Volleyball recap: Offense carries Rams to three-set victory over Nevada

Oct. 27, 2012

Final Stats

RENO, Nev.—Colorado State made its first-ever trip to Reno Saturday, coming away with a three-set win (25-18, 25-15, 25-16) over the Nevada Wolf Pack.

With the victory, CSU (14-7, 7-3 MW) remains tied with San Diego State for second place in the Mountain West standings, a half-game behind UNLV, which was idle on Saturday. The win is also CSU’s second road win of the season.

Nevada (4-19, 1-9 MW) hung close all three sets, but each time, the Rams were able to take over midway through.

“I think the biggest thing was we were hanging in there while Nevada was siding out,” Head Coach Tom Hilbert. “We had big point runs on them, and all three games, it was when Dri Culbert was serving. We just hung with them, and then separated.”

In the victory, the Rams’ offense was very efficient, hitting. 323 on the night. Setter Deedra Foss did a great job distributing the ball, as four players had eight kills or more. Foss finished the night with 36 assists and four blocks, and senior libero Izzy Gaulia tallied 19 digs in the three-set win.

“Deedra made good decisions,” Hilbert said. “She set well and had good location, and that’s important.”

Leading the attack were seniors Dana Cranston (12 kills, .435 hitting) and Megan Plourde (11 kills, .421 hitting). Brieon Paige also tallied eight kills on .333 efficiency. Redshirt freshman Kaila Thomas had one of her best matches, totaling a career-best eight kills, including two late in Set 2.

“We had good balance, but I thought Meg was really good,” Hilbert said. “We had a good matchup with Meg hitting slides. Deedra did a good job of getting it to her with pace so they couldn’t stop her.”

To begin the match, Nevada led early, 8-6, before CSU used a 5-0 run to tie the game and take the lead for good. Plourde recorded two kills and a block during the run.

From there, CSU led by scores of 14-10, 20-12 and the final set score of 25-18 after an ace by Gaulia.

Set 2 was again close, as the Rams trailed 5-7 and were tied at 9-9. However, a two-handed attack from Paige gave the Rams a 10-9 lead, which sparked a 4-1 run to put CSU on top. Nevada called timeout trailing 13-16, and coming out of the break, CSU earned four of the next five points to lead 20-14. The run didn’t stop there, though, as CSU took the next three points to force a second Nevada timeout. The Rams finished the set on an 11-2 run to win it, 25-15.

CSU turned a 5-5 tie into a 9-5 lead, and never trailed again. Nevada did get within one point—13-14—but the Rams were able to take nine of the next 10 points to put the set out of reach.

“All three sets were very similar, and I’m proud of my team for hanging tough and pulling away,” Hilbert said.

While CSU hit above .300, its defense limited Nevada to .093 hitting, posting just 29 kills compared to CSU’s 44.

The Rams have a big road match up ahead—traveling to conference rival Wyoming on Friday—but were able to put that trip on the backburner, attending to Nevada first.

“We had good focus tonight, and we absolutely needed this win,” Hilbert said. “We are in a race for this conference championship, and we have to beat people on the road; it doesn’t matter who it is.”