By Javier Hernandez
Nevada Snaps 4-game Win Streak; Falls to Colorado State 3-0
The Nevada Volleyball team had its four-game winning streak snapped yesterday at Fort Collins, Colorado, losing to Colorado State 3-0. Colorado State previously defeated UNLV which, prior to their matchup, was undefeated in conference play and had one loss overall. With the win over Nevada, the Rams move into first place in the Mountain West standings. Nevada falls to 13-5, 4-2 in the Mountain West, tied for fifth with San Diego State. Thursday’s win over the Wolf Pack marked the 500th win for Rams coach Tom Hilbert. Hilbert has led the Rams to nineteen NCAA tournament appearances during his tenure and has led the Rams atop of the Mountain West thus far.
Throughout the game, Nevada struggled mightily against the height of the opposing middle blockers Kirstie Hillyer (6-foot-6) and Alexandra Poletto (6-foot-3). The Wolf pack tried to attack the back line of the Rams, but failed to hit on a number of their attempts either missing deep or getting stuffed by the Rams’ defense. Nevada found success with Shayla Hoeft and Kathryn Groenweghe attacking the middle, as the Rams sought to limit the outside hitting of Madison Morell and Madison Foley. Libero Madison Thorpe had her hands full most of the night as she and Foley combined for 17 digs on the night. Despite continuing her 19 game streak of double-digit kills by having 11 kills on the night, Morell was neutralized as she had a below average 20 percent kill percentage while being matched up with the taller defenders. As a team, besides Morell, nobody else eclipsed double-digit kills. However, Nevada’s middle blockers were able to combine for 14 kills, finding limited success down the middle. Setter Lyndsay Anderson had another solid performance with 31 assists despite having a number of her sets ending in a block or an attack error.
Colorado State had a balanced attack as it was able to attack from the inside and outside while also imposing its will on the defensive end. The Rams’ attacks came in bunches as they went on a 9-2 run in the first set, a 12-3 run in the second set and a 12-2 run in the third set. The Rams were led by Poletto’s efficient performance — 13 kills on 18 attempts amassing a 72 percent kill percentage. Hitter Sanja Cizmic turned in a solid performance with 10 kills and 7 digs. Middle Blocker Kirstie Hillyer was able to affect the hitting of the Wolf Pack all night, forcing them to miss deep over the top. She had 7 kills and 3 assisted blocks. Outside Hitter Jasmine Hanna had 8 kills and was able to find timely kills throughout the night whenever the Wolf Pack tried to rally back into the game.
Nevada will go on to Laramie, Wyoming this Saturday to face the Wyoming Cowgirls the second of a tough four-game road trip. Wyoming comes into Saturday’s matchup coming off of back to back wins: a straight set victory over New Mexico and a five-set thriller against San Diego State.
Javier Hernandez can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.