FORT COLLINS, Colo. - No. 25 Colorado State kicked off the 2012 volleyball season in terrific fashion, knocking off the Virginia Cavaliers in three sets (25-18, 25-13, 25-20) Friday night at Moby Arena. The win came in front of a crowd of 3,957, which ranks just outside of the top 10 for all-time home crowds.
CSU (1-0, 0-0 MW) finished the first set on a strong 9-2 run after Virginia tied it at 16-16. The Rams continued that momentum straight into the second set where they opened up with a 6-0 lead thanks to great serving from senior Izzy Gaulia.
Led by sophomore Kelsey Snider, who had a team-high nine kills for the match, the Rams tallied 15 kills in the second set on .400 hitting. CSU stayed on track in Set 3 with the help of great offense from senior Megan Plourde and sophomore Marlee Reynolds.
"One of the coolest things is seeing Marlee Reynolds hitting .600 in her first start as a Ram," Head Coach Tom Hilbert said. "I think she got four block assists, as well. That is the production we needed out of a right-side player."
Along with Reynolds, the Rams got key contributions from several underclassmen. True freshman Jaime Colaizzi started Friday's match and finished with seven digs. Anastassia Koutchouk, another true freshman, played in the third set to help contribute to the victory.
"We have nice, young, emerging players," said Hilbert. "The emerging players are very good on this team, and that makes me feel good for the future."
CSU finished the match hitting .267 on 39 kills, while holding Virginia to .010 hitting on 27 kills. The Rams played strong at the net and produced eight blocks, in addition to putting the pressure on Virginia's offense, leading to 26 attack errors from the Cavaliers' offense.
Colorado State will return to the court Saturday and will face Denver at 1 p.m. MT and Rhode Island at 7:30 p.m. The nightcap will conclude the 2012 Rams Volleyball Rocky Mountain Invite.
Denver Pioneers vs. Rhode Island Rams Denver opened up its 2012 season with a 3-0 victory over Rhode Island. Former Colorado State associate head coach, Jesse Mahoney, recorded his first career Division-I victory as a head coach.