CSU volleyball opens season in big fashion, sweeps SEC foe Arkansas
Aug. 29, 2008
By Luke Simmons
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- The No. 17 Colorado State volleyball team kicked off its highly anticipated season in front of a loud and energetic crowd at Moby Arena, handily defeating the Arkansas Razorbacks in straight sets (25-16, 25-16, 25-18) to kick off the Hilton Classic and earn its first win of the 2008 campaign.
The Rams were dominant on the block, out-classing the Razorbacks 11-5 in total team blocks and 18-8 in block assists.
"We did some good things blocking and defensively, we point-scored in runs that they weren't able to do, so I think that made a big difference," said Head Coach Tom Hilbert.
Perhaps the most impressive performance did not belong to one of the "big three," however, but to redshirt freshman Katelyn Steffan. Making her debut at Moby Arena, the 6-foot-4 Steffan contributed seven kills and three blocks while seeing playing time in all three sets. The tallest Ram stood like a pillar at the outside hitter position, and was no match for the block of Arkansas.
"She's playing next to Mekana," Hilbert said, "which attracts attention and leaves Katelyn one-on-one a lot. But, it really didn't matter tonight because she was hitting over (the Arkansas) blocks. She was a gamer tonight, and I hope we get that performance out of her every night."
The Rams breezed through the first and third sets, and were only tested early in the second, letting Arkansas jump out to a 9-2 start. But the team soon found its stride, and surged to a 23-7 run, sinking any hopes of an upset.
"We got in the hole because of some serving-passing issues, but we found our composure and started playing with consistency," Hilbert said of the second set.
The Rams were fueled by an enthusiastic and raucous crowd, with both ends of the court packed with students after free T-shirts and rally towels were given away to the first 500 entrants. Other supporters spread well into the upper concourse, and the Rams provided a show well worth the price of admission.
The Rams are now undefeated in their last 15 matches at home, and have not lost at Moby Arena since Nov. 18, 2006, to No. 9 Utah. They will look to continue their streak Saturday, when facing Denver (12 p.m.) and Eastern Washington (7:30 p.m.) in the final day of the Hilton Classic. Earlier Friday, Denver defeated Eastern Washington in three sets.
Other action at Moby Arena on Saturday includes Arkansas vs. Eastern Washington at 10 a.m. and Denver vs. Arkansas at 5 p.m.