Rams roll past Mavericks for Hilton Classic title
Sept. 5, 2009
By Danny Mattie
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Playing in her first career match and earning her first start since high school, redshirt freshman Brieon Paige tallied eight kills and four assisted blocks to help guide the Colorado State volleyball team to a dominant 3-0 sweep of UT Arlington on Day 3 of the Hilton Classic volleyball tournament at Moby Arena.
The Rams (4-2) captured their fourth consecutive victory, and took home the tournament title, defeating the Mavericks (2-4) 25-16, 25-13, 25-18.
"Brieon was very good today," said Head Coach Tom Hilbert following the match. "She attacked the ball well, and she should get more time coming up."
Paige, who started the match with just one kill in the opening set, proved to be an integral part of the Rams' attack as the match wore on, recording three kills in the second set, and tying junior outside hitter Danielle Minch for the team lead in the deciding third set with four. Three of Paige's blocks also came in the final set, helping the Rams smother an early UTA rally that saw CSU fall behind by as many as four points, 12-8.
"It felt great connecting with the setter (Evan Sanders)," added Paige. "If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have been able to make those kills. It was very exciting. I wasn't really nervous, I was fine. I was ready and waiting to play."
Sanders tallied 36 assists for the Rams and spread the ball around the court, setting up Minch and fellow outside hitter Jacque Davisson for 11 kills each, while freshman Dana Cranston recorded six kills of her own, and senior middle blocker Tessa Nelson, who recorded five assisted blocks, connected on five kills for the Rams.
As a team, the Rams hit .291 for the match, led by Paige who hit .500 and committed just one error. Minch was second on the team, posting an impressive .409 hitting percentage with 11 kills and just two errors on 22 attacks.
"I thought that Dani (Minch) had a couple of really nice, high swings today to take advantage of a team like UTA," added Hilbert. "Last year, she committed too many unforced errors, but she is managing that extremely well right now."
Senior libero Katelin Batten and Davisson each notched double-digits with 10 digs apiece to lead all players.
Overall, the Rams held UTA to just .063 hitting, including a minus-.160 in the second set, and outblocked the Mavericks by a 9-1 margin.
Next up for the Rams is a trip to North Carolina, where the team will open the week at Duke on Wednesday, before taking on Marshall, Tennessee and North Carolina as part of the Carolina Classic tournament on Friday and Saturday.
Hilton Classic All-Tournament Team