Tom Hilbert has coached his final game of his long, incredibly successful career.
In the opening round of the Mountain West Volleyball Championship tournament, the No. 3 Seeded Colorado State University lost to the No. 6 San Diego State University 3-2 in five hard-fought sets (25-23, 19-25, 28-26, 20-25, 12-15).
“We fought, you know what I mean,” Hilbert said. “It was a fight, but that doesn’t make it any easier.”
In a match where the home team was the favorite, the Rams couldn’t seem to get or hold any leads. In the first set of the night, the Aztecs would gain a quick 9-5 advantage. Although the Rams scored the first point of the night, they would lose the lead on the next point and wouldn’t gain it back until the score was 21-20.
The spark was provided by junior middle Blocker Karina Leber. She provided four blocks and two kills in the first set, most of which came later on in the set. The Rams won the set by a score of 25-23.
The rest of the game saw much of the same from the Rams, who would routinely go down by more than four points and would have to rally back into the competition. In big tournaments like this, it is imperative for teams to have consistency in their play, but the Rams hit .217 to the Aztecs’ .226.
Despite the hitting percentage, the Rams had plenty of offensive opportunities that turned into points. Most often, it was by senior Annie Sullivan for the Rams, who tied her season-best of 17 kills for the match.
“There were times where we competed well, but it just wasn’t the right mix,” Hilbert said.
The 26-year Colorado State head coach will end his career in the top 10 in career wins and career winning percentage, all while taking home 12 Mountain West Conference Coach of the year honors.