Sept. 4, 2009
By Danny Mattie
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- If the Colorado State volleyball team was looking for a leader to emerge in place of departed seniors Mekana Barnes, Ashley Fornstrom and Jaime Strauss, the team may have found not one, but two on Friday night against Ohio State.
After taking the first set (25-17), but stumbling to find itself down 2-1 to the Buckeyes, the Colorado State (3-2) volleyball team rallied around the performances of emotional leaders Jacque Davisson and Danielle Minch to hand OSU (4-1) its first defeat of the season, in a five-set thriller in front of 1,812 fans on Day 2 of the Hilton Classic volleyball tournament at Moby Arena.
“Jacque really drug our team through that,” said Head Coach Tom Hilbert. “She showed really great leadership tonight.”
Davisson, who demanded a victory from her teammates in the huddle before the start of Set 4, was not only a vocal leader for the Rams, but led by example as well. The junior outside hitter recorded 14 kills (four in the fourth set) and hit .225 overall, while adding a solo block in the pivotal set, to lead Colorado State to victory.
“Coming out of Game 3, I just decided something needed to change and it was going to start with me,” said Davisson. “It was my time to be there for my team. That was the feeling that came over me. “
Added Davisson, “I got the opportunity to step up and lead, but only because my teammates were with me.”
Minch was also key to the Rams’ victory, recording a match-high 16 kills, including the deciding point of Set 5, while hitting .262 and notching eight digs on the night.
“I had goose bumps,” said Davisson of the way the team rallied. “It was amazing to see the team come together like that.”
Six of Minch’s 16 kills came in the final two sets, as the Rams used her as the primary attacker for most of Set 5, and she delivered.
“I looked out when the score was 14, and I looked at Dani (Minch) and said ‘Win this for us,’” said Hilbert. “I wanted her to have that feeling of, ‘Hey, I’m in this pole position and I’m going to win this game’ and she got the set and the kill at the end.
“It was a great competitive experience for our team, because you need these kinds of matches. You need that feeling that you were behind and came back. That is great stuff and we will draw from it.”
Sophomore setter Evan Sanders recorded 35 assists for the Rams, and notched a solo block and five assisted blocks, including a pair of huge rejections along with senior Tessa Nelson for the Rams’ 12th and 13th points of the final set.
Senior libero Katelin Batten led the Rams with 22 digs in the match.
The Rams will not have to wait long to show what they learned Friday, as the team is slated to take the court against UT Arlington in its final match of the Hilton Classic volleyball tournament Saturday at 1 p.m. Georgia Southern and Ohio State begin the action at 11 a.m., while OSU and UT Arlington are slated to play the final match of the weekend at 7 p.m. Saturday.