Oct. 11, 2012
FRESNO, Calif.--CSU's road woes continued Thursday night as the Fresno State Bulldogs outlasted the Rams in five sets at the Save Mart Center (15-25, 25-20, 25-27, 28-26, 12-15).
Sets 3 and 4 both went to extra points--with each team earning a win--but in Set 5, Fresno State (11-7, 4-2 MW) took a late 11-7 lead, and the Rams (10-6, 3-2 MW) couldn't rebound, falling 12-15.
The Rams led 3-2 early in the fifth set, but the Bulldogs went on a 4-0 run to make it 6-3. Fresno State did not trail the remainder of the match.
"We're just not scoring 15 points before them," Head Coach Tom Hilbert said of the fifth set. "It is what it is; we have to improve."
Trailing 11-7, the Rams were able to sideout, and after a Dana Cranston kill and a block by Megan Plourde and Adrianna Culbert, the Rams were within one, 10-11. The Bulldogs were able to take four of the next six, however, winning, 15-12.
Returning to her hometown, Brieon Paige had a career night, totaling a career-high 20 kills on .471 hitting. Her previous high was 16, set at New Mexico last November. Paige also had three blocks.
"Brieon hit very well," Hilbert said. "I liked the play of our middles. We have to get better production from the pins."
Ploudre, CSU's other middle blocker, tallied 13 kills on .360 hitting, also registering 10 blocks. Her second block of the night gave her 519 career block assists, moving her past Mekana Barnes and into second place on CSU's career block-assist list.
CSU had three players in double digits for kills (also Cranston with 18 kills and 10 digs)
Libero Izzy Gaulia had a season-high 25 digs, as she became the 10th CSU player in program history to tally 1,000 career digs. She now sits at 1,013. Culbert also set a career high with seven blocks.
As a team, CSU hit just .201 compared to Fresno State's .269. The Bulldogs also posted more kills and digs, but CSU won the serving (five aces to three) and blocking games (14.5-11.5).
"Fresno defended us well," Hilbert said. "They competed well, served tough and hit really tough. Their outside hitters outhit us all match."
Leading that group was Korrin Wild, who totaled 23 kills on .458 hitting. The junior was hitting just .121 entering the match.
With the loss, CSU falls to 0-5 in matches played away from Moby Arena. The Rams will now prepare for conference-leading UNLV. The two teams will face each other in Las Vegas on Sunday at 2 p.m. MT. The match will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network.
"We aren't the team we are at home," Hilbert said, "and that needs to change."
Sets 1 & 2: The Bulldogs hit .500 in the opening set, recording 19 kills and just two attack errors, and won the set, 25-15. CSU was able to bounce back in Set 2, taking an early 3-0 lead and never trailing, winning, 25-20.
Set 3: The third set was back and forth, and despite some early leads, the Bulldogs were able to come back, eventually taking the lead. Fresno State then expanded its lead to a set-high three points, 21-18, forcing a CSU timeout. The Rams again trailed and faced set point, at 24-21, but were able to battle back to knot the score at 24-24. Again tied at 25-25, Fresno State was able to get consecutive points to take the 2-1 match advantage.
Set 4: Set 4 was similar to the prior game, with CSU leading early, 10-7 and 13-10, before Fresno State was able to take six of the next seven to take its first lead. However, a kill from Paige and a block from Plourde gave CSU the 19-18 advantage, its first since leading 14-13, and the Rams were able to run to a 22-19 lead, forcing a Fresno State timeout. The Bulldogs got the next three points, and the teams exchanged points until the Rams rattled off three in a row to turn a Fresno State match point into a Set-4 win for the Rams.