After losing four pivotal seniors at the end of the 2012 season, CSU was expected to rebuild and anticipated to be on the back burner of the Mountain West limelight. In a preseason poll, CSU was ranked to finish behind San Diego State for the first time in five years.
Despite the odds against the Rams, no signs point toward making the prediction come true.
“I think a lot of our success has to do just with the competitiveness of our team and how we come in. We want to play every point for point,” Adrianna Culbert said.
In the eighth week of play, CSU has accomplished five consecutive weeks of AVCA Division I Coaches Top-25 Poll rankings, a leading record in the MW along with remaining one of two teams in the NCAA who are undefeated.
The No.12 Rams are 15-0, dropping only one set in Moby Arena and eight all together on the season.
The question now is, how long will this winning streak last for CSU?
With UNLV scheduled for Thursday and San Diego State on Saturday, both on the road, CSU approaches two teams with an ability to hand the Rams their first loss.
When asked if this could be the toughest week of MW play yet, both Adrianna Culbert and Marlee Reynolds responded at the same time: Yes.
“They are Mountain West contenders for the Mountain West title,” Culbert said. “They are great teams, and when you put them in their own atmosphere, especially at season level, anything can happen; it will be fun.”
As the days close in, the Rams are preparing for UNLV first and then will focus momentum to San Diego.
UNLV is second at 5-1 on the season. Ahead of San Diego and one game back from CSU, the rebels are on a two game winning streak over Air Force and New Mexico.
The Rebels will come out against the Rams with Sekola Falamaka. Our of her 463 total attempts, she hits 3.62 on 181 kills while Katlin Winters leads the team with 59 blocks and 1.13 blocks per set.
The upcoming competition does not stop in Vegas. CSU will continue a road series in San Diego State where the Rams will take on one of two conference teams to defeat CSU last season, the other being Fresno State.
San Diego State is 4-2 in the conference, falling to New Mexico and UNLV on the road. The Aztecs are 5-1 at home while struggle on the road at 1-5.
CSU volleyball players give no consideration towards the preseason poll as it heads into the weekend. In the end, a win means more than a underestimated Rams team.
“We’ve talked a lot about going in because both of the gyms we will be playing in are going to be really competitive atmospheres,” Culbert said. “Everyone always plays well at their home court so we just have to go in and play our game.”
A special aspect for CSU volleyball comes from its versatility. Opponents are struggling to scout the Rams offense due to the fact that players in the starting line up are all fair game for setter Deedra Foss to hit as well as pulling players from the bench.
It is also impossible to predict who will be hot on any given night.
“One game our outsides will go off and one game out middles will go off,” Foss said. “It just totally depends on our game because once you take away one thing from us, we still have players to turn on the game.”
Volleyball Bear Reporter Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Colorado State 6-0
New Mexico 5-2
San Diego State 4-2
Fresno State 4-2
Utah State 4-3
Boise State 2-5
Air Force 1-4
San Jose State 1-5