FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Just 24 hours after defeating the Boise State Broncos, the Colorado State Rams again took the court at Moby Arena to face a conference foe.
The Rams (13-6, 6-2 MW) knocked off the Air Force Falcons (8-14, 2-6 MW) in straight sets (25-20, 25-18, 25-15) on Friday night.
Going into the match, Colorado State knew that Air Force was a much improved team from last year, and the first set proved that. The Falcons looked to try and take the Rams' offense and the Moby crowd out of it with strong attacking early to keep the set close.
"My hat's off to Matt McShane, because he's making this Air Force program a lot better," Head Coach Tom Hilbert said. "They had 17 kills in the first set. Anytime you get 17 kills, you're going to compete with the team you're playing against."
The first set featured 10 ties and three lead changes. After leading 6-5 early, CSU did not see the lead again until an attack error by the Falcons' Maggie Sherrill gave the Rams an 18-17 lead. The attack error finished off a 5-1 run, and the Rams made sure not to relinquish the lead from that point on.
Midway through the run, CSU middle blocker Megan Plourde tallied her first block of the match, which put her second all-time in CSU history in career total blocks.
Plourde capped off her historic night with seven blocks to go along with six kills on .455 hitting. For the weekend, Plourde racked up 16 kills on .600 hitting, to go along with her 15 blocks. Plourde now has 578 career blocks, 52 shy of first place.
"I feel very honored," Plourde said of being ranked second on CSU's block list. "I give all the credit to my coaches and my surrounding players. Matt (Botsford) is a really good blocking coach; he has a good read on the schemes of the other team, so he's calling the right calls."
In Set 2 the Rams jumped out of the gates early, scoring on the first three points of the set. CSU never looked back, taking the set, 25-18. The Rams' success came from their defensive effort, where they ratcheted up the pressure at the net, finishing with six blocks in the set after only recording two in Set 1. The Rams pulled away late in the set thanks to three straight blocks, two of which were by setter Deedra Foss.
"That kid is a really good player," Hilbert said of Foss. "She understands how to take information from me, and when she's struggling, she works through it and improves herself."
Foss finished the match with 30 assists and seven blocks, tying for the team lead.
Coming out of the intermission, the Falcons looked to put some early pressure on the Rams, grabbing a quick 3-0 lead, but the Rams would not cave. CSU responded by taking 11 of the next 13 points to seize control of the final set.
With the win, the Rams now are 12-1 in front of the home crowd, and are tied with UNLV for first place in the Mountain West. Additionally, all six of CSU's conference wins have come via sweeps.
The Rams will look to continue their momentum on the road, where they will travel to play San Diego State and Nevada.