Oct. 24, 2013
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By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The 2013 Colorado State women's volleyball team is the team that keeps on winning. With a 3-0 sweep over then-second-place Fresno State Thursday night (25-20, 25-19, 25-23), the No. 12 Rams (18-0, 9-0 MW) remained undefeated on the year to stay in control of the Mountain West with a two-game lead over UNLV.
CSU is off to the second-best start in program history, and along with Missouri, is one of just two undefeated team's in the country. The 18 consecutive victories also ranks as the fourth-longest winning streak in CSU's storied history.
While the Rams took the first two sets of the match with relative easy, the third set was a hotly contested bout. As it seemed CSU was dead in the water, facing an eight-point deficit late in the set, the Rams brought in senior right-side hitter Cayla Broadwater, who turned the tide of the match.
With three blocks in the set, Broadwater helped spur a 9-0 run that propelled CSU to its first lead of the set, 20-19. The Rams would finish strong, winning the final set, 25-23. The blocks marked the first points for Broadwater, a transfer from the University of Connecticut and a walk-on for the Rams, in a CSU uniform.
"I knew I went in for one reason, so I wanted to focus on one thing: that was blocking, which I'm good at," Broadwater said.
While the Rams didn't have a single player reach double digits in kills, they once again showed their versatility with four different players recording at least seven kills.
Sophomore right-side hitter Adrianna Culbert and senior middle blocker Samantha Peters paced the Rams with nine kills apiece, while junior middle blocker Kelsey Snider and junior outside hitter Marlee Reynolds each had seven.
Peters continued her strong defensive play from the previous weekend with eight blocks, giving her 28 blocks over the past three matches. Culbert led the way for CSU with 10 digs, while junior setter Deedra Foss had eight digs to go along with her 32 assists on the night.
The Rams constantly frustrated Fresno State (12-9, 6-3 MW), and didn't allow the Bulldogs' key attackers to get into a rhythm. As a team, Fresno State hit just .093 and had 28 attack errors. This was especially true for senior outside hitter Korrin Wild, who leads Fresno State in kills and points on the year. Wild was forced into 11 attack errors, including seven in the crucial third set, while hitting just .079 for the match. In two previous matches vs. CSU, Wild had 43 combined kills.
"I thought we managed Wild," Head Coach Tom Hilbert said. "She has a big, heavy arm, and if you don't get over quickly she is going to get a kill."
From the opening points, the tone was set for the night. Upon taking its first lead of the match at 3-2 in Set 1, CSU used a 5-1 run to gain some breathing room. The Bulldogs put up a fight late in the set by taking five straight to tie it up at 20-20, but the Rams made sure to never relinquish the lead. CSU responded with a 5-0 run of its own to close out the opening set.
Coming out in the second frame, CSU picked up right where it left off at the end of Set 1. The Rams took the first three points and never trailed for the duration of the set.
Peters was especially sharp for CSU in the second set, registering four kills on five attacks, and chipping in with three blocks. In the set, the Rams' offense started to click, hitting .321 compared to Fresno State's .094 hitting percentage.
Set 3 would be a different story, however. The Bulldogs snagged the opening point of the third set and played with a rejuvenated energy. As the two teams battled point for point, Fresno State began to pull away midway through the set.
With all of the momentum and leading 19-11, Fresno State forced CSU to call a timeout as it was facing an unfamiliar situation in front of its home crowd.
That's when Hilbert elected to make the change to put in Broadwater to help shore up the defense.
The move paid dividends for the Rams as Broadwater registered three blocks and moved CSU closer to Fresno State. With each point, the crowd at Moby Arena grew louder and louder, willing the Rams on to victory.
"Cayla is a very good blocker," Hilbert said. "That obviously was the biggest move of the third set."
With Foss serving tough, and Broadwater and company playing strong defense at the net, CSU went on a 9-0 run to take its first lead at 20-19. Despite recording just eight kills in the set, the Rams held on to win the clinching set, 25-23, erasing the eight-point deficit. It marked the second-largest deficit that CSU had faced this year and the largest deficit that the team has overcome.
The Rams will look to extend its 17-match home win streak — fifth-longest in school history — with another conference matchup on Saturday. CSU will take on San José State, playing in its first year in the Mountain West, at 1 p.m. MT at Moby Arena. Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone at 1-800-491-RAMS or at the McGraw Athletic Center ticket office.
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