Aug. 30, 2012
Final Stats | Photo Gallery | Match Notables
By Nic Hallisey
Athletic Media Relations
WICHITA, Kan.--For the first time this season, the No. 24 Colorado State Rams dropped a set--and a match--falling to Wichita State 3-1 (25-12, 20-25, 25-20, 25-19) in front of 2,814 fans at Charles Koch Arena. The loss opens the Shocker Volleyball Classic, hosted by Wichita State.
"Wichita State controlled the tempo literally for the entire match," Head Coach Tom Hilbert said. "We had way too many service errors, and just played very poorly."
CSU got out to a slow start out of the gate, falling behind 9-4 on four attack errors, which forced Hilbert to use a timeout. Things never got going in the opening set, however, as CSU then fell behind 18-11, called timeout and then dropped the next five points. CSU's 12 points were the fewest in a set since scoring 11 vs. Nebraska on Sept. 2, 2011.
It was CSU's first set loss of the season, after the Rams won their first nine to begin the season--a streak tied for the third-longest in program history.
"We were always on our heels," Hilbert said, "which limits our swings and puts our sets out of system. Wichita State is good, and they exposed that we can't play very fast."
CSU rebounded in the second frame to even up the match at 1-1. In fact, CSU jumped out to a 6-0 lead with senior Izzy Gaulia serving, receiving three kills from Dana Cranston, a kill from Megan Plourde, a block from Plourde and sophomore Marlee Reynolds and a Wichita State error. The Rams never led by fewer than four points to take the set, 25-20.
Coming out of the break, however, the Rams lost their momentum. The set was back-and-forth until CSU took its first lead at 12-11. During a stretch, 10 of 15 points went in CSU's favor, giving the Rams a 17-14 lead, forcing a Shockers timeout. However, Wichita State went on a 5-0 run, and took 11 of the final 14 points to take the 2-1 advantage in the match.
"The third set was very telling," Hilbert said. "We were ahead for a lot of that set and had good hitting numbers, but we played terribly in Rotation 1 and couldn't side out. I think we could have pulled off that set and been up, 2-1, but we didn't."
The Rams hit .312 in Set 3, compared to .100 after the first two sets. However, the Shockers were even better, hitting .361 and outblocking CSU, 3-1.
"We could dig the ball all day, but the problem was that we weren't converting those into points," Hilbert said. "Wichita State is very, very function at defending and getting the ball back up to their setter quickly. You have a rally of two or three of those and next thing you know, your team can't keep up."
In the match, the Shockers outhit CSU, .241-.171, in addition to recording more service aces (8-1), fewer attack errors (26-14) and more blocks (13.5-10).
In Set 4, CSU hung tough early and fought back to a 14-12 deficit, but two straight points the way of the home team forced a CSU timeout, and the Rams never regained, losing, 25-19.
Cranston led the Rams with 16 kills, but hit just .086. CSU's top four hitters (Cranston, Paige, Plourde and Snider) combined for 45 kills and 26 attack errors. Plourde was the exception, recording 10 kills on .304 hitting, in addition to four blocks. Paige had five blocks, while Cranston and Reynolds each had three.
CSU will have another tough test Friday, facing the 14th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols at 3 p.m. MT.
"We will take advantage of learning from this, because we have to," Hilbert said. "That's what good teams do."