Oct 122011
 
Authors: Andrew Schaller

After a heart-breaking loss in five sets to the University of Wyoming on Saturday, the Rams look to get back on track tonight at home as they face off against the University of New Mexico.

“I’m not over the Wyoming game,” said junior libero Izzy Gaulia. “But in a sense, that’s going to push me that much harder because I don’t want that to happen ever again, so I think it’s a good thing.”

The Rams have stressed the importance of getting more production from their middle blockers since the loss to Wyoming.

“Definitely this week we’ve been working on a whole lot of middle action,” said junior middle blocker Brieon Paige. “In the middle, we’ve been working on hitting high, that’s our biggest thing, high and flat.”

The Rams will have their hands full-hitting against the Lobos, who has held opponents to the lowest hitting percentage out of any other team in the Mountain West (.162).

Leading New Mexico is senior middle blocker Ashley Rhoades, who is second in the MW in kills with 78, second only to CSU’s Katelyn Steffan, who has 93.

In order to be successful against New Mexico, the Rams are focusing on increasing the speed with which their middle blockers hit.

“(We’re) making sure it’s really fast because it’s harder to block,” Paige said. “Use our athleticism that we have, yeah, hitting high is basically going to win us matches.”

With a tough stretch of matches coming up for the Rams, the team has seen the need to learn from the mistakes they have made in their losses, and improve upon their game.

“My mentality is we played hard (against Wyoming), but we have to close now,” Gaulia said. “These are two very good teams that are coming into Moby and we have to beat them.”

New Mexico and TCU are both currently in a tie for second place in the MW, with a conference record of 3-2, just one game behind CSU.

“Every conference match is very, very important,” said coach Tom Hilbert. “These two obviously are two of the top teams that are sitting right behind us in the conference standings, so we’ve got to play well.”

Volleyball Beat Reporter Andrew Schaller can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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