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Colorado State wins both final games in Waco

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State volleyball team rounded out its time at the Baylor Invitational winning both of its final games Friday as they took the first matchup of the day against Evansville, sweeping the Purple Aces 3-0, and completing the comeback over Arizona State in a five-set thriller, winning 3-2.
In the morning matchup of Friday volleyball, the Rams put together a complete game with 11 different players getting court time in the sweep over the Purple Aces. A 10-2 run lead by servers Ciera Pritchard and Kate Yoshimoto put the Rams in the lead 17-9 in the first set and this dominance over Evansville would not slow down throughout the day.
Colorado State earned the sweep with scores of 25-15, 25-21 and 25-13.
Junior Ruby Kayser finished the match with five service aces, including two in the same service run to open up the third set.
Offensively, the Rams were led by Annie Sullivan who tallied eight kills from the front row as well as two blocks. Following close behind was Kennedy Stanford, Karina Leber and Malaya Jones who all added seven kills. Junior Naeemah Weathers serves as the top defensive presence at the net finishing with four blocks on the morning.
Barret Power played in an extended role at the setter position, helping her offense with 21 total assists while libero Kate Yoshimoto ended with 13 digs from the backrow.
In the second matchup of the night, Colorado State took on the Arizona State Sun Devils who also swept Evansville Friday afternoon. Coming into the game, the matchup looked to be one of even proportions giving the Rams a chance to knock off their second power five conference team of the season.
The Sun Devils came out firing in the first set and looked to be taking advantage of a short break in between a double match day for both teams. Despite going near even though the first quarter of the opening set, an 11-2 Sun Devils run put the first set out of reach for the Rams, falling 25-15.
Coming back in the second set, a Kennedy Stanford service run put the Rams up three. They would keep this margin, trading rallies back and forth before Arizona State went on another service run of its own. The score had swung to a three-point margin in favor of the Sun Devils. Coming back and pushing the set into extra points, Arizona State eventually took the set 26-24.
Last night after Colorado State’s loss against Baylor, Head Coach Tom Hilbert said, “We just have to look at it and learn from it and grow,” in reference to winning close sets and bouncing back after close losses. The Rams did just that in the rest of the game.
Finding themselves in a one-point set with a score of 21-20, the Rams rallied to finish on a 4-2 run, taking set three 25-22. In the third set alone, Junior Karina Leber had six kills and block.
Finishing off the match, the Rams had “back against the wall energy where we went into the end of the game with nothing to lose,” according to Hilbert.
Taking advantage of Sun Devil errors, an 11-1 run through the fifth set gave the Rams the lead they would not relinquish. Colorado State took the late-night set 15-9 as the completed the reverse sweep to end the day 2-0.
Leber ended the night with 22 kills hitting at a .571 kill percentage. Annie Sullivan and Malaya Jones both added solo blocks on the night while Kate Yoshimoto once again led the was in Colorado State’s defensive effort with 18 digs.
The Rams will return home to face off against another Pac-12 school as in-state rival Colorado makes the short trip to Fort Collins in the battle for the Golden Spike. First serve is set for 7 p.m. in Moby Arena.

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