Sept. 3, 2009
By Danny Mattie
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State volleyball team picked up its second consecutive win and opened the 18th annual Hilton Classic in impressive fashion, defeating the previously unbeaten Georgia Southern Eagles, 3-0, in front of 1,353 fans at Moby Arena on Thursday night.
With the victory, the Rams improved to 2-2 on the season, while GSU falls to 3-1.
The Rams used a strong all-around performance, which saw the team hit .330, to outduel the Eagles who opened the first set point-for-point with CSU on its home court.
“Georgia Southern is a very difficult team to prepare for, and they started the match off really cleanly,” said Head Coach Tom Hilbert after the match. “It was a little scary. But I was happy with the team because we stayed very mature in terms of keeping hitting errors down, and we served pretty tough.”
Colorado State used a strong opening set by junior outside hitter Danielle Minch to shut down the Eagles, who had played the Rams to a 13-13 tie to begin the first set. Minch kept the Rams in the contest early, recording four kills on five swings (.800) during the Rams’ first 10 points of the night, while classmate Jacque Davisson recorded three of the Rams’ final five points on kills and finished with four of her own in CSU’s 25-19 Set 1 victory.
“We decided that we control our own momentum,” said Minch of her performance to lift the Rams in the opening set. “We need to do that. It felt good to be the person to start that.”
Davisson tallied a match-high 10 kills and hit .308 for the Rams, while adding a service ace and two assisted blocks. Minch and senior middle blocker Tessa Nelson added eight kills for the Rams, hitting .250 and .533, respectively.
Freshman Dana Cranston, who was forced into action unexpectedly because of a Katelyn Steffan injury at last weekend’s Asics/ Coors Classic, played well, recording four kills and hitting .308 while adding an assisted block and eight digs. Cranston also served six consecutive points to close out Set 2 and give the Rams a 25-16 victory.
“It felt really good to make an impact serving,” said Cranston. “I was able to find a rhythm and it worked out.”
Fellow freshman Tori Brummett, seeing her first collegiate playing time and making her first career start, also added four kills and two assisted blocks for the Rams.
“Dana plays very steady and doesn’t make typical freshman errors,” said Hilbert. “Tori did a really nice job tonight as well.”
Sophomore setter Evan Sanders recorded her third consecutive match with 30-plus assists, while senior libero Katelin Batten added to her career-record digs total with a team-high 12. Junior defensive specialist Audrey Hemmings chipped in with 10 digs of her own.
As a team, the Rams were also able to outblock the Eagles by a margin of 7-to-1, while holding GSU to just .121 hitting as a team. Bethany Sanford, the reigning SoCon Player of the Week for the Eagles, and fellow sophomore Lauren Claybaugh each notched nine kills.
Colorado State continues action Friday evening, playing host to the Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0) at 7 p.m. in the third match of the Hilton Classic at Moby Arena. General admission tickets will be on sale for just $1 as part of a special “Buck the Bucks for a Buck” promotion. Georgia Southern and UT Arlington start the action Friday afternoon at 4:30 in the second match of the tournament.
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