CSU volleyball lost a match â€“â€“ and a set, for that matter â€“â€“ for the first time since Oct. 8, falling to Texas Christian University 3-2 Thursday night.
TCU took the first two sets before the Rams stormed back in the third and fourth to force a decisive fifth frame, but they couldnâ€™t complete the comeback.
â€œItâ€™s definitely a disappointment because we had the game in the palm of our hands and let it slip away,â€ freshman setter Deedra Foss said. â€œHopefully we can learn from this experience and grow stronger.â€
The Rams pulled up a season-high 83 digs and out-hit TCU .221 to .211, but did most of their work in the third and fourth sets and not when it mattered in crunch time.
Senior outside hitter Katelyn Steffan struggled in the first two sets, hitting .000 due to errors. She finished with 11 kills, but also hit nine errors on the evening, which disrupted CSU offensively.
â€œShe looked like she was playing dead out there in the first set,â€ CSU coach Tom Hilbert said. â€œYou canâ€™t expect great matches from Kate every night.â€
Junior middle blocker Megan Plourde picked up the slack offensively, pacing the team with 17 kills and a blistering .375 hitting percentage. She also anchored CSUâ€™s defense with eight blocks.
â€œThis was her best match of the year,â€ Hilbert said. â€œItâ€™s great (that she played so well) because weâ€™re going to need that down the road.â€
TCU opened the match with a 4-0 run in the first set behind a raucous crowd, which shocked CSU.
â€œThere were a lot of fans, which is something we havenâ€™t really experienced in a while (on the road),â€ Foss said. â€œThey took us off guard.â€
Despite clinching the Mountain West regular season title and top overall seed in the conference tournament Friday, Nov. 4 against the University of Wyoming, CSU is not coasting through the rest of the regular season.
â€œWe knew we had to play our game,â€ Foss said. â€œWe have to earn our title still (in the MW Tournament). We want to beat these teams no matter what.â€
TCU moved a half game above San Diego State University for second place in the conference with the win.
The Ramsâ€™ final regular season conference match will be Saturday against the University of New Mexico. The Lobos sit at an even 6-6 in the MW, but are led by conference player of the year candidate Ashley Rhoades, who averages 3.89 kills and nearly a block per set.
â€œWe have to put this behind us,â€ Hilbert said. â€œWe have to believe the team we have been over the past eight games is the team we are.â€
Volleyball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at email@example.com.
Rams slow start
Stats through first two sets:
Score: TCU-2, CSU-0
Attack Errors: TCU-9, CSU-14
Service Errors: TCU-3, CSU-4