Oct. 12, 2013
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By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Playing in front of 4,801 riled up fans, the 10th-largest home crowd in program history, the Colorado State Rams (15-0, 6-0 MW) once again proved why they are worthy of their No. 13 national ranking with a 3-0 sweep over Boise State (8-9, 2-5 MW) on Saturday night (25-15, 25-15, 25-18).
The win gives the team its 16th-straight victory at Moby Arena, tied for the fifth-longest streak in school history. At 15-0, CSU is off to its third-best start in program history, and its 15 consecutive wins ranks as the fifth-longest winning streak in its storied history. The Rams are also one of just two undefeated teams in the country.
"This was a great game," Head Coach Tom Hilbert said. "Boise State is a difficult team to prepare for; they're very fast. You have to get your hands on a lot of balls, and you have to play defense to beat them. It was a great performance by a lot of people, and I am very pleased."
With every win comes a different identity from CSU, which has found various different ways to win matches this year. With wins over Utah State and Boise State this week, CSU proved why it is one of the best defensive teams in the entire country.
The Rams held Boise State to just .020 hitting and 26 attack errors, and frustrated many of the Broncos' attackers. In particular, CSU neutralized Boise State's top two attackers. Alyssa Gammel, who is the team-leader in kills on the season, was held to just three kills on -.182 hitting, while Sarah Horton, who ranks second on the team, registered eight kills on .042 efficiency.
It marked the second consecutive match that CSU held its opponent to under .100 hitting percentage.
While the defense was suffocating, CSU's offense was clicking on all cylinders Saturday night. The Rams had just eight attack errors as the team registered 41 kills and hit .393.
Leading the way for CSU was senior middle blocker Samantha Peters. Peters finished the match with a team-best 10 kills and zero errors on .556 hitting, while also posting a team-high five blocks.
"Once you get into a rally with them, they leave the middles one-on-one a lot," Hilbert said. "So we knew that Sam would have a good match both blocking and hitting. She was great tonight."
Freshman outside hitter Michelle Lawrence was second on the team with eight kills and three blocks, while sophomore right-side hitter Adrianna Culbert and junior middle blocker Kelsey Snider each had six kills and three blocks.
CSU dropped the first point in the opening set, but quickly regained the lead by taking eight of the next 10 points as it looked to assert its dominance early on against Boise State. With strong defense, CSU finished the set on a 5-0 run and forced the Broncos into 13 attack errors and -.079 hitting.
In Set 2, the Rams once again trailed after the opening point, but once again came back to take control of the set. With the match tied at 6-6, CSU took 15 of the next 19 points, including a 7-0 run midway through the stretch, to take a commanding 21-10 lead.
CSU hit an impressive .519 hitting with just two attack errors in the second set. The hitting percentage is the third-highest in a single set this season for the Rams, and marks the sixth time overall that the team has hit at least .500 in a set.
Coming out of the intermission, CSU did not give Boise State a glimpse of hope for coming back in the match. The Rams took three of the first four points and led for the duration of the set as they closed it out, 25-18, to a standing ovation from the fans in attendance.
"I truly think it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Lawrence said. "Having 4,000-plus fans there was really, I don't even know how to put it in words . . . It was really an incredible feeling."
Added Hilbert: "I know I speak for my team that we appreciate the fan support that we get. You take that environment that we had tonight and go across the country, there might be two other arenas the entire year that are as good as that. That to me is what makes Colorado State volleyball so special."
CSU will look to keep its unbeaten streak alive as it prepares for a difficult road stretch. The Rams will travel to Las Vegas to take on UNLV on Thursday before traveling to San Diego to take on San Diego State on Saturday. The UNLV match is slated to begin at 7 p.m. MT and will be live streamed on the Mountain West Network.