FORT COLLINS, Colo.—Colorado State volleyball improved to 3-0 on the season with a three-set sweep over Rhode Island Saturday evening to win the 2012 Rams Volleyball Rocky Mountain Invite.
CSU finished undefeated in the four-team tournament, ahead of Denver (2-1), Virginia (1-2) and Rhode Island (0-3).
With the win, CSU improved to 66-13 all-time in regular-season home tournaments under Head Coach Tom Hilbert. The home tournament title is CSU’s fifth consecutive dating back to 2009. With the sweep over Rhode Island, CSU also has begun the season winning nine consecutive sets. It marks the second consecutive year the team has done so, and just the third time since 1997.
“We, again, were pretty efficient from an attacking standpoint,” Hilbert said. “I like that we are playing with some maturity and serving the ball well.”
Again, the Rams started the match out strong, using an 8-0 to take the early lead with Izzy Gaulia serving. CSU extended its lead with back-to-back service aces from Samantha Peters late in the set. The Rams finished the frame, 25-9, just the fourth time since 2007 that CSU has given up nine or fewer points in a set. In the opening stanza, the Rams hit an impressive .526 (12-2-19).
CSU opened up to a 10-3 lead in Set 2 before Rhode Island went on a 6-1 run. Rhode Island would close within two on multiple occasions throughout the set, but couldn’t get any closer, as CSU took Game 2, 25-20.
The Rams led from start to finish in the final set, going on to defeat Rhode Island, 25-16.
“I think we’re starting to show that we can play how Colorado State volleyball players can play,” said tournament MVP Deedra Foss said. “Overall, I think we did a really good job, and by the end of this tournament, we were playing at a really high level.”
Foss tallied 31 assists against Rhode Island to total 91 on the weekend. She also had a kill, block and service ace in the win.
Redshirt Kaitlind Bestgen made her collegiate debut, appearing in the third set. Additionally, Kaila Thomas returned to the court for the first time since missing the final 19 matches of the 2011 season due to injury.
As a team, CSU hit .354, while allowing Rhode Island to hit just .117. CSU hit .526 in Set 1 and .414 in the final frame to propel the team to victory. CSU also outblocked Rhode Island, 9-3, in addition to recording six service aces.
Joining Foss on the all-tournament team were Cranston and Plourde, in addition to Denver's Colleen King and Faimie Kingsley, and Virginia's Tori Janowski. The Rams will return to the court Thursday to open the Shocker Volleyball Classic, against host Wichita State. It begins a stretch of four matches in four days, all against teams currently ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA top-25 poll.
“The tournament helped us see some things and it accomplished what we needed to accomplish,” Hilbert said. “We got three wins out of it, which we should have gotten, and we identified some things we need to get better at. Now we have to look forward to Wichita State, which will be a very challenging tournament for us.”