Nov. 9, 2013
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Head Coach Tom Hilbert earned his 600th career victory on Saturday night as his No. 10 Colorado State Rams (23-0, 14-0) remained undefeated with a sweep over Nevada (25-18, 25-18, 25-19) in front of 4,418 fans at Moby Arena.
With the win, Hilbert becomes just the 10th coach in NCAA history with 600 career wins and a career winning percentage above .770.
“I have 600 wins because I’ve been consistently good over the past 25 years, but I’ve been a coach all that time and I’ve gotten to do a really cool job," Hilbert said. "That’s what 600, to me, means. I’m not winning any of these games, but I am shepherding this program through a pretty good time, and I’m happy about that.”
In a season full of highlights and record-breaking performances, the Rams added to it on Saturday. With 23 straight victories, CSU tied the school record for most consecutive victories, which was also set in 2003. Dating back to Oct. 25, 2012, the Rams have now won 31 consecutive regular-season matches, which is the longest active streak in the nation.
Additionally, CSU continues to be dominant in front of its home crowd. The Rams own a 19-match winning streak at home, which is the third-longest in program history and tied for the third-longest active streak in the nation.
In Saturday's win, sophomore right-side hitter Adrianna Culbert and junior outside hitter Marlee Reynolds paced the Rams with 11 kills apiece, while junior middle blocker Kelsey Snider and freshman outside hitter Michelle Lawrence each added eight.
As a team, CSU racked up 49 kills on .323 hitting compared to 33 kills for Nevada (2-24, 0-14 MW) on .174 efficiency. At the center of CSU’s potent offensive attack was junior setter Deedra Foss. Foss, who entered the match ranked eighth nationally averaging 11.71 assists per set, upped her total with an impressive 44 assists (14.67 per set) in just three sets.
“We have one of the best setters in the United States,” Hilbert said of Foss. “She gets her hands on a lot of stuff, she saves plays, she makes good decisions and she has a good feel for the flow of the game and who’s hot.”
Foss’ performance was on full display in the early stages of the match as the junior helped lead the Rams to a 25-18 opening-set victory over the Wolf Pack. The set featured 10 ties and five lead changes, as for much of the set neither team could separate themselves by more than two points.
As has often been the case this season, the Rams found themselves in a tight set near the end before closing the set out in impressive fashion. Tied at 17-17, CSU closed on an 8-1 run to take the first set 25-18 and seize the momentum in the match.
“We came out slow in the first set, but we definitely ended the first set really playing our game,” freshman middle blocker Acacia Andrews said. Andrews earned her second start of her career on Saturday, totaling seven kills and a team-high four blocks.
The Rams took that momentum from the end of the first set and carried it with them right into Set 2, where Foss elevated her game to another level.
Taking nine of the first 12 points, CSU opened up a comfortable lead over the Wolf Pack in a set in which the Rams never trailed. As a team, the Rams hit .406 and were led by Culbert’s six kills and zero errors on just nine attacks, while Foss had a career-best 19 assists as she helped guide CSU to a 25-18 win and a 2-0 lead heading into the intermission.
Looking to finish the match in the third set, CSU found itself in a tightly contested battle at the beginning. The two teams traded points in the early stages of Set 3, which featured six ties and two lead changes. Leading 19-18, CSU did what it does best and closed out the match on a 6-1 run to win the clinching set 25-19.
Defensively, Andrews led the team with four blocks while sophomore libero Jaime Colaizzi paced the Rams with 11 digs.
The Rams will now turn their attention to the New Mexico Lobos (20-5, 10-4). CSU hosts New Mexico, who is currently tied for second in the Mountain West, on Thursday night at 7 p.m. MT. The match is designated as a White Out, and the first 500 fans in attendance will get a free commemorative poster.
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