No. 7 Colorado State downs UNLV in conference home opener
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Playing in front of its home fans for the first time in nearly a month, the seventh-ranked Colorado State volleyball team defeated UNLV Thursday night in four sets (25-15, 23-25, 25-16, 25-14). The victory extends the Rams’ winning streak to 10 matches and improves their record to 15-1 and 3-0 in the Mountain West.
Senior outside hitter Marlee Reynolds had a career night, tallying a personal-best 21 kills and doing so on .500 hitting. Of her 40 swings, she committed just one error. Four other players had seven or more kills, helping CSU hit .354 compared to UNLV’s .103. The Rebels (13-4, 1-1 MW) entered the match holding opponents to .130 hitting on the season.
“Marlee Reynolds played great,” head coach Tom Hilbert said. “She was on fire so much that we switched our lineup to Row 5 so she could start in the left-front for sets 3 and 4. We got a win against a good conference team. Hats off to my team, because we did what we needed to do, and we didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes.”
Despite UNLV ranking fourth in the NCAA for blocks per set, CSU out-blocked UNLV 11-9 and out-dug the conference-leading Rebels 67-49. Five Rams had three blocks, while five players had nine or more digs.
“I think our blocking intimidated them a little bit,” Reynolds said. “Their outside hitters kept wailing the ball out of bounds, and that means your block is doing well if this hitter is trying to hit completely around it.”
Setter Deedra Foss paced the CSU offense with 49 assists, but also added a season-high 12 digs in addition to back-to-back service aces late in the fourth set. It was the senior’s second double-double in the past three matches.
“Things that we did great were that we served the ball really well -- it doesn’t show up in aces, but it shows up in what we were able to do offensively -- and we were good at siding out,” Hilbert said.
Reynolds’ 21 kills surpassed her previous high (19) and she he has been extremely effective as of late, averaging 3.64 kills per set on .341 hitting over the past six matches.
“I just got out there and I immediately felt comfortable,” Reynolds said. “I felt confident and good internally.”