Thursday night in San Jose, the Spartans sought revenge. It took all five sets, but the Rams emerged victorious, securing their ninth conference win of the year. This win allows Colorado State to maintain their position in third place in the conference standings. The match ended with set scores of 20-26, 25-14, 24-26, 25-15, and 15-11.
Both teams had moments of brilliance and struggle throughout the night. Ultimately, the Rams outperformed the Spartans with a hitting percentage of .232 compared to .147. However, in the first set, San Jose State took an early lead with strong defense from Jiana Lawson, the leading blocker in the Mountain West Conference, and her teammate Alyssa Bjork. The Spartans’ offense had a .333 efficiency and they earned seven blocks, with Lawson and Bjork contributing five of them.
In the second set, the tables turned completely. Colorado State excelled with a hitting percentage of over .500, while San Jose State faltered with only a .030 efficiency. The Rams also showcased their defensive prowess, adding three blocks compared to none from the Spartans. Malaya Jones, the opposite hitter, stood out with four of her game-leading 16 kills in the second set alone. Colorado State won the set with a score of 25-15, tying the match.
The third set saw another shift in hitting percentages and block numbers for each team. Despite the Rams earning four service aces, they only hit at a .047 efficiency, while San Jose State had a .237 efficiency and added seven blocks. Down 2-1, Colorado State knew that their only chance of victory was to win their 11th five-set match of the season.
The Rams dominated the fourth set with a 25-15 win, fueled by Emery Herman’s four service aces. Herman ended the night with six aces, 44 assists, and 15 digs, showcasing her leadership as the team’s captain setter. Colorado State finished the set on a 9-1 run.
In the fifth set, neither team managed to score three consecutive points until the score reached 12-8 in favor of the Rams. The Spartans closed the gap to 12-11, but after a timeout called by head coach Emily Kohan, the Rams responded with three straight points, securing a 15-11 victory in the fifth set and a 3-2 overall match win.
Annie Sullivan, a fifth-year veteran outside hitter, once again proved her worth with 15 kills at a .237 efficiency. Naeemah Weathers, the middle blocker, had a standout performance with a season-high 13 kills at a .500 percentage, in addition to five block assists and a solo block.
The Rams’ defense was led by redshirt-sophomore libero Kate Yoshimoto, who had 17 digs and five assists.
With only two weeks left in the Mountain West regular season, the Rams will use their weekend break to prepare for upcoming matches against UNLV and San Diego State. They will continue their road trip next week before returning to Moby Arena and Fort Collins for senior weekend against New Mexico and Air Force in two weeks.
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