Sept. 7, 2013
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MALIBU, Calif. – It was a battle each set, but in the end, Colorado State did the little things to help the Rams defeat UC Santa Barbara Saturday afternoon (28-26, 25-15, 17-25, 25-20) and remain perfect on the season. The win improves CSU’s record to 2-0 on the weekend (5-0 on the season), and secures a top-two finish at the Pepperdine Invitational.
It was a team effort on both sides of the net, as five Rams players had nine or more kills, led by sophomore Adrianna Culbert and junior Marlee Reynolds, with 13 apiece. Freshman Michelle Lawrence had 12, while Kelsey Snider had 10 and Samantha Peters added nine. As a team, CSU hit .318, holding UCSB (2-3) to .231 hitting.
The Rams were out-blocked (7.0-3.5), but led all other statistical categories, including assists, which setter Deedra Foss had a season-most 53. Foss was productive in all areas, also adding 13 digs — her third double-double of the season — four kills, two aces and two blocks.
Behind Foss, three other Rams had 10-plus digs: Jaime Colaizzi (12), Culbert (10) and freshman Cassidy Denny (10), who started sets 2 and 3.
After jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the opening set — and leading by as many as five at 16-11 — it looked as if the Rams would roll past the Gauchos. However, UCSB started chipping away, and instead of a four-point lead midway through, a call reversal after an injury delay brought the Gauchos to within two, 16-14. UCSB would go on to take 13 of the next 18 points to force set point, 24-21.
That’s when CSU took over, using a 4-0 run to hold its first set point, 25-24. It would take three tries, but eventually, the Rams prevailed, winning Set 1, 28-26, on a Reynolds kill.
Again jumping out to an early lead in Set 2 (5-1), UCSB responded, tying the score at 5-5. The Rams would then take six of seven to hold a 12-6 advantage, however, and would lead by at least five for the remainder of the set, including a match-most 11, at 21-10.
In the frame, CSU hit .500 (18-3-30), led by Culbert’s five kills.
After the break, the two teams were caught in a back-and-forth battle, being tied eight times by the 9-9 mark, but the Gauchos would take three straight to lead 12-9, and held the advantage the remainder of the set.
The Rams were able to put it away in Set 4, using a 4-0 run to break a 7-7 tie. When the Gauchos brought the score to 13-11, Lawrence responded with three kills during a 4-1 run to keep UCSB at bay.
CSU will have a short turnaround, facing host Pepperdine, which is also receiving top-25 votes, tonight at 8:30 p.m. MT for the tournament title. CSU has won eight of its last 10 regular-season tournament championships, dating back to 2009. The match can be streamed here.