Coach Tom Hilbert and the CSU volleyball team arenâ€™t looking past the University of Denver in spite of the Pioneersâ€™ 2-9 record.
â€œWe need to take it seriously and we need to get some new things done,â€ Hilbert said. â€œI want our offense to be distributed better. I want to get better production out of both of our middles and our right side player.â€
The Rams travel down I- 25 to Hamilton Gymnasium to take on DU Friday at 7 p.m.
CSU is 14-1 all-time against the Pioneers, with its only loss coming in 2005. Overall the Rams have won 41 of the 46 sets played, meaning the Pioneers have only taken two sets from the Rams outside of that victory.
â€œWe can never let up no matter who weâ€™re playing,â€ junior libero Izzy Gaulia said.
Junior middle blocker Faimie Kingsley is the driving offensive force for the Pioneers, leading the team with 121 kills, 67 blocks and a .306 hitting percentage. She also leads the Sun Belt Conference in blocks per set (1.46) and her hitting percentage ranks her in the conferenceâ€™s top-10.
â€œWe have to be able to block well against (her),â€ Hilbert said. â€œI think if you stop her you stop their whole team.â€
Fridayâ€™s match comes six days after the Ramsâ€™ last contest against the University of Northern Colorado, and their next one against the Air Force Academy will be almost a week after that on Sept. 22.
â€œWe needed to put a match in here,â€ Hilbert said. â€œIâ€™m actually really glad we were able to do it on the weekend because I didnâ€™t want to have to do it mid-week and not play a match this weekend.â€
CSU starts conference play next week and after coming off more high-profile matches in recent weeks, the Rams are being very careful not to peek over the Pioneers and lose their focus.
â€œI hope theyâ€™re mature enough to be focused and ready to go,â€ Hilbert said. â€œThis is a difficult time for them academically too with the first round of tests coming along so they need to be focused and ready.â€
Volleyball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.