The Fresno State volleyball team was defeated 3-0 by the No. 10 Colorado State Rams by set scores of 25-21, 25-16 and 25-20. Junior outside hitter Zana Bowens led the Bulldogs’ efforts with 12 kills and .345 hitting.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Fresno State head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said. “It’s the No. 10 team in the country, we’ve got injury after injury and tons of adversity, and we still scored pretty well tonight. My outside hitters played great. I was really proud of them.”
When the two teams faced off earlier this season, Fresno State only came as close as eight points to the Rams and lost a set by a margin of 25-7.
It was another sweep on Thursday, though a much more competitive match. The Bulldogs held an early lead in the first set and went into the final stretch tied 21-21 with the tenth ranked team in the nation. The Rams rallied four straight points to take the 25-21 set win, however.
Bowens led the Bulldogs with five kills on seven attacks in the set, but Colorado State junior outside hitter Adrianna Culbert converted seven kills on eight attacks in the set. Culbert would finish with 12 kills on 17 attempts.
The Bulldogs again went toe-to-toe with the Rams for a majority of the second set, trailing at 16-14 until Colorado State converted on another big run. The Rams won nine of the last 11 points to take the 25-16 win.
Fresno State fought back in the third set from a four point deficit to come within one point of the Rams at 21-20. Again errors cost the Bulldogs, and Colorado State scored four straight points to complete the sweep.
Colorado State held advantages in kills (44-33), hitting (.319-.082) and team blocks (13-8). The Rams also had fewer attack errors (25-15). Fresno State was without senior middle blocker Maci Murdock on Thursday due to injury, however.
“We need to get healthy, we need Murdock back so she can block out of the middle,” Netherby-Sewell said. “They ran quicks, we just weren’t able to defend it. They’re much more physical, they have more experience.”
Colorado State leaves the Save Mart Center with a 24-2 record overall and a 12-1 record in Mountain West play. The Rams had been flawless in conference play until they fell 3-1 in their previous game versus UNLV, dropping to No. 10 from No. 7 in the national rankings.
Fresno State falls to a record of 6-21 overall and 1-12 in conference play — last in the Mountain West standings. The Bulldogs will try to snap a nine game losing streak on Saturday as they host the Wyoming Cowboys (19-6, 8-4 MW) on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Cowboys defeated the Bulldogs 3-0 at Wyoming earlier this season.
“The same kind of plan, the same kind of play – I think if we do that we have an even better chance on Saturday,” Netherby-Sewell said. “Wyoming is a good team… they’re a big team, physical, pretty similar to Colorado State. We’re just looking to keep moving forward with our goals.”