FRESNO, Calif. – The Fresno State volleyball team beat Colorado State, the defending Mountain West Champions, in five sets on Thursday night in the Save Mart Center. The Bulldogs (11-7, 4-2 MW) won sets two, three and five for the victory over the Rams.
“It’s a fantastic win for us,” said junior Korrin Wild of the win over Colorado State. “They are a great team and we were able to take away their offense with our serve and pass. Once we honed in on our targets, we were pretty much unstoppable.”
The Bulldogs have won six of their last eight games and won two-straight.
“This is a tough conference top to bottom and beating one of the better teams in the conference is a huge win for us,” said Netherby-Sewell. “I don’t think a lot of teams will be Colorado State. This puts us back in the hunt again.”
Wild had her best performance of the year and recorded her seventh double-double with 23 kills and digs. She hit .458 and tallied three blocks. Wild also recorded one of three Bulldog aces and leads the conference with 29 in 2012.
“Nobody had an answer for her,” said head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell. “I don’t think anybody in the world could’ve stopped her tonight. She was the player I know she can be. She played smart, competitive and smooth. She made huge plays for us tonight.”
The Bulldogs opened the match with a 6-1 run to take an early lead. The Rams tied up the first set 12-12 after a short 5-2 run. Fresno State surged ahead with an 11-2 run regaining the lead.
Lauren Albertson hammered home the set-point as the Bulldogs won the opening set 25-15. The junior hit 1.000 in the first set with three kills. She finished the night with 11 kills and four blocks. Setter Barbara Alcantara hit a .800 with a set-high four kills.
In the second set, Colorado State led early with a 4-1 opening run. The Bulldogs cut the Rams lead to 9-7 with a short 5-2 run. The ‘Dogs rallied late in the second cutting CSU’s lead to two-points, but the Rams held on to win the set 25-20.
After two sets, Marissa Brand led the team with eight kills. The redshirt junior ended the night with 16 kills and 10 digs for her 10th double-double of the season. Megan Callahan hit .714 through the first two sets with five kills and two blocks. The Bulldogs headed to intermission with the match tied 1-1.
Fresno State trailed CSU 9-7 to start the third set. The Bulldogs tied the set 13-13 and went on to gain the lead with a quick 3-1 run. Alcantara recorded a service ace giving the ‘Dogs a 21-18 advantage. The ‘Dogs held to win the third set 27-15.
The fourth set began evenly matched, but Colorado State started to pull ahead with a 10-8 lead. Callahan ended the longest rally of the night with a kill as the ‘Dogs trailed the Rams by one point. A pair of blocks from Maci Murdock and Katie Pearson gave the Bulldogs a 14-13 lead, their first of the set.
Murdock collected a team-high six blocks against Colorado State. Pearson came off the bench tallying three blocks and a spark of energy in the fifth set for the Bulldogs.
“Katie was my little secret weapon,” Netherby-Sewell said with a smile. “She went in and did what I asked her to do, which was block the ball and she did just that.”
The Rams came back tying the set 18-18 and went on a 4-1 run taking a 22-19 lead late in the fourth set. Albertson and Pearson came up with a huge block to tie the set up 22-22. Another block from Murdock gave Fresno State set-point, but the Rams answered with a kill of their own. Colorado State won the close fourth set, 28-26 forcing a fifth set.
Wild recorded back-to-back kills in the fifth set giving the Bulldogs a 5-3 lead over Colorado State. Pearson went up to the net and came down with the biggest block of the night giving the ‘Dogs a 10-7 lead. The Bulldogs held on to win the set 15-12.
“This win puts us one step closer to our goal,” said Wild. “Not a lot of teams will be able to beat Colorado State.”
With the win, the ‘Dogs improve to 4-3 in matches that are forced to five sets. Fresno State hosts Wyoming on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Save Mart Center.