Katelyn Steffan simply would not let her team lose.
She fired home a career-high 28 kills with only five errors on the evening, including the decisive point in the CSU volleyball teamâ€™s 3-2 win at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
â€œShe was very mature about the way she played. She didnâ€™t make mistakes, she stayed engaged and composed,â€ coach Tom Hilbert said. â€œ When things go wrong kids tend to start freaking out and she didnâ€™t do that. She played like a senior.â€
The Rams were in line to end the match in the fourth set, leading 20-15, but UNLV stormed back to take it 26-24 and force the final game.
â€œI thought we didnâ€™t compete well at the end of the fourth set,â€ Hilbert said, â€œbut we did at the end of the fifth set and Iâ€™m really proud of that.â€
In the three sets the Rams won, their offense was outstanding, as they hit over .300 in all three sets and over .500 in the first and fifth. But when they were bad, they were awful, hitting under .200 in the second and fourth sets with a game-low .100 hitting percentage in set four.
Hilbert said recently that there were distribution issues in the offense with regards to some hitters not getting enough attacks and others getting too many. Those issues were resolved Thursday night with five different players getting over 20 attacks.
Redshirt freshman Deedra Foss had a career night with 60 assists.
â€œShe was moving the ball around a lot and that really confused UNLV,â€ Hilbert said.
Redshirt sophomore Tori Brummett returned to action Thursday night after missing the first two conference matches due to undisclosed rules violations. She finished with eight kills and three blocks on the evening, including three kills and two of her blocks in the final two sets.
â€œIt was very important (for her to play well),â€ Hilbert said. â€œEspecially near the end of the match.â€
With the win, CSU moved to 9-3 on the season and 3-0 in the Mountain West.
The Rams play Sunday at San Diego State University, where the Aztecs are 7-4 and 0-1 in the conference after losing to UNLV.
â€œWeâ€™re going to have to rest, first of all, then weâ€™re going to have to get ready to serve and pass in San Diego,â€ Hilbert said. â€œBeing at sea level makes it a lot harder.â€
Volleyball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at email@example.com.