Sept. 3, 2013
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The Colorado State Rams (3-0, 0-0 MW) swept intra-state rival Northern Colorado (2-1, 0-0 Big Sky) in convincing fashion Tuesday night in front of a crowd of 2,116 at Moby Arena (25-23, 25-12, 25-13).
The win marks the third consecutive year that the Rams have begun a season 3-0, and improves the team’s home winning to 11 matches.
“This was an interesting match,” Head Coach Tom Hilbert said. “I don’t think anybody out here is a superstar and goes out there thinking that this is going to be our go-to player, like Dana (Cranston) was last year. We just wait and see what happens and certain people emerge under that role in a particular match. Tonight it was Michelle.”
True freshman Michelle Lawrence had the best game of her young career, leading CSU with 16 kills on .519 hitting, while also registering a career-high five blocks in the match. The kill figure was the most by a Rams' true freshman since Tess Rogers in 2002.
“On the court, I don’t feel the nervousness that I felt in the first 15 points against Baylor,” Lawrence said. “I feel more of a calmness, and that has to do with my teammates also because they’re all composed and under control, which leads me to be composed and under control as well.”
Sophomore outside hitter Adrianna Culbert was the only other Ram to record double-digit kills in the match. With 10 kills and 10 digs, Culbert posted her first career double-double. After beginning the match shaky (two kills and four errors on her first eight swings), Culbert responded with eight kills and no errors on her final 10 attempts.
Junior setter Deedra Foss notched her second double-double of the season with 37 assists and 11 digs, while sophomore libero recorded a season-high 12 digs to help anchor the CSU defense, which held its opponent to under .100 hitting for the second time already this year.
In the first set, the Rams faced its largest deficit of the year, trailing the Bears, 10-6. CSU responded to the early adversity, using a 7-1 run to take a 13-7 lead. From there, the Rams did just enough to hang on and take the set, 25-23, after being tied as late as 21-21.
The second set went much easier for CSU, as the Rams held UNC to -.062 hitting en route to a 25-13 victory. After posting a poor hitting percentage in the first set, Culbert found her groove in the second set, leading the Rams with six kills on just seven attacks in the set.
Just as the second set went, the Rams continued their dominance in Set 3. With more tough defense, which is quickly becoming a signature of this year’s team, CSU limited the Bears to .000 hitting in the set.
“It was the most digs, and I think it was our best defensive match so far,” Hilbert said. “We were in the right positions, our block was funneling balls pretty well and we dug the ball well.”
With the win, Hilbert improves to an impressive 40-0 at home against Colorado’s four other Division I programs – Air Force, Colorado, Denver and Northern Colorado.
The Rams will hit the road for the first time this season this weekend, traveling to Malibu, Calif., to play in the Pepperdine Invitational.
“I feel confident with this team because we all play a lot harder this year, and we have better team chemistry,” Foss said. “Going out on the road will really test us and show us where we need to get better, but I feel confident with my team.”
CSU will take on Virginia on Friday at 6 p.m. MT before facing UC Santa Barbara (1:30 p.m. MT) and host Pepperdine (8:30 p.m. MT) on Saturday.
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