There was no first round upset today as the CSU volleyball team, behind the leadership of its seniors, defeated Florida International in four sets to move on to the second round of the NCAA volleyball tournament.
The trio of Mekana Barnes, Jaime Strauss and Ashley Fornstrom, who are making their fourth trip together in the NCAA tournament, led the team in kills and assists.
Barnes led the team with 17 kills on .419 hitting, while Strauss, playing her best game in weeks, chipped in 16, hitting .310. Fornstrom finished with 52 assists as the Rams as a team hit .304.
Outside hitter, Yarimar Rosa of FIU led all players with 22 kills.
“They are a very talented team,” said head coach Tom Hilbert. “They’re not incredibly big, but are great volleyball players. Yarimar Rosa, we couldn’t stop her.”
FIU as a team however only hit .180 and was frustrated by the Ram’s blocking. CSU recorded 12 blocks, including seven in the first set.
“I thought we did a nice job on their other outside hitters,” said Hilbert. “That was the key of the game, to shut down their other players.”
Hilbert said the team had not practiced well the past two days, but they came out with a lot more energy tonight.
“In practice this morning there was more energy and it showed tonight in the match,” said Hilbert.
The crowd was of no factor Hilbert said as there were maybe 30 FIU fans and about 20 CSU fans.
The team now waits for the outcome of the Florida-Florida A&M match to see who it will play tomorrow night.
Hilbert said it will take a better game than tonight to beat a talented Florida team.
“We need to be better than we were tonight,” said Hilbert. “We didn’t pass well tonight and we’ll need to be a lot better against Florida. They’re young so they are going to make mistakes. We just need to reduce the number of point runs they have.”
The Florida-Florida A&M match is currently underway, with Florida leading in the first set. The second round match will be tomorrow at 5:30 MST and broadcast on FM 90.5 KCSU.