Endgame play set the tone for the CSU volleyball team this weekend in the Rams Volleyball Classic.
CSU lost 3-1 to Wichita State, but swept the University of Northern Colorado 3-0 to win the tournament with strong endgame play.
â€œI was extremely disappointed in what we did in endgame situations,â€ coach Tom Hilbert said after the Wichita State match.
â€œWe played with a great deal of fear and not very much aggression.â€
Hilbert said his team played much better at the end of sets in sets two and three against UNC.
â€œIn set two neither team played good in the endgame and we happened to be the benefactor,â€ he said.
The Bears came back from a 21-15 deficit in the second set to tie it at 23. The Rams won it 28-26, following two UNC errors.
Senior opposite hitter Katelyn Steffan led the Rams with 31 kills over the weekend, including a career-high 21 on Saturday. She also pulled up 23 digs in two matches en-route to being named the tournamentâ€™s MVP.
â€œIt gives me a little (confidence) but (the important thing) is staying grounded and focused,â€ she said. â€œOur team still needs to learn a lot of things and I need to learn a lot of things. I still need to get better in a lot of areas.â€
This is Steffanâ€™s second tournament MVP award of the season.
Junior middle blocker Breion Paige was also named to the all-tournament team.
â€œFor Breion it was well deserved,â€ Steffan said. â€œShe came out this weekend and she played athletic like we needed her to and got big plays like we needed her to.â€
Despite the win the Rams are working through a tough set of matches and have several areas they need to improve in.
â€œWe probably arenâ€™t getting the production out of right-side attacking that we need to get,â€ Hilbert said. â€œHow are we going to fix that? Are we going to make Tori (Brummett) better, are we going to put someone else in there? We donâ€™t know yet.â€
CSU will leave Moby Arena for its next match Friday to travel down Interstate 25 for a match with the University of Denver.
â€œYou have great matches and you have matches where you donâ€™t have as much pop,â€ Hilbert said, â€œbut if you just stay consistent and do the right things blocking and defensively, youâ€™ll be good.â€œ
_Volleyball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at email@example.com. _