” said Hilbert. “I was very pleased with her.”
Hilbert was, however, without the services of little used freshman outside hitter/middle blocker Megan Plourde, who is out with a shoulder injury and will receive a medial red-shirt.
Sophomore outside hitter Danielle Minch filled in for the injured Strauss on Friday and responded with a huge game, recording 13 kills at a .308 clip and prompting Hilbert to say that she will see much more playing time in matches ahead.
As pleased as he was with Sanders and the rest of the team’s play against Wyoming, Hilbert said the team needs Strauss back.
“Jaime’s critical when we’re out of system; she’s a good passer and is one of our primary serve-receivers, so we need her to do a lot of things for us,” said Hilbert. “We were able to fill in with some people which is good, but we need to get her back.”
Hilbert was unable to say when Strauss will be back.
In addition to resting its injured players, the team will work in practice on the basics this week before it match against Air Force Saturday.
“We’ll probably go back to basics: things like defense, serving and serve-receive,” said senior setter Ashley Fornstrom. “I don’t think we’ve really been blocking as well as we’ve been wanting to lately, so we’ll work on that as well.”
Volleyball beat writer Stephen Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.