The Colorado State volleyball team, ranked 16th in the country, remained unbeaten in Mountain West Conference play after a long five-game battle at San Diego State tonight 20-30, 30-27, 30-27, 28-30, 15-12. The Rams improve to 19-4 overall and 10-0 in league action, while the Aztecs fall to 13-11 overall and 4-5 in conference play.
Junior outside hitter Becky Sarauer led all the players with 20 kills and was one of five Rams in double figures in kills. Sophomore outside hitter Casey Bauer notched a career-high 15 kills, junior middle blocker Katie Jo Shirley added 14 kills and junior middle blocker Bri Frech and sophomore right side hitter Dre Downs added 12 and 10, respectively. Shirley also led the Rams with 10 blocks while junior setter Melissa Courtney and junior libero Lindsey Kerr tied for the match lead with 14 digs. Bauer also led the team with three aces. Junior Kimi Foytich saw her first setting action of the season midway through the first game and ended the match with five assists and seven digs.
San Diego State senior Aspen McPartland led the team with 17 kills and hit .452, while Kara Moriarty had 16 kills, Zlatina Anguelova had 12 kills and Melissa Cansdale chipped in 10 kills. Moriarty led the team with 13 digs, while Sara Engstrom and McPartland had 12 kills and Anguelova added 10. Megan Schauermann led the Aztecs with 10 blocks and Anguelova had three aces.
“We struggled with our serving and passing at the beginning of the match,” said head coach Tom Hilbert. “Dre and Becky stepped it up in game five when we really needed it.”
San Diego State jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first game off two blocks and an ace serve by Engstrom. Down 5-1, the Rams scored four of the next five points to pull within one, 6-5 but the Aztecs scored the next three points. Trailing 9-5 Hilbert used his first timeout, but San Diego State scored six of the next eight points, two off blocks for the 15-7 lead. Sarauer got a kill and Karlik served an ace to bring the score to 15-9. Four consecutive points by the Aztecs gave them a 10-point lead, 19-9 and they would go on to win 30-20. Sarauer led the Rams with three kills, but the Aztecs had seven blocks in the first game and hit .346 compared to just .029 for CSU.
The Rams came out much more focused in the second game, jumping out to the early 4-1 lead off two blocks and kills by Sarauer and Shirley. CSU scored three of the next four points off kills by Sarauer and Frech to lead 7-2 and took the 10-3 lead when SDSU used its first timeout. McPartland had two of the next three kill to make the score 11-5 and then the Aztecs scored five of the next seven, two off kills by Anguelova to pull within three, 13-10. Bauer got a kill for the Rams and then served back-to-back aces, along with an Aztec error to pull ahead 17-10. Cansdale was in on three of the next four points for SDSU to bring the score to 18-14. With the 19-16 lead, Frech got a kill off a tip and then Bauer had the next three Colorado State kills to make the score 23-19. The Aztecs tallied four of the next five points to make the score 24-23 and the Aztecs tied the score at 26-26 off a Moriarty kill, but back-to-back kills by Sarauer and Bauer gave the Rams the 28-26 lead and they went on to win 30-27. The Rams hit .357 in the second stanza, led by seven kills by Bauer.
Shirley was called in the net on the first play of the third game, but the Rams scored the next seven, two off blocks and two off jousts won by CSU players. SDSU came right back with a five point run of their own, two off kills by Moriarty to make the score 7-6. Shirley got a kill for the two point lead but the Aztecs got two straight kills to tie the score at 8-8. It was tied again at 9 and 10 before the Aztecs scored seven of the next of the next eight. The Rams put Rogers in at the middle blocker position for Shirley and the Rams scored five straight. CSU took the 21-17 lead and then SDSU scored the next two. The teams traded points and with the 26-25 lead, Bauer got a kill and then an ace serve for the 28-25 lead. San Diego State used its final timeout and then the Rams won 30-27, with the last point coming off a Sarauer kill.
Bauer and Shirley got a block to start game four and then Cansdale got two kills and an ace serve by Anguelova gave the Aztecs the 3-1 lead. The Rams scored two straight to knot the score at 3-3. It was then tied at 4 and 5 when the Aztecs scored two straight for the 7-5 lead. The teams traded points until the Rams tied the score at 11-11. Shirley served an ace to give the lead back to CSU, but McPartland got a kill on a slide to tie the score again. It was tied at 14 and 16 before the Rams scored four straight, two off blocks for the 20-16 lead. SDSU answered with four of the next five for the 21-20 Ram lead. The scored was tied for the ninth time at 24-24 and then was tied at 25, 26, 27 and 28 before the Aztecs got two kills to win 30-28.
San Diego State jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the fifth game, in part by two blocks by Schauermann and Cansdale. Hilbert called a timeout and Sarauer got a kill for CSU. Trailing 9-6, the Rams got three straight kills -- one by Shirley, Courtney and Sarauer -- to knot the score at 9-9. Trailing 11-10, Sarauer got consecutive kills to take the 12-11 lead when San Diego State called for a break. Downs then recorded back-to-back kills for the 14-11 advantage when the Aztecs used their final timeout. Moriarty got a kill for the Aztecs and then Gregg missed the final serve of the match for the 15-12 win.
Colorado State completes its road conference season on Sat., evening in Las Vegas against the Rebels of UNLV. Match time is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Pacific, 7:00 p.m. Mountain. The Rams then return home to face Wyoming in the second match of the Border War on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m. in Moby Arena.